Baking a fruitcake in 2018, when there are so many other delicious holiday treats out there, is like choosing to drive a Model T when you have a Tesla in the garage ― especially if you have an Instant Pot in your kitchen.
We have five holiday-friendly dessert recipes for you, two of which are from the brand new The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook and three more that come from expert Instant Pot food bloggers. We’re sharing the best holiday desserts (and one decadent brunch favorite perfect for a weekend morning) that taste way better than fruitcake. And they’ll be ready in no time.
Here’s one important thing to keep in mind when making anything in an Instant Pot: Pressure cooking is amazing for many foods, but horrible for others. If you’re looking for a luscious dessert that falls apart in your mouth, the Instant Pot will be your best friend for holiday baking. If you’re looking for something with a more delicate crumb, steer clear of it.
With that in mind, let’s get to these holiday recipes:
Glazed Orange Pound Cake
Reprinted with permission from The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook
- Yield: 8 Servings
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 55 minutes
- Natural Pressure Release: 10 minutes
- Cool: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 85 minutes
For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest, plus 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
For the orange glaze:
1. To make the cake: Grease a 1-quart Bundt pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray and dust with flour, shaking and rotating the pan to coat it evenly. Tap out the excess.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center. Add the eggs to the well and whisk to break up the yolks a bit. Add the butter, orange zest and orange juice and whisk just until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it in an even layer. Tap the pan firmly against the countertop a few times to remove any air bubbles in the batter. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Place the pan on a long-handled silicone steam rack.
4. Pour 1 1/2 cups water into Instant Pot. Holding the handles of the steam rack, lift the pan and lower it into the pot.
5. Secure the lid and set the Pressure release to Sealing. Select the Cake, Pressure Cook, or Manual setting and set the cooking time for 45 minutes at high pressure. (The pot will take about 10 minutes to come up to pressure before the cooking program begins.)
6. To make the orange glaze: While the cake is cooking, in a small bowl, combine the confectioners sugar, orange zest and orange juice and whisk until smooth. Transfer to a zip-close plastic bag, seal the bag, and set aside.
7. When the cooking program ends, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then move the Pressure Release to Venting to release any remaining steam. Open the pot and, wearing heat-resistant mitts, grab the handles of the steam rack, lift the pan out of the pot and set the pan on a cooling rack. Remove the foil from the pan, taking care not to get burned by the steam. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert the pan onto the cooling rack, lift off the pan, and let the cake cool for 5 minutes more.
8. Set the rack with the cake over a large plate to catch drips when you glaze the cake. Cut off a small corner of the zip-close bag and squeeze the glaze all over the cake. Let cool to room temperature, then transfer to a serving plate.
9. Cut the cake into wedges and serve.
This cake gets an impressive rise in the Instant Pot, doming up as it bakes. If you’re fussy about presentation, you might want to slice off some of the dome before glazing the cake. I don’t mind, though. It comes out dense as a pound cake should be, but not waterlogged, like some pressure cooker cakes. The not-too-sweet cake is offset by a sugary, zesty glaze.
Fudge Brownie Cake With Toasted Walnuts
Reprinted with permission from The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook
- Yield: 8-10 Servings
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Natural Pressure Release: 10 minutes
- Cool: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 85 minutes
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee crystals
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped and toasted
1. Line the base of a 7-inch round springform pan with an 8-inch round of parchment paper. Secure the collar on the springform pan, closing it onto the base so the parchment round is clamped in. Lightly grease the sides of the pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray.
2. Put the melted butter in a large bowl. One at a time, whisk in the eggs, then the brown sugar, coffee, vanilla and salt until combined. Add the flour and cocoa powder and whisk just until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Tap the pan firmly against the countertop a few times to remove any air bubbles in the batter. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Place the pan on a long-handled silicone steam rack.
4. Pour 1 1/2 cups water into the Instant Pot. Holding the handles of the steam rack, lift the pan and lower it into the pot.
5. Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Select the Cake, Pressure Cook, or Manual setting and set the cooking time for 35 minutes at high pressure. (The pot will take about 10 minutes to come up to pressure before the cooking program begins.)
6. When the cooking program ends, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then move the Pressure Release to Venting to release any remaining steam. Open the pot and, wearing heat-resistant mitts, grab the handles of the steam rack, lift the pan out of the pot, and set the pan on a cooling rack.
7. Remove the foil from the pan, being careful not to get burned by the steam. Let the cake cool for about 20 minutes, until warm, or cool to room temperature.
8. Unclasp the collar on the pan and lift it off, then use the parchment border to tug the cake off the base of the pan and onto a plate. Slice the cake into wedges and serve.
This isn’t so much a cake as it is a round, impressively tall pan of fudge brownie. I think it’s pretty glorious, especially when it’s still a little warm. Serve it in wedges, with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.
From Amy + Jacky, PressureCookRecipes.com
- Yield: 7” cheesecake
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
For the crust:
10 (120g) graham crackers, finely ground
3 to 4 tablespoons (42g to 56g) unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of sea salt
2 teaspoons to 1 1/2 tablespoons (8.3g to 19g) brown sugar (depends on desired sweetness)
Optional: 1/4 cup (32g) all-purpose flour (for blind-baking crust)
For the cheesecake batter (7- by 3-inch pan):
16 ounces (454g) Philadelphia cream cheese, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup (133g) white sugar
1/2 cup (120g) sour cream, room temperature
2 tablespoons (16g) cornstarch
2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract
2 pinches of sea salt
Critical Tips Before You Start
1. We highly recommend using a hand mixer to mix the cheesecake batter instead of a stand mixer. Stand mixers are often more powerful, thus you can easily overmix and introduce too much air into the cheesecake batter. This may result in a puffy, soufflé-style cheesecake.
2. Read these 11 Tested Tips to Make a Stunning Pressure Cooker Cheesecake Guide to help you make a successful cheesecake!
Place 16 ounces (454g) cream cheese, 2 large eggs and 1/2 cup (120g) sour cream on countertop to reach room temperature. Then, melt the 3 to 4 tablespoons (42g to 56g) unsalted butter.
Pro tip: This is critical for your cheesecake’s success, so please make sure all the above ingredients are at room temperature before you start. If not, you may end up with lumpy, fluff-top cheesecake.
Part A: Make the Crust
1. Finely grind 120g graham crackers in a food processor. Or place the graham crackers in a zip-close bag and roll them with a rolling pin.
2. In a small mixing bowl, mix finely ground graham crackers, a pinch of sea salt, 2 teaspoons to 1 1/2 tablespoons (8.3g to 19g) brown sugar together with a fork.
3. Add flour (if blind-baking for firmer and crisper crust): mix in 1/4 cup (32g) all-purpose flour.
4. Mix in roughly 3 to 4 tablespoons (42g to 56g) unsalted butter until the mixture sticks together.
5. Line the sides and bottom of cheesecake pan with parchment paper. *Note: We did not use any butter to line the parchment paper.
6. Pour in the graham cracker crumbs mixture. Gently press down the crumbs with a ramekin or Mason jar to form an even layer. You can also use a spoon for the edges.
7. Firm Crust Method #1: Freeze. Place cheesecake pan in freezer while you make the cheesecake batter. Method #2: Blind-Bake (for firmer and crisper crust). Place crust in a 325 degree Fahrenheit oven for 15 minutes.
Part B: Make Dense Cheesecake Batter
1. Mix 2 tablespoons(16g) cornstarch, 2 pinches of sea salt, and 2/3 cup (133g) white sugar together in a small mixing bowl.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, briefly break up the 454g cream cheese by beating it for 10 seconds with a hand mixer using low speed.
3. Add in half the sugar mixture and beat until just incorporated using low speed (roughly 20 to 30 seconds). Scrape down the sides and hand mixer with a silicone spatula every time a new ingredient is added. Add remaining sugar mixture and beat until just incorporated using low speed (roughly 20 to 30 seconds).
4. Add 1/2 cup (120g) sour cream and 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract to the cream cheese mixture. Beat until just incorporated using low speed (20 to 30 seconds).
5. Blend in the two eggs using low speed, one at a time. Mix until just incorporated (about 15 to 20 seconds with a hand mixer and less time if you are using a powerful stand mixer). Try not to overmix on this step. Scrape down the sides and hand mixer with a silicone spatula and fold a few times to make sure everything is fully incorporated.
6. Pour cream cheese batter in cheesecake pan.
7. Tap cheesecake pan against the counter to let air bubbles rise to the surface. Burst the air bubbles with a toothpick or fork. Tap until you are satisfied. Ensure the surface is clear of air bubbles or fork marks. See photos for demo.
Part C: Pressure Cook Cheesecake
1. Method #1: Pour 1 cup (250 ml) of cold water in pressure cooker. Place cheesecake pan on top of a steamer rack (so it’s not touching the water). Close lid and pressure cook at high pressure for 26 minutes and use full natural release. Natural release will take roughly 7 minutes. Open lid gradually. Absorb any condensation on surface by lightly tapping it with a soft paper towel.
2. Method #2: Place a steamer rack and pour 1 cup (250ml) of water in pressure cooker. Bring water to a boil (Instant Pot users: Press manual/Pressure Cook and set the time to 28 minutes). When the water begins to boil, place cheesecake pan on the steamer rack with a foil sling right away.
*Caution: Don’t wait too long to place the cheesecake in the pressure cooker, as it’ll affect the cooking time. Place it immediately once the water begins to boil. This prevents too much water from evaporating. Immediately close the lid with venting knob at venting position. Turn venting knob to sealing position and let it pressure cook at high pressure for 28 minutes and full natural release. It should go up to pressure in roughly 1 minute. Natural release will take roughly 7 to 9 minutes. Open the lid gradually. Absorb any condensation on the surface by lightly tapping it with a soft paper towel.
Part D: Cool, Chill, Serve Cheesecake
1. Allow cheesecake to cool to room temperature with the lid open in the pressure cooker. Or place it on a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
2. After cooling for 10 to 15 minutes, carefully run a thin paring knife between the sidewall and parchment paper to release the cheesecake from the pan. Pull the slightly wrinkled parchment paper lightly to straighten it out for a smooth side.
3. Once the cheesecake has completely cooled, place it in the refrigerator for at least 4 to 8 hours (preferably overnight).
4. Remove cheesecake from the refrigerator. The best way to release the cheesecake from the bottom pan is warm the bottom of the pan to melt the butter. You can use a torch or heating pad for this step. Carefully peel off the parchment paper.
For a 6- by 3-inch cheesecake pan, add 5 minutes on high pressure to the cooking time.
From Carla Bushey, AdventuresOfANurse.com
- Yield: 4 Servings
- Prep Time: 2 minutes
- Cook Time: 9 minutes
- Total Time: 11 minutes
For optional topping:
1. Place chocolate chips and butter in a large bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. Mix until well combined.
2. Mix in powdered sugar until smooth.
3. Add 3 eggs and egg yolk until well combined.
4. Add vanilla and flour and stir until well combined.
5. Spray each Pyrex bowl with cooking spray.
6. Pour batter into each bowl filling to the top.
7. Place your trivet in your Instant Pot with one cup of water.
8. Place your bowls on the trivet (I had to fit 3 on the bottom and one on the top).
9. Place your pot on manual high pressure for 9 minutes.
10. Do a quick release.
11. Remove from the Instant Pot and place upside down on a plate. Top with ice cream, caramel and magic shell.
From Amy Locurto, LivingLocurto.com
- Yield: 6 Servings
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
6 slices French bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
4 bananas, sliced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter chilled and sliced
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Pure maple syrup (optional)
1. Slice French bread into cubes.
2. Grease a 1 1/2-quart round baking dish or cake pan for the 8-quart Instant Pot. If you have a smaller pressure cooking pot, use a baking dish that will fit inside of the pot.
3. Add a layer of bread to the bowl.
4. Layer one sliced banana over the bread, then sprinkle one tablespoon of brown sugar over the bananas.
5. In a microwave, melt the cream cheese 30 to 45 seconds until it’s creamy enough to spread. Cover the bananas and bread with cream cheese.
6. Add the rest of the bread to the bowl and layer one more sliced banana over the bread.
7. Sprinkle one tablespoon of brown sugar over the bananas and half of the pecans over the top.
8. Place sliced butter pieces over the bread as the top layer.
9. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Whisk milk, white sugar, vanilla and cinnamon into egg mixture.
10. Pour egg mixture over the bread, making sure to coat the bread well.
11. Pour 3/4 cup water into the pressure cooker pot and place a trivet or pot lifter in the bottom of the pot. If you don’t have a trivet to lift the pan out of the hot pressure cooker, make a sling out of of a large foil strip
12. Center the pan on the trivet or foil strip and lower it into the pressure cooker.
13. Lock the lid in place. Select high pressure and set the timer for 25 minutes. If using an Instant Pot, select the porridge button, then add 5 minutes to the cook time.
14. When the timer goes off, turn off the pressure cooker and turn the steam release valve to “venting” to release the pressure. Keep French toast pan in pressure cooker to warm for 5 minutes before removing lid. After 5 minutes and the pressure valve has dropped, remove lid and remove dish from pressure cooking pot.
15. Let set for another 5 minutes, then top with sliced bananas, nuts and maple syrup before serving.
If you’re short on time, 20 minutes cooking time will be fine!
If you want a crispy topping, put the dish under the broiler in the oven for 4 to 5 minutes to brown the top.
Did this recipe come out soggier than shown?
It could be for several reasons, such as the brand of pressure cooker, size of eggs or type of bread. When this happens, you can add more time to the pressure cooker or bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 to 10 extra minutes or until completely cooked through.