We've still got an overabundance of zucchini from the garden and while trying to come up with new ways to use it all I stumbled upon baking… in a crock pot. I never would have thought this would work, but I'm so glad it does. With a slow cooker (a.k.a. crock pot) you don't have to keep an eye on it like you do with an oven. You just pour the batter in, go off to do something else and come back 2 hours later – ideal! The cake is moist and divine… well, what dish with chocolate is not divine?
If you have a really large crockpot, just double this recipe.
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup soft brown sugar (if you can find rapadura sugar it's the best)
2 small eggs
1/2 teas natural vanilla essence
4 T yogurt
1-1/4 cup wholewheat flour
2 T cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp mixed spice (or nutmeg)
2 cups grated zucchini
2 T dried cranberries (optional)
Mix oil and sugar in a bowl until the sugar is dissolved. Add the eggs beat until creamy looking. Mix in the vanilla and yogurt.
Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda & salt into the mixing bowl, then add spices. Mix just enough to combine the wet and dry ingredients. Add the grated zucchini and cranberries and mix it through the batter. I find it easiest to do by hand.
Turn the crockpot on high and spray the inside with spray on oil, then line it with non-stick baking paper. The baking paper will stick to the sprayed on oil.
Pour the batter into the prepared slow cooker, cover and cook on HIGH for 2 hours or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Depending on your crockpot it may take anywhere from 90 minutes to 2-1/2 hours to cook. Once you learn how long your slow cooker takes you can just leave it to cook and come back after that time to remove it. No need to keep checking like you need to with a conventional oven.
When the cake is cooked, remove the lid and lift out the crock. Be careful it will be hot. Leave it to cool for 20-30 minutes, by that time you should be able to touch the crock without burning yourself. Turn the crock upside down over a wire cooling rack and the cake should easily fall out. After the cake cools completely you can store it in the fridge for a few days – if it lasts that long! It's nice eaten warm, but the flavor improves after a day in the fridge.
To line the slow cooker with baking paper…
Take a sheet of baking paper and lid on it. Using the lid of the slow cooker as a guide, trace a line all the way around the lid and trace another line about 2 inches away from the lid all the way around. Use scissors to cut the paper at the OUTER circle. Then make lots of cuts from the outside edge toward the center, stopping at the inner circle. Spray the inside of the crock (bowl) with oil. Now place this cut paper into the crock (bowl) and smooth it out over the bottom and up the sides. If necessary, cut a strip of paper to fit upright against the sides to cover the cut strips and make a smoother surface. You can reuse this paper for several batches of cakes.
Here are some photos, which might help to explain it a bit better:
Then just cut a strip of paper to stand upright and wrap around the inside of the bowl, covering the cut strips. This way it's really easy to re-use the baking paper for another cake.
Related products you might be interested in:
- [ad#Crockpots – Amazon]
- [ad#Vegetarian Slow Cooker – Amazon]