Let Jane eat cake!

by Janie Jones

I like dessert.  I crave a little sweet after a savory meal.  And, even though I always like a little bit of dessert with my meals, I am generally truly satisfied with just a little bit.

I used to enjoy baking cakes and pies and other desserts, but as I had no one to share them with, I always seem to have friends who aren’t sweet lovers, usually the goodies would go bad before I could eat them all by myself.  So, for many years I used to enjoy just two store-bought cookies, or one of the bite sized candy bars and be quite content.  And when I felt like baking, somethings I could freeze, but then I got busy with school and didn’t have time for baking anyway.

Now, though, I’m finding it harder and harder to find any store bought goodies or candies which I enjoy and are worth the expense.  Much of the cheap stuff tastes like crap, and even many fancy restaurant desserts aren’t as good as homemade.  Last time I was craving chocolate cake and bought a slice at a restaurant (for $7 no less) I was extremely disappointed.  The cake was dry and flavorless and the frosting so overly sweet and waxy that I couldn’t get through two whole bites.  Last weekend when I visited Leif at the farm I splurged and bought out a frozen cake from the grocery store.  It was okay, but it still didn’t quite hit the spot.

At my room in town I have no real oven to bake in, and my dessert selections have been limited to ice cream and a succession of disappointing cookies, donuts and other store made sweets.  I’ve tried some break-and-bake cookies in my toaster oven, but I’m having trouble getting the timing right, they always seem to go from raw to burned in an instant.  Besides, my taste buds have been wanting brownies or chocolate cake, and not the waxy, sugar over-kill, crappy kind that you spend way too much for at the stores, but real brownies or cake that is moist and rich and not over frosted.

So, I decided to try a crock pot cake.  I still bought a box mix, not having room to store a myriad of baking ingredients in my kitchenette, but I’ve used Pillsbury Devil’s Food cake with pudding in the mix before when in a pinch and found it to be pretty close to my favorite homemade cake recipe.  I looked at a few crock pot cake recipes on the internet, and they all said to cook on low for anywhere from 1 hr 50 min up to 3 hours.

Well, on the down side, I can tell you mixing a cake by hand without a blender was a muscle building exercise.  On the plus side, I probably burned enough calories mixing the cake to off-set the eating of it.  But the problem really was the timing.  I either have a really low power low setting, or my crock was too small for the cake mix.  I lost track of how long it took after the 4th hour of cook time.  I kept going back every 15 or 20 minutes testing and testing.  Finally I took it off the heat because I was afraid the bottom and sides would burn.

In the end the cake didn’t quite cook all the way.  The top quarter inch or so is still pudding-y.  But as the cake is so thick, if you just cut off that upper layer the lower 80-90% is perfect.  And it makes one huge hunk.  I think I’ll end up cutting it into 3 or 4 serving size hunks and freezing them so none goes stale before I can eat it all.

cake 003

So, crock pot cake is delicious, but takes a long time to cook.  And now I know that it might not cook all the way, but that’s okay too.


2 Comments to “Let Jane eat cake!”

  1. I’m guessing the old toothpick test doesn’t work on crock pot cake. If so, next time stick a toothpick into the cake and don’t try to eat it, until the toothpick comes out dry.

  2. I could tell from just looking at it that the surface was still too wet (especially in the center) and that the toothpick test would fail, but the bottom felt firm and I suspected it had been set for quite a while. When cooking with moist heat, I didn’t know if there would always be a “condensation” on the top of the cake. All the recipes I looked at said not to over-cook, and because it had been cooking for well over an hour past the longest recommended cook time I wasn’t sure if normal signs of done-ness would apply.

    Seeing as crock pots all may have a slightly different temperature associated with their low and high settings I probably have a cooler low setting than the models used in the recipes. Next time I’ll know to add at least an extra hour and a half to the recommended cook time of 2-3 hours.

    And, for a first try at least it’s edible, what’s more, it actually it tasted better the next day after it had cooled and dried out a little.

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