Apple Coffee Cake-- made in the Slow Cooker

It's the Bunnykens dish set again! 

(side note: I really should take a run to the dollar store and get more unmatched dishes so I can post food pictures on the Internet.)

I really like baking in the slow cooker. 

I get it that this perhaps sounds a bit odd---- why should I bake something in the crockpot for 2 to 3 hours, when I can easily throw a pan in the oven and have coffee cake in only 30 minutes?

I'll tell you why. I'm bonkers.

I don't mean this in the clinical sense (although I'm sure some could argue otherwise), I mean it in the I'm always doing too many things at once and sitting around waiting for 30 minutes for a cake to rise and bake properly just isn't going to happen.

because the doorbell rings.
or the phone.
because the baby needs changing. 
or because she plays with a bottle of vanilla extract while "sorting" the spice cabinet and some spills and she licks it up and then her mom reads the bottle and finds out it's 26% pure alcohol and maybe-just-maybe over-reacts and calls poison control and talks to a really nice man named Michael who assures her that she's JUST FINE and that NO ONE likes the way that vanilla extract tastes and she surely couldn't have ingested very much.

or something like that.


That is why I like baking in my slow cooker. 

I like the wiggle room. 

I like it that I can whip up the batter, wash the dishes, and leave the house to run a few errands or pull some weeds in the garden. 

I like that I know that when I start to smell the baked goods, there's no need to panic---it's not going to burn to a charred brick. 

I like that I can hold a baby on one hip while I check the baking process without worrying that she's going to lean in and burn her hand to a singed nub.

The Ingredients.
serves 8

coffee cake:
cooking spray
2 cups Bisquick mix 

(NOTE: if not GF, you can use AP flour, but a mix will provide the fluffiest result--I used Pamela's Baking Mix. There is a new GF Bisquick, though, at most grocery stores)
2/3 cup applesauce
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2  apples, peeled, cored, diced (green is best, I had Fuji on hand)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg

crumb topping:
1/4 Bisquick (or Pamela's, etc. see above notes)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

The Directions.

I used a 4-quart slow cooker with the batter directly in the crock (stoneware)  insert. 

If you only have a large 6-quart slow cooker, that's okay---put the dough into a loaf  pan and put that into the stoneware insert. 

No need to add water, just put the pan in the crock.

Spray your pan or 4-quart insert with cooking spray and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for your coffee cake. 

Stir with a rubber spatula--no need to break out the mixer. The batter will be thick and lumpy. 

Pour into your prepared stoneware insert (or baking pan).

In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the crumb topping and sprinkle evenly on top of the batter. 

Cover and cook on high for 2 to 3 hours, or until the cake browns and pulls away from the sides. 

Uncover the cooker and cook on high for another 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

The Verdict.

This is a perfect coffee cake: sweet, but not too sweet, moist and crumbly. 

I sometimes will make the batter the night before and then scrape it into the crock to bake while I get work done around the house before the rest of the house wakes up. 

I also love making this during the day as an after school snack. It freezes and reheats (in the microwave) beautifully--perfect for a busy morning.

more crockpot baking magic! 

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at February 15, 2011

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What they say about this article

  1. yum! this sounds wonderful. I just found out that I have a wheat/gluten allergy so I'm going to be going gluten free. So glad I found your blog a few months ago so I already know there is so much I can do, I just have to think a bit differently about it.

  2. Yay Bunnykins! I have those from when I was little too! :-)

  3. I think you should put THAT on the back of your next book! "This is why I cook in the slow cooker..." LOVE it!

    I can just see her at her first AA meeting..."My problem began when my mom..."

  4. Your posts never fail to make me LOL! Thank you for another laugh (and delicious recipe)!!

  5. I think it is so cool and so nuts (all rolled up in to one) that you use a slow cooker to bake! I never would have thought of that one.

  6. Any idea what I could use instead of the bisquick mix? I'm in the UK and don't think it exists over here. What is it anyway? *LOL*

  7. Hi Victoria! go ahead and use a regular AP flour--it'll work just fine, but won't be quite as fluffy as it would be with Bisquick, which is a pancake and baking mix that has a bit of shortening in it.

  8. I love your explanation on baking in the slow cooker, Steph! Makes perfect sense to me, and the cake looks delish. And, hey, don't diss Bunnykins ... it's the Chinese Year of the Rabbit after all. ;-)

    Oh, and glad all is okay re: vanilla extract incident.


  9. Wow that's some story. Glad that vanilla was OK. Kids are so fast at getting into things. Mine were all over the place. I thought I was going to go insane when they were young. Who knows maybe I did.

    I like the wiggle room reason. Time to get my crockpot out too! I need more wiggle.

  10. Sounds fantastic!

    My daughter was the most oral toddler ever. (Okay, maybe not ever...but my friend with many years of preschool-teaching experience assured me she was one of the most oral kids she's seen.) I had to call poison control for her I think three times. It's always embarrassing, but they're always so nice about it. (And I suppose it's good to know that fruit-scented roll-on soap [it's STUPID to make kids' soap smell yummy!!] is really not harmful.)

  11. LOLs and Giggles all around! :)

  12. It is simply amazing that you are able to bake in a slow cooker!
    (PS- I'm sorry, but I laughed out loud at the "Vanilla Incident"!)

  13. OOOH...I bookmarked this and will be giving it a go! Thanks for sharing.

  14. This sounds so good! I also love my slow cooker, and should use it more often. Do you have one that doesn't get hot on the outside? My son's hand actually did get burned when he touched the top lip of the slow cooker. It was somewhat traumatic as it was Mother's Day and he was only four months (and a crazy only related by marriage relative was holding him, which I was uncool with anyway). 30 minutes later blisters all over his sweet little baby hand. Needless to say, my hubby and I were furious. Maybe slow cookers shouldn't get that hot? OR maybe crazy people shouldn't hold my kids...yeah, I'll go with that from now on.

  15. Oh, this sounds so yummy! I'm going to have to give it a try. I love the Bunnykins dishes too, I used those when I was little, now my kids do too!

    What I do when I don't have (or don't want to use) Bisquick is for every 2 cups of flour I also add 1 Tbsp of baking powder and 1/4 tsp. of salt. It should turn out just as fluffy as if you had used the Bisquick. I'm going to give this recipe a try using 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 AP flour.

    Off to the kitchen....

  16. Oh my gosh! I had those dishes! I used to eat cream of wheat out of the bowl, and loved getting to the bottom to see the picture there!

    Oh, and I love reading your recipes. You've made a crock pot convert out of me

  17. Just hopped over from Live Gluten Freely's Facebook page feature...this looks great! I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog!

  18. love your humorous writing! I'm going to give this recipe a go; I have everything on-hand, including the G-F Bisquick!

  19. Anonymous2/16/2011

    You are simply ahead of your time my dear!

  20. Anonymous2/16/2011

    I too have to ask your forgiveness that I laughed at the "Vanilla Incident". Sorry. It was funny... really! Now you KNOW that your sweet wee one is VERY oral. Will probably love ALL your food too... later.

    This recipe had been perfectly timed for me!! I have cases of apples I NEED to use, or make applesauce, or apple pie filling or... Hmm, I will have to look for your recipe on applesauce in the crock pot. I know YOU would have one! Right? Hmmm, (again) - [wondering to self] can I make apple pie filling to can in the crock pot...? I'll let you know!
    ~Mrs. R

  21. This sounds great, and looks like it will be easy to make dairy-free as well. Thanks for the recipes.

  22. Anonymous2/25/2011

    I recently saw a segment on TV with the advice "Place a clean tea towel, folded in half, between the pot and the lid of the slow cooker to absorb moisture." - and I came to the crockpot expert (that is YOU) to see if you have heard/tried/... this advice. What do you think?

  23. I made this over the weekend. Although my timing may have been a bit off, for a first attempt, it was really well received.

    Keep on crocking Stephanie!

  24. You're not bonkers! This is a perfect idea when it is the summertime and you don't want to turn on the oven because it heats the house up.

  25. Tried this today with the Namaste baking mix and it wouldn't cook through, even after hours and hours. So frustrated because the edges were delicious!

    Found some GF Bisquick (Kroger) so will try again.

    Anyone else have this issue? I'm sure I screwed something up but can't figure out what.

  26. Are you supposed to eat the whole thing yourself? This is so good! One note, you can never substitute AP flour for baking mix as there is no leavening in flour. The addition of baking powder and salt works great (or use self-rising flour). I did this cake with Ultragrain flour which is whole grain and subbed half of the butter with canola oil. 1.5 hrs in a 2.5 quart crock pot, then half hour without lid. Yum!

  27. fabulous! perfect for my breakfast, this paired with coffee--lovely morning! :)

  28. Rebecca2/13/2012

    I tried this recipe twice with All-Purpose flour and it made a dense brick. No one wants to eat it. If I tried it again I would use the bisquick or at least add baking poweder.

  29. We use our crockpot because we don't have air conditioning and the stove gets hooks in the summer! Thanks for filling my sweet tooth in the summer without baking cookies....have you done crockpot cookies ever?

  30. If you have to use a loaf pan inside the stoneware, is it ok if it merely rests on the upper lip of the crock and not in the bottom of the cooker? My loaf pans are standard size and will not fit in the bottom of the 6qt. oval Crock-Pot

  31. Hi Tracy,
    The pan is suspended? I think it'll work, but I haven't tried it myself --- you're right, in that some of the newer pots have very deep sides and a narrow base, and I can see how the loafpan won't fit in properly. You can also spray the crock and put the batter directly into it, if you'd like.

    if you give this a try, will you let me know how it works out?