Baking a campfire cake

When you have family members with birthday’s that fall during camping season, it’s only a matter of time before you’re celebrating on a campsite. Emma’s birthday falls right around the May long weekend and Alex’s is at the end of July. So I have had a few opportunities to work on my campfire cake baking skills with a reflector oven. Baking a campfire cake is a level up from quick biscuits or bannock, in  my opinion. And I still need to do a lot more work on it. So it’s a good thing we’ll be celebrating birthdays on campsites for many more years!

I don’t like packing a lot of ingredients for campsite baking, so for some things I totally cheat and buy box mixes. I’m always on the prowl for mixes that do not require a lot of added stuff, like eggs or oil. (I’m ok with adding milk. I use powdered milk – super light and easy to pack).  I find there are very few choices for mixes that don’t require eggs. But I’m an optimist, so I’m always looking in the baking section for new products.

In May, I picked up an angel food cake mix to try my hand at making a campfire cake for Emma’s 13th birthday. It didn’t need anything added other than water. We were camping with friends in Algonquin Park, and I thought it would be fun to get all the kids involved in some reflector oven baking.

I discovered that angel food cake mix expands. A lot. I learned that one box of the mix makes enough to make two cakes when using a frying pan as your baking pan.  I also learned that it takes a really long time to bake.

What I didn’t need to learn is that no matter how smoke infused your cake is, or how long it takes to bake, or how it may turn out looking like a Pinterest fail, a campfire cake always tastes awesome when  you’re eating it with friends sitting beside a fire.

Tips for baking with a reflector oven

  • Build your fire in one corner or at the very back of your fire pit.
  • Build a small, very hot cooking fire. Bigger isn’t better for baking, but the hotter the better.
  • Make sure your oven is as level as possible. Use a flat rock or a piece of kindling placed underneath it.
  • Turn your pan every now and then to help your food bake evenly.

As an aside….

I’ve discovered that my local dollar store, Dollarama, carries Bisquick biscuit mix in pouches, which only need the addition of  water. This super-convenient mix results in about six biscuits that have turned out perfect every time I’ve used it.

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