At BlogHer Food in Miami this past May, multiple brands sponsored the Conference and set up booths in the wide hallway between the grand breakfast hall and smaller breakout rooms. The friendly PR people smiled at us as we walked by, offering tote bags with samples of their various products and encouraging us to take as many as we could fit in our suitcases.
While walking up and down the aisle, I sipped on chocolate milk, nibbled on mozzarella cheese, crunched on crisp brownie bites, tore off bits of sweet rolls, munched on gourmet baked chips, tasted my first kale smoothie, and downed more servings of Averie’s cakes than I care to admit. (I was seriously SO excited to try her recipes in person—like a little kid on Christmas morning!)
When I wandered by the Hamilton Beach booth on the first day, a blonde lady behind the table offered me a small plastic condiment cup with a two-bite serving of chocolate cake, freshly scooped from the inside of one of their slow cookers!
She asked if I’d like whipped cream too, and I could only nod, still completely shocked that it was possible to bake a cake inside of a slow cooker. The woman explained that the lid trapped in lots of moisture that generally gets lost in a conventional oven, lending the cake a denser, fudgier texture.
Although I immediately put that on my mental To Do List, I promptly forgot as soon as I returned home, mesmerized by dulce de leche and in desperate need of large caffeinated frappuccinos after getting just 12 hours of sleep over the course of 3 days. Besides, there was one other tiny caveat…
I didn’t actually own a slow cooker!
I had borrowed my mom’s tiny two-person one last fall since our tiny kitchen lacked and shelf space. (Our rice cooker, donut maker, mandoline, and ice cream maker ended up precariously stacked on the office closet’s shelves.)
But when I came to visit my parents last week and finally remembered my brilliant idea from the spring, my mom immediately pulled her regular-sized slow cooker off of the shelf and encouraged me to test recipes. After a little tweaking, I finally perfected this…
Skinny Slow Cooker Chocolate Fudge Cake! With its rich flavor and dense texture, it’s truly a chocoholic’s dream. Every slice tastes like an oversized piece of dark chocolate fudge, and topped with fresh sliced strawberries or a bit of raspberry compote, this decadent cake is pure dessert perfection on a plate.
Almost every recipe I found for “Crock Pot/Slow Cooker Chocolate Cake” started with a boxed chocolate cake mix doctored up with milk and pudding mix. While those probably taste divine, I wanted to create a healthier from-scratch recipe that was just as easy to make.
So I did! This simple recipe uses typical pantry ingredients—nothing fancy that requires an extra tip to the grocery store. Just whisk the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet in another; then combine them, almost exactly like a cake mix. That’s right: there’s no chocolate to melt!
But without any melted chocolate, all of the flavor comes from cocoa powder. We’ll actually add more cocoa powder the flour to give the cake that rich dark chocolate flavor. Just like with flour, make sure you measure the cocoa powder correctly with the spoon-and-level method. If you scoop either straight from the canister, you’ll end up with 1.5 times as much, which would really dry out your cake and turn it crumbly instead of the dense, fudgy texture we’re going for!
Note: I HIGHLY recommend buying a kitchen scale for this reason! I adore my inexpensive EatSmart one. It makes measuring everything a breeze! Most sacks of flour (all-purpose, whole wheat, and gluten-free too), sugars, cocoa powder, and other ingredients already include both the cups and metric measurements on the side in the Nutrition Label. Just spoon the ingredients directly into your bowl until you reach the appropriate weight! No measuring cups to dirty—and one less thing to wash is always a plus in my book!
Just like with most of my cake and cupcake recipes, alternating additions are mandatory. Add the flour mixture, followed by the milk, and continue switching between the two, stirring in each until they’re just incorporated. Alternating additions help prevent over-mixing, which would over-develop the gluten strands and turn your cake tough and chewy. Not good!
I used a 5-quart slow cooker (this model), but the recipe should work in a 6-quart one as well. The cake may be slightly thinner, and the cook time may be a little shorter. It’s okay to peek early to make sure!
Coat the inside of the porcelain insert with nonstick cooking spray, and wipe off any oil that gets on the rim where the lid rests. Otherwise the lid won’t make a tight enough seal, and you’ll lose some of that moisture that’s created during the cooking process. The batter is fairly thick, so spread it evenly across the bottom.
A few hours later, check on the center of the cake. When it has just barely set and doesn’t look liquidy anymore, it’s done! Shut off the slow cooker, remove the lid, and let it cool for 20 minutes before carefully turning it out onto a wire rack to prevent it from over-baking. I know it’s tempting to serve it directly from the slow cooker, but the sides would burn if you left it in any longer!
With the irresistible aroma of dark chocolate wafting throughout the entire house, my parents and I immediately left to run errands to avoid the temptation of diving straight into this Skinny Slow Cooker Chocolate Cake! After our first bites, all words escaped us, and we each snuck back for seconds. I wrapped up the remaining cake in plastic wrap before bed, and it actually turned even fudgier overnight!
Between the three of us, this rich cake disappeared in less than 48 hours, so I’m already planning on baking it again… And again… And again…