Perhaps no cake is better suited for the slow cooker than this cheesecake. It’s custardy filling sets up perfectly when “baked” low and slow. The only catch to this one is the tiny springform pan. A six or seven-inch pan will fit inside most 5- to 6-quart slow cookers, but if all you have is a regular cake pan you could use that too (you might just have to serve it straight from the pan). The caramel sauce is totally optional, but we like it’s slightly bitter sweetness against the cheesecake’s tangy creaminess. You could always serve it straight up, with some freshly grated lemon zest over top, crushed oreos, or sliced strawberries.
Tightly twist a 3-foot length of aluminum foil to create a rack for slow cooker. Shape foil into a zigzag across bottom of a 5- or 6-quart round or oval slow cooker, and add 1 cup water. Place lid on slow cooker, and set on LOW.
Place butter in a microwavable bowl, and microwave on HIGH until melted, about 30 seconds. Lightly grease a 7-inch springform pan. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and ⅛ teaspoon of the salt in a medium bowl. Press into bottom and 1 inch up sides of prepared pan. Set aside.
Beat cream cheese and remaining 6 tablespoons sugar and ⅛ teaspoon salt with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and beat on low just until incorporated after each addition, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Stir in vanilla. Pour over crumb crust, and smooth top with an offset spatula.
Place pan in slow cooker, and press into foil rack to ensure pan is level. Drape a clean kitchen towel over slow cooker, and place lid over towel. Pull towel taut under lid. Cook on LOW until cake is almost set, about 2 hours and 15 minutes. Remove pan to wire rack, and cool completely, about 1 hour. Gently run a knife around edge of cheesecake to loosen. Chill at least 4 hours or up to overnight. Remove sides, and serve with Caramel Sauce.
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