No, your eyes are not fooling you. I really did bake an entire carrot cake in my rice cooker.
In the last few years, I've seen a vast array of YouTube videos where people cook baked goods in all kinds of gadgets and appliances. What was most interesting to me was how people would bake cakes in a rice cooker/pressure cooker. It was a pretty popular trend in South Korea to bake goods in a rice cooker because many South Korean homes do not come with your standard oven, but everyone does own a rice cooker or a pressure cooker. I've watched every baked good made in a rice cooker from brownies to cakes, and everything between.
Ever since the seasons changed, I have had the urge to eat carrot cake, one of my favorite cakes of all time. I thought instead of buying one, why not bake one for myself? However, I realized that I could not bake the cake in my oven because I did not have cake pans and did not plan on buying any because I am not much of a cake baker to begin with. I always found the decorating part of a homemade cake to be the worst because without the right tools from the offset spatula to the piping bags, it won't look as appealing.
Nevertheless, I did not give up on chasing my carrot cake dreams and decided to bake a carrot cake in my rice cooker after looking up a recipe video on YouTube. The carrot cake that this standard rice cooker created turned out to look pretty decent which gave me the confidence to make my own rice cooker carrot cake. I have a Korean rice cooker from the famed brand Cuckoo, which basically makes the rice cooker a staple for every Korean home. I thought that I could bake a more prestigious cake with the glutinous rice setting since the rice cooker used in the video only had two settings of warm and cook.
Making The Carrot Cake
I made my carrot cake batter from scratch following the recipe video and poured it straight into my rice cooker without hesitation. The carrot cake ended up filling up slightly over half the entire rice cooker and I really hoped that it would rise high enough because I wanted to make a two-layer cake. I then closed the lid and put the setting for the cooker to "glutinous rice" with an approximated cook time of an hour and five minutes. However, I expected it to take longer to cook since the recipe video shared that it took around an hour and a half for the cake to completely bake.
The hour and a half would prove to be a lie because this cake took over two hours to fully bake. The outside looked like it was completely done after my first cook time ended, but after putting my chopstick through the cake, the middle was mostly raw. I decided to cook it for the second time using the "mixed brown rice" setting where the pressure is a lot more intense since brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice. After my rice cooker signaled that it was finished, I was disappointed that it was not cooked through all the way again. I thought third time's the charm then set the rice cooker to the "glutinous rice setting" again to finish this cake that now had taken up over two hours of my time.
After almost three hours of being in the rice cooker, my carrot cake was finally finished. I was surprised by how easily the cake fell out from the rice cooker because I expected to have some resistance like the typical cake pans. I was so happy with how much the cake had risen and how smooth the overall cake looked.
I cut the cake in half and let it cool completely before I put on the cream cheese frosting that I made during the three hours that the cake was cooking. The cake took around an hour and a half to completely cool which now made this entire cooking time a whopping four and a half hours, which is double the time it takes to bake a carrot cake in the oven!
Nevertheless, I persisted and sloppily decorated my carrot cake with homemade cream cheese frosting then let it set in the fridge over night because the frosting was melting from sitting out for too long, as I didn't realize that my cake would take so long to cook.
After an entire day, I finally got to try my carrot cake the next morning and was surprised by how the cake was still moist! It tasted just as good as every other carrot cake I've eaten (most likely because it took me so many hours to make the freaking thing). The cake wasn't dried out, even though it was in the fridge overnight, and was a huge hit with my sister and our friends.
This was definitely the most interesting yet time consuming process for such a simple cake. I was so happy that my carrot cake turned out to taste great but I just bought myself a 9-inch round cake pan from Cuisinart to bake my cakes in the oven for the future.
So Do I Recommend Baking A Cake In A Rice Cooker?
Short Answer: Absolutely not because it will take twice the time it takes in an oven and stress you out because the cook time is ridiculously long.
However, this is a great option for those who do not have an oven and truly want to bake something. I understand why baking in a rice cooker was a popular trend not only in South Korea, but also across many Asian countries as ovens were not a commonly used or essential household item until only recently. Even now, I know plenty of people, including my parents, who do not use an oven but find that a rice cooker is a necessity that will always be used on a daily basis.
Here is the recipe I followed with some modifications:
Ingredients for Carrot Cake
- 2 Cups AP Flour Plain Flour
- 2 Tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
- 1 Tsp Baking Soda
- 1 Cup Chopped Walnuts (or however much you want)
- 4 Grated Carrots (around 3 cups)
- 3 Eggs
- 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
- 3/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
- 2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 container of Greek Yogurt (around 1/4 cup)
Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz Cream Cheese (room temperature)
- 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
1. Pour the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda and stir into a large mixing bowl until well combined
2. Grate your carrots in a separate bowl and set aside
3. Pour and mix the eggs, brown sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and Greek yogurt until the mixture becomes homogenous
4. Pour in the wet mixture into dry mixture and stir until there are no remains of the dry ingredients
5. Fold the grated carrots and chopped walnuts into carrot cake batter
6. Pour carrot cake batter into rice cooker and set the rice cooker on its normally used setting
7. Poke cake with a stick to check if cake has completely cooked (there should be no batter or crumbs on the stick after poking through the cake)
8. If the cake isn't cooked through completely, repeat step 7 and 8 until the cake is completely cooked
9. Cut cake in half and let the cakes cool completely for 1 to 2 hours
10. Put cream cheese, butter, and vanilla into large bowl and mix until the mixture becomes homogenous
11. Gradually add half a cup of powdered sugar at a time into cream cheese mixture
12. Put a layer of cream cheese frosting on top of the bottom cake
13. Put the second half of the cake on top of the first half
14. Cover the entire cake with the rest of the cream cheese frosting and top it off with some chopped walnuts
15. Cut cake into eight pieces and enjoy!