50 Shades of CVap

Have you ever had one of those experiences where your chance encounter far exceeded your expectation? The corporate chef of a chain restaurant asked me for a solution to increase the yield on their prime rib. Their average yield ranged from 75% to 82%. Increasing beef prices had them pretty concerned about profits. They were trying to avoid raising prices.

Pumping Up the Yield

The chef wanted to cook and hold the prime rib overnight because that created their lowest yield. While the chef seasoned the prime rib, I set our CVap® Cook and Hold Oven to 135°F Doneness, 7 Browning, High Yield ON and cook time of 5.5 hours. We loaded up the meat and left for the evening. The next morning we did the weigh-in. After a 5.5-hour cook and 11 hours holding, the pre-purged yield was 93.32%!

He invited The Boss to the cutting. After some delicate inspection, it was time to give it a try. “Wow, it’s almost too tender…wait I don’t think I meant to say that.” Needless to say, we had a good laugh.

increase yield on prime rib with cvap ovens

During our rather long meat-eating session, they talked about how they needed to find a way around water bathing, doming, and rotating cheesecakes in their convection oven. It was an operational headache. I was ready for dessert so I said, “let’s make some cheesecake.”

We baked two cheesecakes. One, as usual, was placed in their convection oven (water bathed, domed, and rotated). The other baked in the CVap oven at 200°F Doneness, 0 Browning, Constant Cook ON, and a three-hour cook time.

Testing CVap on Their Menu Favorites

The Cheesecake Challenge

The CVap cheesecake used no water bath, no doming, and did not need to be rotated. My guests described it as “very creamy; silky; a quarter taller; the crust is better; cuts cleaner.”

I expected them to be happy with the labor and operational savings, but my goal was not to create a better cheesecake for them. The convection oven cheesecake was great but was “drier on the tongue” and “a pain to make.”

Over the next few days we just got lost in the CVap oven. The chef prepped the items, and I set the oven. The days just flew by while we compared CVap to their current items.

cheesecake baked in CVap oven

Staged Steaks

(Setting: 135°F Doneness, 0 Browning, Constant Cook ON for 1 hour)

Time on their charbroiler: 2 minutes 45 seconds

steaks staged in cvap oven

Raw Steaks

(39°F from refrigerator)

Time on their charbroiler: 8 minutes (5 minutes and 15 seconds longer)

steaks cooked from raw with bullseye

Carrot Cake

(Setting: 170°F Doneness and 0 Browning, Constant Cook ON for 1 hour)

“You can taste the individual ingredients.”

carrot cake baked in cvap oven

Chocolate Cake

(Setting: 170°F Doneness and 0 Browning, Constant Cook ON for 1 hour)

“It’s just more like cake.”

chocolate cake baked in cvap oven


(Setting: 135°F Doneness and 5 Browning, High Yield ON for 5 ½ hours)

“You can cut it with a fork.”

How many shades of uses can you create with one oven – CVap?

increase yield tri-tip cooked in cvap oven

Chocolate Cake Smackdown: CVap Oven vs. Conventional Oven

flourless chocolate cake

When I was a kid, I remember making the most decadent, delicious, and rich flourless chocolate cake.  I helped my grandmother put ganache on the top, and sneaked a little off the top with my finger when she wasn’t looking. We always called that kind of sampling “quality control tasting.”

I still love this type of confection. I mean, who doesn’t like chocolate? For me, it’s a great go-to dessert for guests – similar to my grandmother’s – topped with a side of homemade whipped cream and fresh raspberries. And there’s the added bonus of it being a super quick and easy recipe. Plus it is gluten free.

Instead of just baking it in a traditional oven like grandma’s, I wanted to see what kind of results I would get baking it in a CVap® Cook and Hold Oven. So I devised a challenge for myself in order to compare the two.

raw ingredients

I made a double batch of the batter and placed equal amounts in individual, fluted removable-bottom tart pans. I set the CVap oven at 160°F +10 browning and the conventional oven at 350°F.

CVap vs conventional chocolate cake

The Results

The results were very interesting! The cake in the CVap oven baked in 16 minutes. The cake in the conventional oven took almost 20 minutes. More importantly, when I had three adults conduct a blind taste test, they all preferred the cake baked in the CVap oven! Some of the comments about CVap flourless cake were that it “had a chocolatier taste,” “the texture was lighter and smoother,” and “the top exterior top was more eye appealing.

CVap vs conventional chocolate cake

I found that the conventional cake rose, and then dropped once out of the oven. This is a normal occurrence with flourless chocolate cakes. What I liked about the CVap version was that the top had a better texture and the cake did not drop, giving it better eye appeal. It certainly makes a good case for baking in a CVap Cook and Hold Oven.

And when you add the ganache…calling it icing on the cake doesn’t do it justice!

Yummy chocolate cake