A mini version of my famous low carb Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer Cake! And a review of the new Panasonic Countertop Induction Oven. This post is sponsored by Panasonic. #myCIO #CES2017
There are a few things you should know about me. One is that I have an obsession with new kitchen appliances and gadgetry. The other is that I am never going to turn down an invitation to visit Napa Valley. If you happen to put these two things together and, say, invite me to Napa for the unveiling of a new and innovative kitchen appliance, you’ve pretty much got me. I am putty in your hands. Which is exactly what happened a few months ago, for the launch of the new Panasonic Countertop Induction Oven at the Culinary Institute of America. Napa was sunny and gorgeous, the wine and food were amazing, and the countertop induction oven (CIO for short) was astonishing. Yup, I was putty.
Now, you might be thinking that you’ve heard of induction cooktops. You may even own one. But the heck is an induction oven? How does that even work? Don’t you need special pans and cookware for it? Well, yes and no. It’s the first of its kind and as I watched it in action, I was really quite intrigued. This isn’t some fancy toaster oven. It’s larger and more comprehensive than that, but it’s still compact enough to sit on your kitchen counter. It heats primarily through an induction bottom surface, but it also has broiling elements in the top. You can roast, toast, broil, bake…and grill. The accompanying die-cast aluminum grill pan works like a stellar indoor grill so you can get that wonderful grilled flavour all year round. The grill pan also allows you to use other metal and glass pans and bakeware in the oven because it conducts the heat from the induction surface. It’s really is a small multi-purpose oven. And using induction technology, it heats quickly and evenly.
At the end of our stay in Napa, our Panasonic hosts revealed that all of the attendees were going to receive our own CIO. I admit, I may have squealed a little bit and I wasn’t alone in making that noise. Watching chefs from the Culinary Institute create lovely dishes in the induction oven was fun, of course, but I wanted to try it out for myself. So there it sits now, on my counter, and I am having so much fun. We grilled burgers and steak the other night and they were juicy and delicious. I toasted some soul bread for our breakfast the next morning. Then I decided I had to try baking with it, because that was one feature they didn’t show us in Napa and you know I can’t live without baking. If this was going to be worthy of some of my kitchen counter space, I’d better be able to bake in it.
What better thing to bake than one of my mini cakes? Obviously this is not a full size oven, although it does easily fit a 9×9 baking pan or a circular cake pan (I checked almost the moment I took it out of the box). But for me, the beauty of a countertop oven is that I don’t have to heat up my big conventional oven for something small. And since I’ve been planning a mini version of my famous low carb Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer Cake, this seemed like a natural fit. It really worked out well. The cakes baked in a shorter time than they would in my oven, and they rose perfectly. I used my ceramic ramekins set onto the grill pan without any problems.
Admittedly, it’s not an inexpensive piece of equipment, but it holds great promise. I was saying to my husband how ideal this would be for someone in a small apartment or for a vacation cabin or trailer, as it’s space-saving and cooks whole meals for 2 to 4 easily . It’s also perfect for someone such as myself, who has a large oven but bakes and cooks so much that she maxes out her oven space frequently. The grill function is truly unique among countertop ovens, and I think it’s perhaps my favourite part. Grill 4 burgers and some veggies all in the same pan at any time of year. Then bake yourself a mini Peanut Butter Layer Cake. Dinner is served!
Available online at Williams-Sonoma, Bed Bath & Beyond, Amazon and Panasonic. It is currently being showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show, going on now. Check it out and follow along with hashtags #myCIO and #CES2017
Many thanks to Panasonic for partnering with me to bring you this recipe.