Tuesday, November 19, 2013

FAQ - How to Make Cakes in a Rice Cooker

Ever since I started my journey in rice cooker baking a year ago in Oct 2012, I have received a lot of questions and feedback regarding my rice cooker cakes, and so I have decided to compile a list of FAQ (frequently asked questions) to help those who wish to learn how to make/bake/cook a cake in a rice cooker.

Honestly, I am not an expert on rice cookers and rice cooker baking, and I don't consider myself as one, since I only have experience in using one particular brand and model, but I have fiddled with my rice cooker frequent enough to know the tricks and pitfalls of rice cooker baking. What I write here is based on my own experience and feedback gathered from my readers. If you have other queries which you would like to be added, kindly leave a comment below and I will try my best to answer. All readers are welcome to chip in with their comments or suggestions if they have differing views or opinions. I hope this can be a forum for rice cooker lovers to share their experiences.

1) I don't have a rice cooker with "Baking/Cake" function, can I still "bake" a cake in my rice cooker?
Yes, of course you can. My rice cooker is without cake function, and all my rice cooker cake inventions are cooked using the "Cook" function. Most of the readers, who have succeeded in making my rice cooker cakes, used rice cookers without "Baking/Cake" function too.

2) My rice cooker is not the modern type of Japanese microcomputer fuzzy-logic rice cooker with multiple functions. It is the old-fashioned type with only 1 button, can I still use it?
If your rice cooker is not of the latest technology, does not have a non-stick pot and has only 1 button, it may still be possible. There are a few readers who have tried using very old rice cookers with 1 button and it worked for them. The only way to know is to try it out to see if it works, but you have to grease the inner pot well and watch closely to make sure it doesn't get burnt/charred. If need be, you may need to flip the cake over when the batter has hardened into a cake, to reduce the chances of the cake getting burnt/charred. (Note: it is pointless to email me to ask if a particular brand or model will work, because I frankly do not know.) [Update] : Pls pop over to this link to read my friend Nasifriet's solution to making RCC in her 19-year-old traditional rice cooker. She used "double protection", a layer of aluminium foil plus another layer of parchment paper on top, to make sure her cake doesn't get burnt.

3) The "Cook" mode has switched to "Keep Warm" mode after 15 min and I tried to place a small piece of cardboard at the "Cook" switch to force it to remain in "Cook" mode. After another 10 min, I noticed a burning smell coming from my rice cooker.
For some rice cookers, you may have to wait for a few min before you can re-press the "Cook" button, if not you may risk breaking the rice cooker. Every time the "Cook" mode switches to "Keep Warm" mode, press "Cancel", try waiting for 5 min and then re-press "Cook" again. For one reader, it even took her 2 hours as she had to wait each time for the cooker to restart. But if you have tried the above, and your rice cooker cake still turns out charred or burnt, then maybe your rice cooker is not suitable for making cakes.

4) My rice cooker has a "Baking/Cake" function, how long would it take for such a rice cooker?
It depends on the brand, model and capacity. Most of the time, the "Baking/Cake" function allows the cake to be cooked slightly faster than the regular "Cook" function. Most of my rice cooker recipes are 1 hour recipes based using "Cook" function on a 5.5-cup cooker, so it may take less than 1 hour if you are using the "Baking/Cake" function in a 5.5-cup cooker, but not always. Some readers with such rice cookers of the same capacity reported taking 1 hour, while some others took 45 to 50 min, it really depends. Remember the stated 1 hour timing varies depending on brand, model and capacity, it is to be taken as a guideline and not meant to be blindly followed.

5) What is the brand, model and capacity of your rice cooker?
The brand is Toshiba, model RC10L-MI, 5.5 cup capacity, purchased in 2008 in Singapore. It has functions such as "Cook", "Quick Cook", "Keep Warm", "Timer", "Congee", "Steam" and "Soup", but I only use the "Cook" function for making cakes. (I am not a paid ambassador of Toshiba rice cookers, I happen to use Toshiba because it is the rice cooker that I have at the moment.)

6) What would you recommend as the easiest cake to make for a 1st-timer? I do not own a cake-mixer and I have never ever baked a cake.
I would recommend RCC #4 - Steamed Moist Banana Cake, followed by RCC #6 - Moist Chocolate Cake, these are cakes which do not require the use of cake-mixer, and both cakes have a steamer recipe too in case you want to use a steamer or wok. Baking experience is preferred but not required for these 2 starter cakes. After you have mastered these 2 recipes, you can proceed to other recipes such as matcha green tea cake, butter cake and japanese kasutera cake.

7) Why are your rice cooker recipes always based on a 1 hour time period? 
My 1st 2 rice cooker cakes were taken from a rice cooker manual and are meant to be cooked within 1 hour, the 1st one was not successfully cooked within 1 hour, while it was difficult to replicate success for the 2nd one. For my subsequent cake recipes, they were adapted from successful steamed or baked cake recipes in my blog. I went to great lengths to specially calculate the quantity of ingredients so that they did not exceed the amount of ingredients as stated in my 1st 2 RCC recipes, so that they can be successfully cooked within 1 hour in my 5.5-cup Toshiba rice cooker. 

8) What if I have a rice cooker with a 8-cup or 10-cup capacity? 
If you have a 8-cup or 10-cup rice cooker, since the base of the pot will have a larger surface area, hence your cooking time may be shorter and your cake may end up flatter. Since rice cookers vary in brand, capacity and technology, always test out your rice cooker with a tried-and-tested recipe to estimate the time required for your rice cooker, and use it as a benchmark for other recipes with similar amount of batter.

9) I made a cake successfully using a 10-cup rice cooker, it took less than 1 hour, the taste was good but it was very flat, what should I do?
Try increasing all the ingredients proportionately, say by 25% to 50%, to achieve a bigger and taller cake, of course the time taken will be longer too. All the rice cooker recipes in my blog are based on 5.5-cup capacity. There was a lady who doubled the quantity to make the banana cake in her 10-cup capacity Toshiba rice cooker with baking function and it took her 1 hour 30 min.

10) How do I know if my cake is cooked, can I open and peep, will the cake collapse?
If the cake is not a sponge cake or chiffon cake, opening the rice cooker should not cause the cake to collapse, but if you open it too often, it may affect the cooking time and will cause condensation to fall back on the cake. If you are unsure about how your cake would turn out or how long it would take, I would suggest opening the rice cooker to check at about 5 to 10 min before the suggested time is up. Then finally, when the time is up, you can use your finger to press slightly on the surface to see if it is wet or firm, and then use a toothpick to check if the cake is well done. I know when the cake is cooked when I can smell the aroma wafting from the rice cooker before the time is up.

11) Why does the top of the rice cooker cake look like a moon-crater? How do I make it look more presentable? 
This is a typical feature of a rice cooker cake. The bottom of the cake,however,  is very beautiful and crusty. For presentation, I always turn it upside down with the crusty bottom facing up. 

12) What are the advantages of making cakes in rice cookers? Are all cakes suitable for making in a rice cooker?
Many households in Asia do not own an oven, especially in Japan where kitchens are very tiny. If you are a student living in a dorm, or if you are studying/working overseas, you may only have a rice cooker instead of an oven at your disposal  in your appartment. Or if you are a novice baker and haven't set your mind yet on buying an oven. Or if you are on holiday travelling in a camper and a rice cooker is the only thing you bring along but you would like to make a cake for somebody's birthday. 

Making cakes in rice cookers can be very easy and fuss-free once
a) you have established that your rice cooker is capable of making cakes;
b) you have mastered one or two tried-and-tested recipes;
c) you know your rice cooker well enough such as how much time is required and how to adjust the recipe to suit the capacity of your rice cooker; 

It is easy to wash up, you don't have to buy additional baking tins, you don't have to preheat, you don't have to adjust the temperature, just keep an eye on the timing will do. However, not all cakes can be made in a rice cooker. Usually steamed cake recipes can easily be converted to rice cooker recipes after proportionately adjusting the amount of ingredients, since rice cookers make use of the basic principles of steaming just like steamers (more advanced rice cookers use either fuzzy logic or induction heat). But the same cannot be said of other cakes such as butter cakes, sponge cakes and chiffon cakes, which have to be thoroughly tested and the amount of ingredients suitably adjusted. 


  1. Hi just tried making the RCC chocolate cake. This is the first thing I have made using a rice cooker (only got it today.) The rice cooker I have is just a cheapy with the switch to flick between cook and keep warm. Any how what I did was use the rice cooker to dissolve the sugar butter etc. on cook mode (took like 3 mins max.) I allowed it to cool by removing the lid and killing the power and mixed in the eggs, then simply sifted my dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and added it all to the RC and mixed well. So everything was blended and looking good so I flicked the RC back on to cook mode, it stayed on for 3 mins then went to keep warm mode. HMMM I thought, after about 10 mins I could flick it back to cook and 30 seconds later it flicked back to keep warm mode. I did this one more time before I realised that in keep warm mode the cake had 3/4 cooked in about 30 mins. So the lightbulb had clicked, I am not sure that this would work for all of this type of rice cooker but it certainly has for me, and may be something wort putting in your FAQ list about rice cooker cakes.

  2. Thanks for posting this. I wasn't paying much attention when making it the first time (hence the various missing ingredients), but this recipe has worked twice now: 170g SR wholemeal (subsequently sifted), 1/4 tsp baking powder, pinch salt. Separately mash two ripe bananas (or substitute yoghurt), add three lightly beaten eggs, cinnamon and rehydrated chopped sultanas. Chopped walnuts also work. Mix with flour only enough to just combine. Add enough vegetable oil to cover base of rice/pressure cooker. Add dough mix. Turn on rice/pressure cooker (if using pressure cooker - 15min on low pressure).
    No sugar or oil/butter added to the mix, but it still works. Alternative sweetener that works is date paste mix with yoghurt, or honey.

  3. Hi I've always used the cook option but everytime the cake remains attached to the pan.. So I wanted to ask you if the steam option would be better for baking.

    1. If the cake is attached to the pot,that means you have not greased it well. I have never used the steam function for baking cakes, always the "cook" function in my Toshiba. The steam function is meant to be used with a steam rack with water underneath, that's what I thought.

  4. Hi, my rice cooker is a 2L rice cooker... how much should I reduce the ingredients?

  5. Hello Miss B..
    Ive tried the steamed chocolate cake last night using my 10cups rice cooker without the bake/cake function. I doubled the ingredients (ommited vanila essen cos i forgot to get 1) as i wan to have taller cake. I cooked twice (1st cooking = 55 min & 2nd cooking = 45 min) and it came out beautiful. The taste is fabulous and not sweet either.. my fiance loves it so much that.THANK YOU FOR SHARING SUCH A LOVELY RECIPE AND FOR INTRODUCING THE RCC METHOD.. xoxoxo

  6. Hi Miss B
    I've tried the steamead chocolate cake last night using my 10 cups rice cooker. I doubled the ingredients (omit the vanilla essence as i forgot to buy 1) as i wanted to have taller cake..
    I cooked twice (1st cooking = 55 min and 2nd cooking = 45 min) and the outcome is a smooth beautiful moist cake. The taste is fabulous and not sweet either. My fiance loves it so much.
    THANK YOU SO MUCH MISS B FOR SHARING YOUR RECIPE & THE RCC METHOD.Looking forward in trying more of your recipes. xoxoxo

  7. Can I use Rice cooker to steam Raddish cake?

  8. Can I use rice cooker to steam raddish cake? Has anyone tried?


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