If there's one kitchen invention I could never do without, it's the slow cooker.
Never mind immersion blenders and sliced bread: The slow cooker is where it’s at when it comes to easy gourmet meals where most of the time is spent…well, not cooking! If that’s not the closest thing to paradise, I don’t know what is.
On second thought, maybe this Slow Cooker Pear-Vanilla Cake
is. The second closest thing is the slow cooker in which you make it.
I know that in most cases, cake can be made in the oven in a much shorter time span than in a slow cooker. But the difference between most cakes and this one is that because it’s baked low and slow, the flavors have more time to mix and mingle and make a delicious, dynamic taste.
It’s like the difference between meat that’s been cooked on the stovetop versus over the course of a few hours in an oven, leaving it even more tender and juicy. There is just no comparison.
I really like the “upside-down” aspect of this cake. Because the butter, sugar and pears are left at the bottom of the slow cooker to bubble and brown and soak together, once the cake has cooled, all of those gooey, delicious ingredients harden slightly and become a caramelized wonder that, once inverted, serves as the topping of your cake. The bottom (which is also the last ingredient added to the mix) is left spongy and moist.
A word of caution: Be sure to generously – and I mean generously – butter the foil that will line the slow cooker. Otherwise, you might end up with burnt edges that struggle to pull away from the foil (like I have many times). No worries, though, if you do – the cake will still be tasty. Also try your best not to peek under the cover while it’s baking, as each peek takes away a good amount of heat and steam that is baking the cake. Patience is a highly valued virtue when making this cake.
But trust me – once you take a bite of that warm pear and vanilla-y goodness, you’ll know it was worth the wait!
More Sweet Slow Cooker StuffStephanie (aka Girl Versus Dough) joined Tablespoon to share her adventures in the kitchen. Check out Stephanie’s Tablespoon member profile and keep checking back for her own personal recipes on Tablespoon