BY ALISON LADMAN, Associated Press
This chocolate cake is more delicious and more indulgent than any dessert has a right to be. And you will thank us for that.
The goal was a chocolate cake that combined the best attributes of brownies and pudding. Which is to say, we wanted it both tender and cakey, but also richly moist, even gooey. And the best environment for cooking such a cake turned out to be the slow cooker. It heats the cake slowly and gently while retaining all the moisture.
For extra decadence, we built our cake over a layer of frozen cherries, giving it a Black Forest effect. The resulting dessert has a cakey exterior, but a pudding-like center. Served warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, you'll never believe this treat came from your slow cooker.
Feel free to mix up the fruit. If cherries don't do it for you, substitute frozen blueberries, peaches or mango chunks. And feel free to assemble and refrigerate it the night before in the slow cooker crock, then just pop it in the cooker the next day.
CHOCOLATE CHERRY SLOW COOKER PUDDING CAKE
Start to finish: 4 hours 20 minutes (20 minutes active)
20 ounces frozen pitted cherries
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
8 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate
Mist the interior of a 6- to 8-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Arrange the cherries in an even layer on the bottom of the slow cooker.
Sift together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, flour and salt.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 2 at a time, beating well between additions. Stir in the flour-powdered sugar mixture in 2 additions, then stir in the bittersweet chocolate. Spoon the mixture over the cherries and smooth the top.
Cover and cook on low for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, or until set up at the edges and very fudgy and pudding-like in the middle. Let sit for 15 minutes. Serve warm.
Nutrition information per serving: 640 calories; 280 calories from fat (44 percent of total calories); 31 g fat (19 g saturated; 1 g trans fats); 160 mg cholesterol; 120 mg sodium; 89 g carbohydrate; 5 g fiber; 65 g sugar; 9 g protein.
Alison Ladman is a chef, food writer and recipe developer for The Associated Press. She also owns The Crust and Crumb Baking Company in Concord, New Hampshire.
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Banner image: This Feb. 1, 2016 photo shows Chocolate Cherry Slow Cooker Pudding Cake in Concord, N.H. This chocolate cake combines the best attributes of brownies and pudding. The result is tender and cakey, but also richly moist and even gooey. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)