Sunday, June 24, 2012

Rice Cooker Cake Recipe

Making cake in a rice cooker
So many sugar cravings

As I've mentioned before on the blog, I've been trying to cut down on my sugar intake, with varying degrees of success - it's tough when you have a sweet tooth like mine. Recently, I thought I'd try my hand at baking something myself so that I could control the amount of sugar going into it.

I settled on a cocoa honey cake from the blog What Julia Ate. Reading about her experience with the recipe, I was much relieved to find that plenty of people out there are trying to stick to natural sugars. She recommended her cake with a little bit of maple syrup on top. This wasn't the tough part, of course, as there are plenty of recipes out there for weight watchers and diabetics. 

My Zojirushi NS-TGC10.
Five and a half cups is
the perfect size!
The problem, I realized (long after I'd gotten gung-ho about the idea of having real cake very soon) was that since moving to Toronto, I haven't actually baked. Therefore, I don't own a real cake pan - and the last of the tinfoil pans I bought on moving in, I ended up using not that long ago for some squares. Ah... 

But wait! Then I remembered the mysterious Cake button on my rice cooker. I'd picked out the Zojirushi NS-TGC10 mostly because it was very similar to the one Emily owned (and I had therefore borrowed after mine broke) in Japan. I had had to make a final choice between a cooker that had a 'tofu' setting and this one, which had the 'cake option.' 

It actually was a tough choice for me. But functionally, I was much more likely to make an occasional cake and continue buying fabulous Korean-made fresh tofu at P.A.T. Spring Market. The Zojirushi was what I ended up taking home - and even though you can buy fuzzy logic (i.e. fancy) rice cookers in most major cities, I heavily recommend using Amazon for a serious rice cooker purchase. The selection is fantastic - providing the seller ships to your area, of course - and the prices for the really nice rice cookers are much lower than I was finding them locally.

Back to my dilemma - I had seen rice cooker cake in action, back in Japan, while visiting a co-worker's house. My cooker had even come with a recipe for cake, though I had no idea where that might have gotten to. Still, if it could make one cake, it could probably make many variations of basic cakes, right?

I started mixing up the ingredients (shame I couldn't have mixed it right in the rice cooker bowl, but that needed to be greased) and dumped in the rather thick batter. I figured, if Julia's came out perfect, so would mine. Maybe.

Then I set the rice cooker to 'Cake', and pressed the 'Cooking' button.

45 minutes or so later (seriously? faster than making rice?) the cooker started singing a little tune, and I eagerly opened up the cover to see the fruits of my labour.

Rice cooker cake
Not sure if want

Hmm. Well, that wasn't quite what I imagined.

Still, I hate wasting food, and a fair amount of honey had gone into this experiment, so I took it off the heat and let it cool down a bit on the bottom, then I turned it out onto the steamer accessory that came with my sukiyaki pot. (No cooling racks, obviously. Someone buy me a real kitchen.)

Making cake in a rice cooker
But now it doesn't look half-bad!
Then I left it to cool a little longer, but the promise of warm cake in the next room made that extremely difficult, needless to say. It was hardly twenty minutes before I was back and cutting myself a slice to top with a spoonful of maple syrup. 

The verdict?

It was actually very good!

The cocoa was subtle and the honey gave it juuuust enough sweetness. It was fluffy and soft, though it was a little on the dry side - I assume this is a result of some combination of a recipe not really intended for fuzzy logic cooking, and left-the-rice-cooker-on-'Keep Warm'-for-a-few-minutes-by-accident. Next time, I will add an extra egg (included in the recipe below) to try and account for that.

What do you think? Want to give cooking in your rice cooker a try? I actually own a very good rice cooker cookbook, though I'm always looking for new recipes. If you have anything, send it my way! 

Rice Cooker Honey Cocoa Cake
adapted from What Julia Ate

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
Mix dry ingredients thoroughly, using a sifter if necessary.

  • 1/3 cup oil (any vegetable oil you like; warmed coconut oil is great!)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or yoghurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • optional: 1-2 tbsp applesauce
Combine the wet ingredients and add them to the dry, and mix well. Grease the inside of your rice cooker pan and add the batter, then set the rice cooker to the 'Cake' setting. (Not sure I would risk it in a cooker than doesn't do cake, but if anyone tries this, do let me know....)

When your cooker starts singing to you, you know it's time!

Remove the pan from the heat immediately and leave to cool for a few minutes before turning out onto cooling racks. When it's cool enough to eat, top with fruit, maple syrup, whip cream or whatever suits your fancy!