My husband loves his grandmother's cooking, particularly her nasi himpit (a traditional Malay dish where rice, cooked with more water than usual, flavoured with pandan and then compressed and cut into square cakes) and kuah kacang (peanut sauce) which she makes once a year. I've tried it; he's right. The rice cakes almost melt in your mouth and the peanut sauce has the perfect combination of flavour and texture — not too hot, not too sweet, not too oily. Perfect.
So, when he commented today that my dish tasted like his grandmother's nasi himpit, I should have been pleased, right?
Well, not quite since he was commenting on a chocolate cake I had baked. He assured me though that the cake was good, and the comparison was a compliment. Ok, then.
Actually, as strange as the comparison sounds, he may have been on to something since I made this chocolate cake in a rice cooker. Hell, yeah: A RICE COOKER! Not the fancy-schmancy computerized cookers. The generic basic model that has just two functions: cook and keep warm.
|See.. I am not kidding. Just a regular rice cooker|
So, what compelled me to bake a cake in a rice cooker? Well, for this week's Don't Call Me Chef (column in The Star), I decided to focus on the wondrous rice cooker (
will add the link as soon as the article is published online). Everyone knows how to cook rice in the rice cooker but how about a cake? Or soup? Or a stew? What about bread? To accompany the article, I included recipes for two dishes I made in the cooker: a pineapple cake and macaroni and cheese. The cake was nice and moist (though it didn't rise quite as much as I would have liked it — turned out to be more of a pineapple slice) and the macaroni was scrumptious, complete with the crispy cheesy bits you get when you bake it.
|Mac and Cheese and Pineaple cake/slice|
I was happy but I wanted to have another go at making a cake in the cooker as I wanted my rice cooker cake to rise. And that, my friends, is how I ended up making this chocolate cake.
|Don't le the craters on the surface scare you|
I adapted this recipe from one I saw on joyofbaking.com. Of course, that cake went into the oven and not the rice cooker.
Here's what's so special about this cake (apart from the fact that it was made in a rice cooker — sorry to repeat this so many times but I am just amazed).
* it is an eggless cake. Most eggless cakes I've tried use condensed milk to replace the eggs so that the cake remains soft and moist. This recipe doesn't use condensed milk but instead, vegetable oil.
* the cake uses unsweetened cocoa, lemon juice and vinegar: a similar combination used in the red velvet cake. The chemical reaction between the cocoa, lemon juice/vinegar gives the cake a reddish hue.
The chocolate cake is also extremely chocolatey...and it rose well and had height as well as depth of flavour. The crumb is soft; it doesn't have the slight crispy crumb of baked cakes.
You can eat the cake as is or you can slice the cake horizontally in half and make a sandwich cake with a simple chocolate frosting in between the layers. A recipe for the frosting follows. Enjoy!
Rice Cooker Chocolate Cake
11/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
3 tbsp cocoa
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp (heaped) baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup vegetable oil (plus a bit more for greasing)
1 tbsp vinegar
1 cup water
Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda into a bowl and whisk them together with the salt and sugar, lightly. Add the oil, extract and vinegar and mix till well incorporated. Add the water, bit by bit, until a smooth batter emerges and then gently mix in the choc chips. Be careful not to over mix.
Grease the rice cooker pot with some oil and then pour the batter into the pot. Close the lid of the rice cooker and press the cook button down. The cooker should switch to the "keep warm" function after about 5 − 7 minutes even though the cake isn't done yet. Leave it on warm for about 10 minutes then press cook again.
After another 5-7 minutes, the cooker will once again switch to "warm". Leave it, this time for 30 mins before pressing cook one last time.
When the lever pops up this time, the cake should be done. Put a tester through the cake to make sure — the tester should come out clean. If it is still a little wet, let the cake warm in the cooker for another 10 mins. If the cake is done, remove the pot from the cooker and let it cool before your upturn it onto a plate.
|That's ooozy frosting in the middle, not uncooked batter!|
(for top of cake or, if you want a sandwich cake, in between the layers)
50g butter, melted
10 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
4 tbsp cocoa, sifted
Mix all ingredients together.