Uga Uga is a line of cake decorating kits made just for rice cookers. Uga Uga is a line of cake decorating kits made just for rice cookers. Many homes in China don't have ovens, but they do have rice cookers. Uga Uga is a line of cake decorating kits made just for rice cookers. (Photo: Uga Uga)

2 friends figured out how to bake a cake in a rice cooker

And in China, where many people don't have ovens, it's really taking off.

You can bake a cake in all manner of shapes, sizes, flavors and likenesses these days. Entire TV shows are dedicated to the creativity and all-out fun of cake design. One cake in the shape of an Einstein bust – complete with a noodle-based mold of the beloved genius's signature shock of white hair – even won an international culinary competition. When it comes to turning cake into art, it seems the possibilities are endless – and oftentimes delicious.

With hair made of noodles, this cake in the shape of an Einstein bust was a winner.With hair made of noodles, this cake in the shape of an Einstein bust was a winner. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

But for many folks in China, cake isn't exactly, well, baked into the culture. And there's a very simple reason for that – many houses in China don't have built-in, Western-style ovens. It's simply not a priority.

So what do you do when you want to bake a cake in China? There's always the microwave option, but have you ever tried to bake a cake in one of those? We haven't, but we can imagine the result – hot spots, cold spots, and a dry, tasteless cake. Then there's the toaster oven, which would only work on the rare occasion that you're baking for one and don't mind a little crispiness on top.

But what about an appliance that the majority of Chinese people actually do have – the rice cooker?

The rice cooker is a very popular appliance in China.The rice cooker is a very popular appliance in China. (Photo: Jiradet Ponari/Shutterstock)

Turns out this appliance, in addition to cooking China's most popular staple food, is also a pretty awesome cake baker. The steam option – you know, the reason the rice turns out so fluffy – works great to achieve that moist texture you want in your cake. And two friends – Ronen Mechanik in Israel and Piu Piu in China – decided to turn that discovery into a business. They call it Uga Uga, and it's a new line of cake baking kits specifically for use in rice cookers.

The kit includes a small aluminum pan to fit inside standard rice cookers, the perfect proportions of ingredients, decorations and tools. Add eggs and oil, bake for 20 minutes, and voila – instant rice cooker cake.

Sure, there are recipes and how-tos across the interwebs that suggest ways to bake a cake in a rice cooker. But Uga Uga is the first company to tailor a business specifically to the endeavor.

cake kitsThe cake kits come in three flavors, and Mechanik has plans to add more. (Photo: Uga Uga)

And it seems to be cooking up something pretty amazing. In only a couple of months, Uga Uga has sold upward of 4,000 kits through word of mouth. Co-founder Mechanik, a graduate of the Holon Institute of Technology in Israel, said he hasn't even launched a marketing campaign yet.

Also, the cake mold is in the shape of a heart. Awwww.

cake kitsThis is a little cake baked with a lot of heart. (Photo: Uga Uga)

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