I made a pancake cake in a rice cooker and now there’s no going back

The Pancake Cake

The greatest thing to happen to brunch since the mimosa.

(Pssst, here’s a jump to the actual recipe at the bottom)

You guys.

You guys.

You guys.

I need to tell you about this thing I just did. What did I do? I revolutionized the pancake breakfast/brunch/brinner.

Okay, well, I didn’t revolutionize it, but I followed directions from the internet and did the thing and now feel all empowered. So, yeah, vive la revolution! (Or whatever the appropriate phrase for “did the thing on the internet and succeeded” is.)

What is this magical pancake brunch revolution I’m talking about? Glad you asked, homeskillet. Repeat after me.

Pancake. Cake.

Now stay with me, because here’s where it gets crazy.

Pancake cake. Made in a rice cooker.

“Pancake cake?” You ask. “Isn’t that just like…a cake?”

But it’s not! It’s so not!

“In a rice cooker? Huh?”

I know, right?

Allow me to explain how this all came to be. After literal years of being a rice cooker snob (e.g., “Why buy a rice cooker when I have a perfectly good stove and pot?”) I broke down and bought a rice cooker after reading a few articles about the ease of cooking rice in the rice cooker, other cool things you can cook in a rice cooker, and the fact you can set a timer and have perfectly-cooked rice without babysitting a stove. We’ve recently switched to brown rice, which meant even longer cooking/stove babysitting times, and if we wanted rice with dinner it meant almost 0 chances of post-nap park playing. And that, my friends, was really the straw (or, dare I say it, grain of rice?) that broke the camel’s back.

I used some Amazon credits we had left over and bought the mack-daddy of rice cookers: a 5.5-cup Zojirushi. As I understand it, Zojirushi is to rice cookers what Kitchen Aid is to stand mixers. It has a bunch of different settings for whatever you’re cooking: white rice, brown rice, porridge, cake, and also has a steamer function, which if we ever have another kiddo might come in handy when I need to make bigger batches of baby food than our Beaba can do. You can set a timer for the food to be done at a certain time, and it also has sensors that adjust the temperature and cooking time based on the consistency of the food (a feature, I now understand is called “fuzzy logic”). I went all in on this rice cooker.

Once I got the rice cooker I made some brown rice immediately to try it. It took a long time but was completely hands off and came out perfectly. I was still sort of wary, though. Another appliance/space-taker-upper? In my kitchen? And then, breakthrough.

Pancake Cake SlicedI read about the famous (“famous” meaning “famous among people who read and write about rice cookers on the internet”) pancake cake phenomenon and decided I had to try it. It’s so simple it’s mystifying. You simply mix up your favorite pancake batter, pour it in the rice cooker (or, something I’ll do next time, mix it in the actual rice cooker itself), and turn it on for 45 minutes. When the rice cooker is done, you’re left with what is essentially a very large, thick pancake you can cut into slices. This appealed to me for a few reasons: first, #pancakecake. Second, no slaving over the stove fretting about the temperature and silently resenting everyone else enjoying their pancakes while you’re still attempting to use up all the batter. Third, #pancakecake. It had to be said again.

The pancake cake was a smashing success. I used the New York Times Everyday Pancakes recipe for pancakes because I basically think Bisquick is the devil* and pancakes have literally 5 ingredients. I then decided to use chocolate chips because I’m also apparently 5 years old and there is a limit to how sanctimonious I can be regarding processed food (Bisquick? No. Chocolate chips? Obviously yes). I set the Zojirushi to the “cake” setting, which is the equivalent to “on for 45 minutes” on other rice cookers (I am not sure of how other rice cookers function, so don’t quote me on that), and then came back to my beautiful pancake cake.

Connor couldn’t stop eating it. Chris couldn’t stop eating it. I am probably still eating it as the other two normal people in the house are in a brunchy pancake cake-induced coma. Seriously guys, it’s the best thing to happen to brunch since the mimosa.

Pancake Cake Connor EnjoyingIf you have a rice cooker, try this, guys.

You’ll feel like a mad scientist.

You’ll feel revolutionary.

You’ll feel like your brunch life has meaning again.

Pancake cake.

You’re welcome.

(And now, the actual recipe.)

(Also, you should probably consider getting a rice cooker. I’m officially a convert.)

Rice Cooker Pancake Cake Recipe/How-To

(Adapted from the New York Times Everyday Pancakes recipe)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups milk 
  • ~½-1 cup pancake fillings such as chocolate chips, fruit, etc., as desired

Instructions

  • Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) together in the rice cooker
  • Beat eggs into 1 ½ cups of milk, then add to the dry ingredients
  • Mix all ingredients, and if the batter seems too dry, add more milk as necessary
  • Add mix-ins as desired
  • Close rice cooker and cook for 45 minutes (set to “Cake” setting on Zojirushi)

Recipe Notes

You can use ANY pancake recipe you love and it will work in the rice cooker. Just be sure not to fill it too high as the pancake cake will expand as it cooks. The recipe above fit perfectly in a 5.5-cup Zojirushi rice cooker.

 

Bisquick ingredients list


*Flour, baking powder, eggs, milk, and a pinch of salt are what go into pancakes. Take a look at the ingredient list for Bisquick. DATEM? Distilled monoglycerides? Blargh. I’ll take the extra step of mixing 5 ingredients I can pronounce any day over willfully ingesting an additive of diacetyl tartaric acid ester of mono- and diglycerides (that’s what DATEM is, by the way) as an “ingredient”. [Steps off soapbox, probably falls into own glass house.]

Dear elevator button panel manufacturers…

There comes a point when you arrive at a certain age and you actually start thinking this exact phrase:

I’m going to write a strongly-worded letter about this.

This is the exact face I make when I say I'm going to write a strongly-worded letter. I might expect one from Connor over this lunch any day now, apparently.

This is the exact face I make when I say I’m going to write a strongly-worded letter. I might expect one from Connor over this lunch any day now, apparently.

Whether you say it out loud or simply think it, the phrase is there forever in your psyche without warning. It doesn’t matter if you mean email instead of letter. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t bought stamps in four years. The phrase is the same. It’s the 10-word equivalent of, “harumph!” and it happens to everyone at some point.

It’s happened to me for years, but there are certain strongly-worded letters I’d like to write as a mom that seem to trump over all other annoyances I’ve experienced lately. And so, having explained all this, I’d like to start a segment just for this on this blog. I’m creatively calling it, “Strongly-Worded Letters*.”

The first is one I know every mom with a mobile child has experienced because I can’t get into an elevator with another mom without discussing it: elevator button panels.

To whomever designed the layout of elevator buttons:

Thank you so much for putting the “call” and “emergency” buttons exactly at toddler level. There are special thank-yous in order to the ones who make those buttons red and extra-enticing. If handicapped individuals need to be able to reach the top buttons, can you not put those buttons at that level instead?

Do you realize how many elevator operator-people (no, I don’t know exactly who it is that answers those phones) I’ve talked to, apologizing? Or, rather, run out of the elevator from exactly as they pick up, embarrassed, knowing that what I’m doing is wrong? Or, even worse, realizing that half the time nobody is there because too many toddlers have pressed those buttons and now if there’s a real emergency we’re all SOL? Too many times is how many times. And yes, I watch my child and try and teach him correct behaviors, but sometimes I (god forbid!) have something in my hands, or am trying to find my keys, or any number of other things that may happen at any given moment when we are in the elevator. So thank you, elevator-button-designer-person.

Thank you indeed.

XOXO,

Motherhood What

P.S. Quick question: do the “close door” buttons actually do anything? Or are they simply a method of reminding us of our own futility in this world and that our place in the universe is quite small and fleeting? Because it sort of seems like the latter option. 


*It’s this exact creative spirit that has me rolling in the beaucoup bucks** these days as a writer.

**You should probably know that I’m being sarcastic here. We still are too cheap to buy cable.