It’s a pleasure to serve fresh baked desserts to friends and family year around. I certainly don’t like the idea of cranking up my conventional oven to bake a small cake when the temperature outside is a summery 90-plus Fahrenheit. If I’m running the air conditioning, it seems like a crying shame to cool the room that is being heated by the range.
I’ve tried microwave recipes for various baked goods, but the food just doesn’t taste right. A person could use a toaster oven or convection oven, but again, there’s more high heat involved. If you’re only serving a few people, you might want to try your slow cooker, instead.
Using a slow cooker like a CrockPot is not only heat smart, it’s liberating. Just whip up something; place it in the appliance; plug it in; and turn it on. Then walk away for a few hours. You’re free to have a life.
One of my friends/readers told me he’s been baking cakes lately. That got me to thinking that I also enjoy home baked cakes. I just don’t like a hot kitchen in the spring and summer months. So I brought out my old Rival CrockPot. This one has the original equipment baking pan. I’m in business!
This is super easy because it’s not made from scratch. But I’ve tweaked the ingredients to make it my own. Of course, if you want to make it from scratch, that’s fine, it will only require more work. Get everything you need for the cake together before you begin. There are few situations as frustrating as preparing food, then discovering you’re missing a key ingredient. This cake is all about convenience.
First, prepare the CrockPot or other slow cooker for baking. Make sure you have the baking pan insert designed for your appliance. Are you missing it? Don’t proceed yet. Check eBay, another auction site or maybe a thrift store and get one there. If you are daring, you can use a suitably sized coffee can. I don’t recommend it, but some people claim it’s OK. I discourage it because of the sharp edges. It’s also more difficult to remove the finished cake.
I have crumpled a few pieces of aluminum foil to elevate the pan from the cooker’s bottom. Don’t use the standard rack, it’s actually a meat rack. If you attempt to use the rack under the pan, you won’t be able to cover the cooker.
Next I opened a standard 14.5 ounce (410 grams) can of yellow cling peaches. I placed approximately half of the slices into the bowl then cut them into smaller chunks. Then I emptied the chopped fruit into the very liberally greased baking pan. At this point, I also plugged in the CrockPot and began to preheat it on the high setting.
To mix the batter, I followed the package directions for a Jiffy yellow cake mix EXCEPT that I substituted the peach juice from the can in place of the water. It is important to use the exact amounts when baking. In this case, Jiffy called for a half cup of water, I nixed that and poured in a half cup of peach juice. By the way, if you’re using a standard layer cake mix, use half the box and adjust the wet ingredients, accordingly.
Add your egg or egg substitute, then blend. You can use a mixer, a spoon, a handheld blender or wire whisk. I like the wire whisk because I’m a guy and whipping batter by hand just looks more macho. It also helps to tone the biceps.
Carefully pour the prepared batter into the pan on top of the peach chunks. Place the pan inside the slow cooker. You must use the crockery insert, don’t attempt to cook anything without doing so. Press the pan gently against the aluminum foil to level the pan.
Place the metal pan’s lid onto the pan and twist it past the slots to secure it in place. Place the glass lid onto the CrockPot and leave it alone. Check the sides of the appliance to make sure it is heating.
Allow the mixture to bake on high for around three hours. There is plenty of wiggle room on bake time because of the nature of slow cookery. Regarding my own, old CrockPot, at the end of three hours, I switch off the appliance and unplug it. I don’t remove any lids for approximately half-an-hour. You can experiment with your own unit. If you must check the baking process, remove the lids quickly, peek inside, then quickly replace both lids. Use potholders or oven mitts.
If you’re satisfied that baking is complete, go ahead and remove the baking pan from the CrockPot and remove the metal lid. I prefer to then hold the pan from the bottom then place a heat resistant plate on the top, holding it in place with my other hand. I quickly and carefully flip the pan and plate then park the plate onto the countertop. Soon, the cake drops away from the pan and onto the plate. Carefully lift the pan away. You should have a fabulous cake.
The cake mix box says the finished cake should serve four or five people. My experience says four. The dessert will be a little heavier than a standard oven baked cake.
A reminder: Be sure to use the proper size baking pan or can that fits in your slow cooker. There should be air space all around it. You must use the glass lid to cover the appliance during cooking. If you’re using a coffee can, place a wet paper towel on top of the can to retain moisture during cooking.
The Blue Jay of Happiness likes to enjoy this dessert, one on one, during a romantic meal with somebody special.