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Thursday, April 19, 2012

How to: Bake a cake in microwave convection mode?

So one of the questions that I recently received from my readers is : How to bake a cake in microwave convection mode?

This is something new to me as I have been accustomed to the electric ovens. So after a lot of research, here I am with my findings which I hope will help those with the microwave oven!

What is a microwave convection oven?
A convection microwave is the combination of two kitchen appliances: a convection oven and a microwave. A convection oven is just like a conventional oven except that no heating elements are exposed and the heat generated inside the oven is recirculated by strong fans. This rapidly moving hot air cooks and bakes more evenly and, usually, more quickly than the still air inside conventional ovens.
Convection ovens can offer up to three modes: microwave cooking only, convection cooking only or a combination of the two. Sometimes this is called a "mix" feature.

Cooking food with the convection mode means you can brown, broil, crisp and bake. To speed up cooking times, users use the microwave-only mode to heat through the food, then use the convection-only mode to crisp a pizza's crust or to brown a meat's skin. Like the microwave-only mode, the convection-only mode can cook an entire food item. It will just take a bit longer than using the microwave mode.

Convection microwave ovens that use the microwave mode and the convection oven mode together use the energy of a microwave and power of a convection oven. Food cooks faster, and users enjoy the browning/crisping that results.

Baking a cake using Microwave
A convection oven is almost similar to an electric oven when it comes to baking a cake. The Convection feature in the Microwave enables the features of a regular oven when you choose the option. In simple terms,when you set the temperature of the oven in Convection mode, the Microwave literally transforms itself into a regular baking oven.

Type of Baking utensil to be used in the oven
When the convection mode of the microwave is activated, you have to use metal/aluminium/non-stick pans the same as you would use in a regular oven. However,some ovens have combination cooking modes like Microwave-Grill or Microwave-Convection, Here you have to use Pyrex/Borosil utensils as they are safe for Microwave as well as Convection/grill mode.

Pre-heating in a microwave
Some recipes ask for preheating of the oven for few minutes.But in Microwave,it works differently. In electric oven,after the set time,the oven beeps and you could continue with the recipe.But in microwave convection ovens,you do not have to set any time,just set the temperature you would want to bake the stuff and press start. For example,if the recipe requires 180C heat,set that temperature and press start.The microwave would start preheating and beep when it is of the required temperature and it usually takes only 3-4 minutes.

Can a microwave be preheated empty?
When you are using the Convection mode,the microwave ceases to be one and becomes like an electric oven.So there is absolutely no problem if you run it empty.In solo microwave mode,it should not be used if it is empty.

Can I use a microwave immediately after baking a cake?
No,you shouldn’t use the oven in microwave mode after baking a cake.The reason being,the oven would be quite hot after baking and if you use the microwave mode with micro proof utensils, there is a risk of the food as well as the utensils getting burnt.

How to set the temperature for baking in Convection mode?
In most Microwave[Convection] ovens, there is a button which says Convection and when you press that,it displays temperatures starting from 110C to 200C as and when you press it.If you want to bake in 180C,stop pressing when it reaches 180C and press start. It will start preheating and will beep when it finishes preheating-usually after 3-4 minutes. At this stage,you can open the oven and put the stuff inside for baking and again start from setting the temperature.Enter the time you want it to be baked and it starts baking!!

Can I use Aluminum Foil in my Microwave?
Aluminum foil should[ideally] not be used in Microwave and Convection mode as there is a risk of burning. However,in grill mode,you could use a minimal amount,ie place it below the grill plate/tray to collect drippings etc, but not more than that and not anywhere near the heating coil.There are some cake recipes calling for covering with foil after a few minutes. But do it at your own risk.

Do Cakes/Baked stuff prepared in Microwave taste as good as those baked in electric oven?
This is something that my readers have to let me know since I am new to microwave baking! :)

Specific tips for Samsung CE104VD:

* Do not cook using the combination setting. If so the cake will be hard due to increased microwave energy. Reduce the microwave energy on the Samsung unit when using the combination setting.

All the above information are solely from research done online and not from personal experience. Would be adding more info as and when I find something new related to this topic. Would also love to hear from readers who use convection mode for baking cakes.

Happy Baking!

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