When I started this blog in March 2010, I had no clue about baking or steaming cakes, let alone “cook” a cake in the Rice Cooker!
I guess the only cake I have ever made from scratch on my own was the Malaysian Honeycomb Cake. Then again, I followed the recipe on you tube conscientiously and to a tee! Thanks Nate and Annie of House of Annie for posting the recipe on youtube. I have bookmarked the foolproof recipe ever since! My older son dubbed the cake “space cake” because it was really addictive 😉
And then Miss B came along! I was attracted to her blog because, firstly, it’s called “Everybody Eats Well in Flanders” (and we are both residents of Flanders!) and secondly, the earlier dishes she concocted were dishes I grew up eating! Kueh Salat, Angku Kueh, Kek Lapis, Onde-Onde, Huat Kueh and the list goes on. You bet I was curious *wink*
And then we became friends! To me, Miss B has the Midas touch in baking/ steaming cakes, cookies, breads and buns or anything to do with the “sweet” department. I am the savoury one. And yet, she was like me once-upon-a-time. Zero knowledge of cooking or baking back in our home countries (Singapore and Malaysia). Everything was done and prepared by Mummy dearest. We were the pampered lots, until we started to build our “own nests” in Flanders. Ha ha ha!
As the saying goes, ‘birds of a feather flock together’ 😉
Gentle Assuring Nudge(s)
“Knock! Knock!” Guess who came?
Yep, Miss B came “knocking” on my blog’s wall and hinted that I contributed a recipe or two of a made-from-scratch “Steaming Hot Cakes” as she was hosting the Aspiring Bakers #25 (Nov 2012 edition) blog-hop event.
Huh? Me? Steaming hot cakes? Aspiring Bakers? You got to be kidding!
Well, I kid you not. If you have browsed my blog, you will notice that my first published “sweet” item was my Steamed Lemon Honey Cranberry Sponge Cake with Lemon and Ginger Syrup. Whew! A mouthful of a title, only because I wanted to make sure that – being a novice in baking – I did not want to miss out the essentials 🙂
And out of the blue – one day – I was craving for steamed buns (bak pao). I bought a store-bought all-in-one mix and ended up making Bakpao in Mini Cupcake Cases the cheat’s way. Poor pathetic me! Well, it was alright but not the real McCoy.
From one gentle nudge to another, Miss B came “buzzing” in and checked if I was interested to steam proper buns. She had given me the assurance how easy it was to home-steam buns that she gave me a packet of the Red Lotus flour for steaming buns plus a can of Crisco as gifts!
How could I not start steaming buns?
And guess what….I have not stopped steaming buns (including upon requests by friends at buffet or pot-luck lunches) ever since I contributed two entries to Aspiring Bakers #31: Steamed Bun/Pao Chicken-Filling With a Twist andNostalgic Tau Sar Pao – Red Bean Paste Steamed Bun
Then all of a sudden, came the bake-free period. No sweet bakes. It was a savoury journey for me …
And then… Hallelujah! Miss B just came back recently from her maternity leave! Congratulations for being a Mummy again ;-). During her absence, she thought through what she would do when she came back blogging again.
And so the “Rice Cooker Cake Challenge #1 – Are you game for it?” was born…
“Ah… Miss B…”
With her gentle yet assuring nudge(s), Miss B “pushed” me to join in the blog-hop fun, once again!
And here were two previous posts of my manic saga of “baking” cakes in my 19-year old traditional single-button 8-cup National Rice Cooker.
Once upon a time, I never dreamt of baking or steaming cakes. And now, all I could say is, thanks to the mighty yet gentle push from Miss B, that I got this far!
Third Time Lucky
You bet! I made my third Rice Cooker Cake. After un-locking a way to outsmart Ms National in my 2nd Attempt, I wanted to find out if by not pressing “Cooking” all the time and letting the cake on “Keep Warm” mode most of the time would make a lot of difference.
This was the result of my 3rd shot!
Yes, it’s green and Shreky-like, but it tasted divine! Trust me! As if the story never ends. The green colour was the result of yet another gift I got from Miss B!! It was a little 30ml bottle of pandan extract. Mind you, a little goes a LONG way…
Miss B, I finally made good use of all your gifts, including the po chai pills. *wink*
I had originally wanted to make Victoria Sponge Cake in my Rice Cooker, since I had a bottle of strawberry jam in my kitchen cupboard. I intended to skip the cream part, as I am not a fan of a double dose of “fat” on my cake, if I may call it…
The Victoria Sponge or Victoria Sandwich Cake was named after Queen Victoria, who always enjoyed a slice of the sponge cake with her afternoon tea.
A classic Victoria Sponge consists of Raspberry (or Strawberry) jam and whipped double cream sandwiched between two layers of sponge cakes. The top layer is simply dusted with icing sugar.
According to Wikipedia, “Although Victoria Sponge is simple to make, the recipes are notoriously sensitive to cooking times and temperatures. As such, oven manufacturers often use a Victoria sponge recipe to test their ovens”
Hmmm… but I was using an old and traditional Rice Cooker, tried and tested by moi, me and myself 😉
I did not make the classic Victoria Sponge Sandwich Cake. Instead of strawberry jam and whipped cream, I replaced those with a more Asian touch, by adding some pandanus (screw pine leaves) extract, which gave the cake the vibrant green colour.
My Green Victoria Sponge *grin*
(Adapted from Periplus Mini Cookbooks – Fabulous Fast Cakes)
This recipe is based on the Victoria Sponge Cake which I have made some adjustments with my comments in blue font.
- 125g unsalted butter, chopped (meaning cold butter. Note a Classic Victoria Sponge Cake calls for soft butter at room temperature. My recipe was based on “Fabulous FAST Cakes”)
- ½ cup caster sugar (I used raw cane sugar)
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten (I did not pre-beat the eggs, but cracked one at a time)
- 1 cup self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder (Note: For all-in-one-bowl-mix batter, I noted additional baking powder is needed to give the cake a lighter feel and look)
- ½ cup strawberry jam (I did not use, but added 1½ tsp of pandan extract)
- Icing sugar (I omitted)
1) If using oven, preheat oven to moderate 180C. Brush two shallow 20 cm round sandwich tins with melted butter or oil. Line base with paper; grease paper (I lined the removal Rice Cooker bowl with aluminium foil and parchment paper similar to my 2nd attempt but I forgot to grease the parchment paper!)
2) Using electric beaters, beat unsalted butter and sugar in a small mixing bowl until light and creamy. Add eggs gradually, beating thoroughly after each addition. (I used an electric hand whisk and beat the chopped butter and sugar until light and creamy and then added one egg at a time, whisking thoroughly)
3) Add the sifted dry ingredients to the bowl. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then on high speed for 1 minute or until the mixture is thick and creamy. (When the mixture was thick, smooth and creamy, I added the pandan extract. With a wooden spoon, I mixed to combine until the colour was evenly amalgamated into the batter)
4) Pour mixture evenly into prepared tins; smooth surface. Bake 20 minutes or until sponge is lightly golden and shrinks from side of tin. (I poured the batter into the removal rice bowl, lined with aluminium foil AND parchment paper and noted the start time)
5) Turn onto wire rack to cool and then spread top of one layer with jam; top with remaining layer to form a sandwich. Dust with icing sugar before serving (I omitted this step)
The Quest Continues …
I noted the start time was 7.02 pm. Five minutes later, the Rice Cooker automatically shifted to the “Keep Warm” mode. I left the Rice Cooker alone, without pressing “Cooking”.
At 7.15 pm I opened the lid to peek. The batter was still quite runny, but “cooking”. At this stage, I pressed “Cooking”. Two minutes later, the button switched to warming mode which I left it that way for the next 10 minutes.
At 7.25 pm, I peeked again. If it’s the oven, my sponge cake will be in a “confused” state. To rise or not to rise, however, the cake seemed to be rising in the Rice Cooker. I pressed the “Cooking” mode for the 3rd time. One minute later, the button switched back to “Keep Warm”.
At 7.30 pm, while still on the warming mode, I felt heat emitting from the Rice Cooker. I did not peek anymore, but left the cooker on the “Keep Warm” mode.
At 7.40 pm, the first smell of the lovely cooked pandan cake was breezing in my kitchen. At this juncture, I took the wire rack and flipped the cake from bottom up to top down. I wanted a golden crust on both sides of the cake 🙂
But I forgot to grease the parchment paper, hence a part of the crust stuck to the paper. It would not have happened if I had greased the paper (Lesson learnt for my next RCC …)
I started pressing the rice cooker to “Cooking” mode at 7.42 pm. I wanted to brown the top of the cake (which was now at the bottom of the rice cooker bowl). One minute later, the cooker switched automatically to “Keep Warm”. I kept it that way for the next 2 minutes.
At 7.45 pm, I turned the cake the right side up on the wire rack to cool. DONE!
Conclusion: 9 minutes on “Cooking mode” with 4 presses, and 34 minutes on “Keep Warm” mode. Total time: 43 minutes
According to the author of this recipe, he or she indicated “For a lighter sponge, sift flour three times before combining with the remaining ingredients. Sponge cakes are best eaten the day they are made. Keep in a cool, dry place until ready to serve”.
By the way, the Rice Cooker Pandan Sponge Cake was really moist, light and airy and it was gone in less than half a day!
My younger son proudly told his schoolmates that he ate a green cake that week. He came home and asked me if a Rice Cooker Cake will be on the menu every weekend and btw, he ate the last pieces of 2 wedges…
From Zero to Hero
I am linking this post to the following –
- Rice Cooker Cake Challenge #1 – Are You Game for It? hosted by Miss B of Everybody Eats Well in Flanders\
- Cook-Your-Books #11 hosted by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours
3. Beth Fish Reads’ Weekend Cooking to round up the Rice Cooker Cake Story …
Have a fantastic week