Monday, 10 March 2014

Cake in a pressure cooker?! (Philips)

Baked by a tween

Today my daughter decided that she wanted to bake a chocolate cake. I wasn't too thrilled about it because it's a messy affair and I don't fair well with mess. But I relented for it was either bake a cake or be glued to the TV watching cartoon network. Plus a promise to clean up afterwards played a big role in convincing me to let my little sidekicks take the lead in this activity.

It was a win win situation because my kids were off the couch and I will get dessert for dinner. Plus a new small kitchen appliance (demo pressure cooker from Philips) was in the house and this was the best opportunity to test the bake function on it.

I was forced to agree by my kids to let them be fully responsible for the whole baking process i.e. from weighing, scooping beating and/or mixing the ingredients to transferring the ready cake batter for baking (which by the way are good mathematical learning tools). My task was to supervise and intervene only if they needed and asked for me. As interesting it may sound, this actually took a lot of deep breathing and staying calm techniques on my part. It involved a lot of biting my tongue and holding back from taking over their task each time I saw flour sprinkled on my kitchen counter, greasy tiny hands staining my microwave handle and water spilled on my kitchen stool. It was hard but I managed to pull it off! (for someone with somewhat symptoms of an obsessive cleaning disorder, this was a feat).

To keep things simple, we used a quick and easy recipe:-
One pan bake cake

After years of baking cakes in the usual manner way; cream butter with sugar and then add dry ingredients, I was thrilled (but a little doubtful) to try out this new recipe. It was brilliant because I could mix everything in the same pan I was to bake in. Which also meant, few greasy pans to wash afterwards.

The recipe:

195gm Self rising flour

200gm castor sugar

20gm unsweetened cocoa powder. Must be sifted

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

75gm unsalted butter (if using salted butter please omit the 1 tsp salt from the recipe)

200ml warm water

1 tbs freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice (could also be replaced with vinegar)

1tsp vanilla essence

The method:

Melt butter and let it cool.
Since I was a little sceptical about this one-pan cake recipe and didn't want to scratch the pressure cooker pan, I gave my kids another bowl to mix the batter.
You start by combining and mixing all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add vanilla essence and lemon juice to the jug/mug of water and pour this mixture into the dry ingredients. Then add the melted butter and mix to combine all the ingredients. Do resist the temptation to overbeat your batter (I had to intervene because my kids were at it like it was a punching bag) and if you see slight lumps in the batter, it is fine.

Grease your pan with some butter (although this is not necessary as the pan has a non-stick coating to it) and pour the cake batter into it. Carefully put the pan without shaking it too much into the pressure cooker and select bake function.

Don't forget to switch the valve to bake, on the lid (I always tend to forget to switch back the valve from pressure-release to cook, until I notice the vapour blowing out!). Baking time indicated 45 minutes which gave them ample time to clean up and put away the utensils they used.
Viva Electric Pressure Cooker HD2139/62

Usually my kids would perch themselves on my high stool like birds on a tree and watch how the cake transform from a wet liquid into a solid yet soft and spongy texture. But no peeking into the pressure cooker was possible.

The baked and ready cake looked wonderfully soft and fluffy in the cooking pan but it didn't rise very high or maybe the pan was too deep. I wasn't entirely sure if my cake would make it in one whole piece when sliding down the pan and landing onto my cake tray. True to my concern, the cake although slid out easily, didn't make it one piece but the kids were ecstatic nevertheless.

My daughter tried to cover cracks in the cake with some home made chocolate ganache but it didn't work because the cracks were too big and deep. That's when I remembered how much fun the kids had decorating cake pops at Samelan. So that was just what we did. We made cake pops out of the soft and crumbly textured cake.

What you need to do- Cake Pops

Let cake cool completely, cut off the edges of the baked cake and crumble into a fine pile of crumbs. Add some ganache (the best to make chocolate cake pops) or any kind of frosting (butter cream or cheese frosting) and use your clean hands to mix together the frosting and cake. The amount of frosting required will depend on the texture of your cake (a good rule of thumb is to start with a small amount and then add more frosting if needed). As long as you are able to form your cake batter into small balls (about the size of a golf ball) you are good to go. Refrigerate these balls for 1-2 hours or pop them into the freezer for half an hour or so.

Once the balls hardened, you can coat these balls with any coloured frosting and decorate it with some colourful sprinkles, candies or sugars. The possibilities are endless when kids are having fun with their food and allow their imaginations run wild.

You will need to first dip your lollipop or satay stick into the ganache (or frosting) and then into the cake ball, gently pushing it until the stick is mid way into the cake ball. Then dip each ball straight down into ganache until the ball is completely covered (try not to swirl you cake pop in the ganache or it may fall off the stick). Remove the cake pop and gently tap off any excess coating from it and decorate while the coating is still wet. 

You can enjoy the fruits of your labour immediately or pop it back into to the refrigerator for a couple of minutes to allow the decorations to set.

Image taken from Wilton's website

Product Specifications:

  • 14 cooking menus
  • Non-stick pot
  • Comes with a ladle, spatula and measuring cup
  • Preset-timer of 24 hours
  • Keeps food warm for up t 12 hours
  • The pressure valve is auto-release to ensure safety during cooking.
Retail Price : RM499

Other wonders this gadget can make in matter of minutes and retain its goodness

Mixed lentils which is high in protein and good for toddlers

For more recipes, please head over to my Recipes page

Thank you for stopping by at A cuppa for my thoughts

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Disclosure : I did not receive any compensation writing this review. I did receive a demo pressure cooker from Philips (which has been returned) to help me share my experience using it and all opinions are mine alone. This article was featured in Babytalk magazine (March 2014 issue)


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  3. Pressure Cooker is a versatile device.Meat,Fish rice even cake can be baked in it.Thanks a lot for this informative article.

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