If you hadn’t already noticed, Christmas is officially upon us. My baking is finally done, grocery shopping for the big day is done and I am slowly starting to get things ready for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day meals. I am cooking for 5 this year, which – I know – is much less than some people cook for at the Holidays. But it is also much more for me than last year when we spent Christmas alone.
Traditionally, my family eats Ukrainian food on Christmas Eve and a standard “holiday” meal of turkey or ham, stuffing and sides on Christmas day. Since I’m one that likes to stick to tradition, I’m following that same plan. I absolutely do NOT want to be spending my Christmas in the kitchen all day, so I’m preparing as many dishes ahead of time as possible. This Slow Cooker Gingerbread Pudding Cake is one of those type of dishes. You can get it all mixed up, and toss it into the slow cooker ahead of time. It can even stay in there for a little while after it’s done cooking to keep warm. And, as an added bonus, this spicy, molasses-y dessert is exceptionally tasty!
I have made this cake many times, both in the slow cooker and in the regular oven. It turns out great both ways, so it depends on your schedule and oven requirements which way you do it. Slow cooker takes longer, but it’s hands off and frees up the oven.
When you take a look at the ingredient list for this cake, don’t be daunted by the seemingly long list of ingredients – they’re mostly spices, as well as a couple of duplicates like water and butter. This cake really is easy to whip up. You mix the dry ingredients together, then cream butter and sugar together and add egg. Mix in the flour mixture and water-molasses mixture to form a batter, which gets transferred to your baking dish or slow cooker.
Then the batter is sprinkled with brown sugar. DON’T forget this step! I did once. The results – though semi edible – were not good, despite all the raves from the people I was feeding it too. This is a dessert and it does need sugar.
Now for what makes the “pudding” part of the Pudding Cake. You douse the whole thing in a water-butter mixture. Don’t worry, it’s supposed to look like that. The water will form a pudding-like sauce in the bottom of the pan, that is basically the cake’s own sauce.
When the cake is done, either in the slow cooker or oven, it will develop cracks on the top. In the oven, the cracks will appear slightly drier, whereas in the slow cooker they will be a little wetter and “brain-like” in appearance. Don’t overcook it. If you’re making it in the slow cooker, turn it off when the cake is done, and you can keep in in there until you’re ready to serve it – up to an hour or two.
This pudding cake is absolutely best served warm. And although it is definitely good enough on it’s own, it’s even better served with a lightly sweetened whipped cream or your favorite vanilla ice cream. Merry Christmas!
Slow Cooker Gingerbread Pudding Cake
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (Use Dairy Free butter alternative to make this recipe Dairy Free)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cup hot water
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (Use Dairy Free butter alternative to make this recipe Dairy Free)
- Grease the ceramic bowl of your slow cooker. Set aside.
- Whisk together flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Cream together butter and sugar on medium speed using a stand mixer or hand mixer. Add egg and beat until just combined.
- Stir together warm water and molasses in a small bowl or measuring cup.
- Alternately mix flour mixture and molasses mixture into butter mixture until completely combined. Transfer to slow cooker. Sprinkle batter with brown sugar. The top should be almost completely covered.
- Stir hot water and melted butter together in a measuring cup. Slowly pour over the top of the batter. The batter and brown sugar will be completely covered with liquid.
- Turn slow cooker on high and cook for about 1.5-2 hours. The cake will be done when the top appears dry and cracked. Turn slow cooker off and let pudding cake sit until ready to serve. Best served warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
*Recipe adapted from Whitewater Cooks with Friends