Slow cookers are a great way to get dinner on the table with minimal fuss and mess. We’re especially fond of using them for super tender meat preparations: pork shoulder, chicken thighs, and beef brisket do especially well when cooked low, slow, and undisturbed.
But have you ever tried baking in your slow cooker? We came up with six delicious ways to work the sweet side of your machine. Sure, you could make similar versions in the oven, but the slow cooker provides a slow (duh) even heat that, for some cakes, is far superior than the traditional oven treatment. Our Slow Cooker Cheesecake, for example, sets up with a delectable custard-like texture, no water bath required. And we suggest scooping the Chocolate Pudding Cake straight from slow cooker to dessert dish. Get the ice cream ready.
There are a couple of key things to keep in mind when you’re assembling these magic cakes. A few of them require a homemade rack that prevents the cake vessel from sitting directly on the bottom of the insert. Rather than have you special-order a custom rack, we coiled up some foil and used that to give the cake pans some breathing room. (This handy trick works if you need to make a homemade steamer basket as well).
These cakes all get baked with a towel pulled taught underneath the lid. The cakes will naturally create steam while they bake and the towel absorbs the droplets of condensation so they don’t drip back on to the cake and blemish the top. However, in the event that you happen to use an industrial-strength detergent, you may want to use something milder. We tried one cheesecake that tasted an awful lot like Mountain Fresh Breeze.