My tiny yurt has a tiny kitchen, so it’s critical each appliance wear as many hats as possible. I tried my first baking experiments with my Cuisinart CMW-200, a smallish oven that combines a microwave, convection oven, and grill all in one unit. I love pound cake, and it’s pretty hard to screw up, so I started there.
The Main Problem with baking in this unit is there doesn’t seem to be any way to turn the convection part of convection bake off. Most sites I’ve read on the subject agree that convection is great for meats and vegetables, but terrible for baking. It tends to over-dry and brown the outside while leaving the inside undercooked.
On my first try, I used this recipe in one Sara Lee baking tin, and a low-carb version where I replaced the general purpose flour with almond flour and the sugar with erythritol, my favorite low-carb baking sweetener.
Here’s the batter in the pans:
…and in the oven:
The first time I did a pre-heated Convection Bake at 350 o F for 55 minutes, then did the chopstick test. It seemed to come out clean, so I turned the oven off and left both loaves in for a while. After I cut into them, however, they weren’t cooked all the way through. I tried several experiments including the Convection Fast Bake and some microwaving to get the centers cooked, but it didn’t really help much.
The outsides were super browned, and the normal pound cake recipe had a strange tunnel going all the way through from front to back at the bottom of the pan, despite the fact that the tray rotates throughout the cooking cycle.
I wasn’t expecting miracles out of the direct-substitution low-carb cake, since replacing wheat flour with lower-carb or gluten-free flour almost always involves a mix of several different flours and other ingredients. The result didn’t rise much, and was only semi-edible, but not completely awful. The erythritol left a mint-like menthol impression on the tongue without the actual mint flavor. Next time I will definitely use less. I’ll have to do more research on lower-carb baking to get a better idea of what to mix to get something cake-ier.
Do I look skeptical? After having cut myself with the immersion blender (my egg beater wasn’t available), I unplugged it before…um…cleaning it.
So it seemed, after the first try the the InterWebz was correct that Convection Bake actually isn’t very good for baking cakes. Maybe something smaller like cupcakes or muffins? I vowed to try again as soon as I had eaten some of my initial results!