Slow cookers can be used to bake goods in two ways: by steam baking or dry baking.
Steam Baking in a Slow Cooker
In steam baking, dough or batter is placed inside a mold, a heatproof and waterproof container that’s placed in the slow cooker and surrounded by about two inches of water. When the slow cooker is turned on, the water turns to steam that fills the crock and cooks the dough.
- Any heatproof container can serve as a mold, from pudding molds to soufflé dishes to coffee cans.
- The mold should fit inside the slow cooker with an inch of clearance all around, to let the steam circulate properly.
- The mold should be open-mouthed, so the cake or bread can be removed without effort.
- The dough or batter should fill no more than two-thirds of the mold; the hot water should come about two inches up the outside of the mold.
- If your mold has no lid, cover with aluminum foil.
- 1 egg, beaten lightly
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
Grease a six-cup mold or spray it liberally with nonstick cooking spray. In a bowl, combine the egg, sugar, and molasses. Beat in buttermilk and stir until the mixture is smooth and creamy. In a different bowl, mix the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Add the dry ingredients to the molasses blend and stir until they are smoothly combined. Pour the batter into the mold and cover the mold with a lid or foil.
Place the mold in the center of the crock, with about an inch of clearance on all sides. Pour in hot water around the sides of mold, being careful not to pour water into the batter. Add enough water to come about two inches up the side of the mold. Cover and cook on high for 2–2 1/2 hours. Remove the mold lid and gently touch the center of the bread to see if it’s done. If it springs back, it’s done. If not, cover the mold again and continue to steam on high, checking the bread every half hour to see if it’s done.
When the bread is done, transfer the mold to a rack and let the bread cool, uncovered, for about 15 minutes. Run a knife around the inside of the mold to loosen the bread. Turn the mold upside down and let the bread slide out, then place the bread right side up on a rack to finish cooling.
Dry Baking in a Slow Cooker
In dry baking, no mold is necessary; the dough or batter can be placed directly in the crock. When dry baking, make sure to protect the crock in one of the following ways:
- Grease the crock liberally before putting the dough or batter inside, or use a nonstick cooking spray.
- Cut a circle from parchment paper and place it at the bottom of the crock before pouring in the batter.
- Use a commercial liner.
Double Chocolate Cake (serves 6–8)
- 1 package devil’s food cake mix or chocolate cake mix
- 4 eggs, beaten lightly
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup water
- 1 package instant chocolate pudding mix
- 1 cup chocolate chips
Using a spoon, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Grease the crock or spray it with a nonstick cooking spray, then pour the batter into the crock. Cover and cook on low. After 5 hours, check the cake: if it springs back after being touched lightly in the center, it’s done. If not, cover and continue to bake, checking every half hour to see if it’s done.