• Rice cooker sponge (Camellia Aebischer)Source: Camellia Aebischer
This is hands down the best way to bake a cake in the summer, and it works with almost any cake mix.
Camellia Ling Aebischer

25 Jan 2021 - 12:47 PM  UPDATED 25 Jan 2021 - 12:47 PM

It’s been happening under our noses this whole time – making cakes in rice cookers is standard practice across the Asian community. Many high-tech rice cookers have a cake setting, but you don’t need anything fancy to make one at home. Cooking on the standard rice setting works just fine.

A rice cooker is a very energy-efficient way of baking a cake, and great for when you don’t want to turn the oven on during summer.

For this recipe, I used Donna Hay’s ‘my nan’s sponge cake’ recipe, but you can make anything from a madeira to a baked cheesecake. The one big thing to note is that the top of the cake will be very blonde, and the bottom edges shaped to your rice cooker pot. You can get away with a blonde top by flipping it upside down and making that the bottom.

A rice cooker is a very energy-efficient way of baking a cake, and great for when you don’t want to turn the oven on during summer.

A rice cooker works by sensing a change in temperature, simply put, when all the water in the bowl is absorbed (which doesn’t go above 100°C) and the temperature of the rice starts to rise, the cooker automatically switches off.

The same thing happens when you put a cake in. The cooker should click off when the water is cooked out and the temperature of the cake rises, even on rice setting. Worst case scenario, you open it and it’s not ready, then just click the on button again and check when it beeps or clicks off.

This is what you'll need for Donna Hay's sponge cake recipe.

How to make a rice cooker sponge cake

Follow a recipe for your favourite sponge. I used this one by Donna Hay mentioned earlier.

Recipe here
My nan’s sponge cake

Nans sure know how to sponge cake, especially Donna Hay's. This sponge is light, airy, and worthy of passing down for generations. 

Make the batter, and pour it into a buttered rice cooker bowl. If you like, add a round of baking paper to the bottom for easy removal.

Place in the cooker and turn on your regular rice setting (or if you have a cake setting go with that). Once it’s cooked, check for doneness. The top should spring back when poked. If it’s not done just set it on again then check after (it took me two goes).

Cool in the rice cooker pan then turn out onto a wire rack or serving dish. You may need to run a knife gently around the edge to loosen the cake but rice cooker pots are all non-stick so it should slide right out.

These make great layering cakes for a party or a nice tea cake with a little jam and icing sugar.

You can avoid the tearing here by adding a round of baking paper to the bottom of your cooker - nothing a bit of icing sugar can't fix.

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