Slow Cooker Cakes

Slow-Cooker Angel Food Cake
Photo: Victor Protasio

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 to the traditional oven treatment. Our Slow Cooker Cheesecake, for example, sets up with a delectable custard-like texture, with no water bath required. And we suggest scooping the Chocolate Pudding Cake straight from the slow cooker into the dessert dish.

There are a couple of key things to keep in mind when you're assembling these magic cakes. A few 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 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 naturally create steam while they bake, and the towel absorbs the droplets of condensation so they don't drip back onto 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.

01 of 05

Slow Cooker Angel Food Cake

Slow-Cooker Angel Food Cake
Victor Protasio

Whether you make it in a slow cooker or bake it in the oven, angel food cake gets its lift from properly beaten egg whites. Unlike heavy cream, which is best whipped when very cold in a very cold bowl, egg whites whip better at room temperature. Leave your eggs out for a couple of hours before baking or set them in a bowl and cover them with some warm water. This should warm them up in about 15 minutes.

Once your angel food cake has cooled, it’s best sliced with a serrated knife. Those tiny teeth and a gently sawing motion will cut neatly through the cake without deflating it.

Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Angel Food Cake

02 of 05

Slow Cooker Apple Spice Cake

We like this crockpot spice cake dusted with a light coating of powdered sugar, but it would be equally delicious drizzled with caramel sauce.
Victor Protasio

The only trick to this sweet and simple cake is finding the right Bundt pan for the job. It calls for an 8-cup pan, smaller than standard Bundts, which are typically closer to 10–12 cup capacity. Most importantly, the cake pan should fit inside your slow cooker, so make sure it slides in with a little breathing room.

While apple is a great choice, this cake would be no less delicious with chopped pear or a mixture of the two fall fruits. Dust the cake with powdered sugar for a pretty presentation or serve with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream.

Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Apple Spice Cake

03 of 05

Slow Cooker Carrot Cake

Slow-Cooker Carrot Cake
Victor Protasio

Carrot cake can sometimes suffer from the dries. That’s why it's often made with oil instead of butter and packed with controversial extras like raisins and pineapple. Butter is part liquid, which evaporates and can dry out during baking, even with the addition of shredded vegetables. But oil almost always ensures a moist cake, and its neutral flavor won’t mask the natural sweetness of the carrots.

Cooking (or, actually, steaming) this cake in the slow cooker gives it an ultra moist interior. And a layer of classic cream cheese frosting doesn’t hurt.

Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Carrot Cake

04 of 05

Slow Cooker Chocolate Pudding Cake

Slow-Cooker Chocolate Pudding Cake served with ice cream on a plate.
Victor Protasio

You guys like chocolate dump cakes, right? Oh, well, that’s what we heard. This one couldn’t be easier AND you don’t have to worry about it for three whole hours.

It works in a round or oval-shaped slow cooker, and you probably have all the ingredients in your pantry. If you don't have the coffee granules, you could make this cake without them, and the kiddos would be none the wiser. Go ahead and pull out the ice cream about 15 minutes before you’re ready to eat this one to encourage sexy melting.

Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Chocolate Pudding Cake

05 of 05

Slow Cooker Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Slow-Cooker Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
Victor Protasio

If you’ve never made pineapple upside down cake, this recipe is a good place to start. Most upside-down cake recipes require you to make a traditional caramel and pour it into a cake pan before you layer on the fruit and the batter, which can be intimidating, even for seasoned upside-down cake bakers.

This one only requires mixing a bit of brown sugar with melted butter and smearing it on the bottom of a slow cooker. (And we know you can handle that.) We love a classic pineapple approach but come summer, try this with peaches, plums, or apricots.

Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Pineapple Upside-Down

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