I was once asked this question “Is the glass half empty or half full?”
My answer has always been, “My glass is half full”. To me, my glass is empty only when it is completely empty, but never half empty. I guess that’s my perception of things and situation around me. You may have a different opinion…
On the other hand, my brother-in-law (my husband’s brother) would say that the glass is too big! That’s because he is an Engineer! Hah!
Similarly, if someone were to ask me if the cake I cooked in my Rice Cooker for the first time turned out good or bad, I would say neither, but rather, “Not bad”.
Remember this cake?
Well it did turn out looking like a cake, so it’s definitely “Not bad”. I would not say, it’s “Not good”, because it was half good 🙂
<< Flashback <<<
I managed to salvage the good half while removing the burnt side. The good side actually tasted as gorgeous as it looked. The cake had a good height with the right texture but a bit dry because it was “over-baked” (?), and damn… the dark side!
The Dark Side had a smoky, almost barbecue-flavour that I was not at all used to. The New Hope side had the familiar banana-ey flavour with just the right level of sweetness.
Will I take this challenge again? Is there hope for a success?
>>> Fastforward >>>
Why of course, I took the challenge – again, for the 2nd time ;-)!
Am I nuts? Nope. I went bananas! Ha ha ha..
Yep, I made a Banana Cake – again – albeit with a different recipe, slightly to play safe as I was, at the same time, experimenting with my Rice Cooker. I realized patience is key and understanding what my Rice Cooker was capable or not capable of was even more paramount to achieving a reasonably good end result.
Hello Ms National, who are you?
I have an 8-cup National Rice Cooker, a trusted companion for the past 19 years. She has served and fed my family and I well. As you can see, the result of cooking all sorts of rice and porridge feasts were amazingly excellent. My rice cooker just knew when to stop cooking at the right time.
With the “half good” result of cooking a cake in my rice cooker for the first time (Sugar-less Rice Cooker Banana Cake – My Insane 1st Attempt), I wanted to get to know Ms National a little bit more, for instance, how could I outsmart her?
By experimenting with “baking” cakes in the rice cooker, I discovered that not all rice cookers are made to function the same way. As I have mentioned in my previous post, Miss B’s Banana Cake took one hour to cook in her Toshiba 5.5-cup rice cooker with 3 presses of the button, while my Banana Cake “burnt” in less than 30 minutes. Well, okay – only because I had forcefully pressed the Rice Cooker to ‘Cooking’ function. Definitely, not a smart move.
By the way, the first cake was always the hardest, because, it was done by trial and error.
Once Bitten, Twice Shy
The most significant lesson I learnt from my first attempt at cooking a cake in the Rice Cooker was, Do NOT forcefully press your Rice Cooker to Cook function. Leave it alone!
According to Wikipedia, “The bowl in the rice cooker is usually removable; beneath is a heater and a thermostat. A spring pushes the thermostat against the bottom of the bowl for good thermal contact. During cooking the rice/water mixture is heated at full power. The water reaches a temperature of 100 °C (212 °F); it cannot get hotter than its boiling point. By the end of cooking there will be no free water left; most will have been absorbed by the rice, and some boiled off. As heating continues, the temperature can now rise above boiling point; this makes the thermostat trip. Some cookers switch to low-power “warming” mode, keeping the rice at a safe temperature of approximately 65 °C (150 °F); simpler models switch off”
Therefore, it is essential to check the model of your Rice Cooker first before attempting to cook a cake in your rice cooker. My Rice Cooker has very basic functions; “Cooking” and “Keep Warm” functions and a choice of cooking either Rice or Porridge. You may own a more advanced rice cooker than I have, ie, one that features a timer that back-calculates the cooking start time from a given finish time, or one that beeps automatically when the cooking is done or an additional function that includes high pressure cooking or slow cooking or baking breads or cake or making yoghurts, or one that includes a recipe book! I do NOT have any of those functions on my National Rice Cooker, but I DID manage to cook a cake in my humble rice cooker *wink*
I have also exchanged notes with Miss B recently. Her 5.5-cup Toshiba Rice Cooker takes 40 minutes to cook rice to perfection, while my 19-year 8-cup National Rice Cooker takes only 20 minutes! If her banana cake cooks to perfection in one hour, should my banana cake then cook to perfection at half the time?
Let’s find out …
I have used the Low-Fat Banana Bread recipe from Joy of Baking in my 2nd attempt of “baking” cakes in a Rice Cooker.
(Recipe adapted from Joy of Baking.com with my comments in blue font)
- 1 cup (240 ml) mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large bananas) – I used 2 very ripe bananas
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) low-fat plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) canola, vegetable, or corn oil (I used corn cooking oil)
- 3/4 cup (165 grams) light brown sugar (I did not use sugar. I used ¼ cup Agave syrup)
- 1 large egg or 2 large (60 grams) egg whites (I used 2 small eggs)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I did not use)
- 1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour (I used 1½ cups self-raising flour)
- 1/2 cup (65 grams) whole wheat flour (I did not use)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used 1 tsp)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (I did not use because I used self-raising flour, which already included baking powder)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (I used just a pinch)
- If using the oven, Pre-heat oven to 350F (180C) and place the rack in the centre of the oven. Spray an 8 x 4 inch (20 x 10cm) loaf pan with a non-stick vegetable cooking spray (I omitted this step, however, I did spray the inside of the rice cooker removal bowl)
- In a large bowl, mix the mashed bananas with the backing soda and yoghurt. Allow to sit while you prepare the rest of the batter.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, eggs (and vanilla, if used)
- In another large bowl, whisk together the flour(s), ground cinnamon, salt (and baking powder, if used)
- Combine the banana mixture with the oil mixture and add these to the flour mixture. Stir just until the ingredients are moistened. Pour into the rice cooker removal bowl and tap the bowl gently on the kitchen counter to release air bubbles trapped in the batter.
- If baked in the oven, bake for about 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the loaf comes out clean.
My Adventure Continues …
The Rice Cooker is not an oven. But the Banana Cake is a Banana Cake and it’s a CAKE! Henceforth, I treated the cake like a cake.
If my first attempt produced a burnt result, then my humble thinking cap says “use a cake tin liner”.
I made double-layered “cake tin liners”, one with a tin foil placed at the base of the removal rice bowl and a parchment paper, placed on top of the aluminium foil. That way, I ensured the cake was “protected” to a maximum. If you must know, baking is not my cup of tea, so I was really thinking and doing things as logical as I saw fit and improvising as I went along 😉
I poured the batter in the rice bowl and noted the time I started cooking the cake. It was 6.54 pm.
My Rice Cooker must have hit the boiling point after the first 5 minutes and automatically went into the “Keep Warm” mode. It was 6.59 pm. I rested my Rice Cooker for 2 minutes and pressed the “Cooking” button for the second time. After one minute, it went back to the “Keep Warm” mode. This went on, resting for 2 or 3 minutes and pressing “Cooking” 10 times in total. Note, I did NOT press the Cook function forcefully any more. Once bitten, twice shy 🙂
Between the start time from 6.54 pm to 7.31 pm when I took out the cake from the Rice Cooker, it was at 7.29 pm when the lovely smell of the banana cake started breezing in my kitchen. I opened the lid. It was actually cooked, but I went on pressing “Cooking” for the final 10th time.
Conclusion: 14 minutes on “Cooking” mode and 23 minutes on “Keep Warm” mode. Total time: 37 minutes.
On hindsight, I should have taken out the cake at 7.29 pm as soon as the banana cake smell whiffed through my nostrils, but I wanted a bit more colour on the cake. Then the correct conclusion would have been 13 minutes on “Cooking mode” with a total time of 35 minutes. Can we then deduce that my 8-cup National Rice Cooker could cook a cake half the time of Miss B’s 5.5-cup Toshiba Rice Cooker?
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words!
Note I presented the cake, bottom side up because I thought it looked more appetising than the moon crater-lookalike side. Well, if you must know, I’m a crust girl. I LOVE eating the crusts of freshly (yep, must be fresh!) baked cakes, that’s if they are not burnt *wink*
This piece of cake and the entire cake was gone in less than 12 hours! That was the litmus test …
And by the way, I made another RCC! Nope, nothing to do with bananas. I think I’m beginning to understand Ms National *wink*
!! IMPORTANT!!A note of precaution: If your Rice Cooker is not suited for cooking cakes, there is a chance that it will damage the appliance. If such cooking was outside indicated usage of the appliance, it typically violates the warranty, so please be careful before attempting such feat, unless you have a very old Rice Cooker (like mine) and considering buying a new one, in a not-so-distant future, or if you owned more than one Rice Cooker, then do give a shot with one of them.
Without a doubt, I am linking this post to the Rice Cooker Cake Challenge #1 – Are You Game for It? hosted by Miss B of Everybody Eats Well in Flanders
I am sure when I submitted my first attempt in cooking cakes in a Rice Cooker, a few readers were left with a cliffhanger. So here I am, linking Part 2 of my adventure in Rice Cooker Cakes to Beth Fish Reads’ Weekend Cooking
Have a fruitful week!