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Slow Cooker Apple Pudding Cake has a sweet, soft, cinnamon-infused cake with chunks of apples throughout. A luscious warm sauce forms underneath as the cake cooks in the slow cooker.
Around the holidays, we’re always on the lookout for recipes that won’t require oven space – especially when we’re cooking for a crowd. When we spotted this recipe for a Slow Cooker Apple Pudding Cake, we had to give it a try!
We adore pudding cakes – those serve-warm, super-moist cakes that bake up with their own sauce for serving. We’ve made hot fudge, lemon blueberry, and even sour cream pudding cakes before – but this apple version is going to the top of our list!
Why you’ll love Slow Cooker Apple Pudding Cake
- The soft sweet cake, tender chunks of apples, and the luscious sauce come together in one incredible dessert!
- It won’t take up oven space while you prepare the rest of your meal.
- It’s a fantastic option for feeding a crowd – in fact, we’ve doubled this recipe in a large slow cooker with great results.
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
- Tart Baking Apples – Choose an apple variety that is well-suited for baking and will hold their shape as they cook. Examples of this include Granny Smith, Cortland, Gravenstein and Macoun. While you can use other apples that cook down to a softer texture, it may create so much excess sauce that the cake may not firm up in the slow cooker.
- Apple Cider – Fresh cider is one of the main ingredients in the sauce and it’s a perfect complement to the cinnamon-infused cake. Apple juice can be swapped in when cider isn’t available. Other variations of this recipe use orange juice instead – but we loved keeping with the apple flavor throughout.
- Cinnamon – Both the cake and the pudding mixture are flavored with cinnamon, giving this slow cooker cake delicious, spicy flavor.
- Honey – Used in the sauce, honey adds both sweetness and richness. You could swap in agave nectar, but you’ll lose some of the rich flavor that only honey can lend.
- Lemon – The acidity from a splash of lemon juice in the sauce helps cut the sweetness and also brings out the tart apple flavors.
How do you make Slow Cooker Apple Pudding Cake?
- Peel, core and chop the apples. Place them in a bowl of lemon water to stop them from turning brown while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
- Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add pieces of cold butter and mix to form coarse crumbs.
- Stir in milk, vanilla and some of the apples to create a batter.
- Pour the batter into the crockpot, then sprinkle the rest of the apples on top.
- Combine melted butter, apple cider, lemon juice, honey, sugar and cinnamon in a saucepan and heat, stirring until the sugar and honey have melted.
- Pour the apple cider mixture over the apple and cake batter.
- Slow Cook on high heat for 3 hours or so – until the apples are tender and the cake is puffing up a bit, if you look below the apples. Additionally, you’ll see a liquid sauce at the bottom – this thickens as you serve it and it cools slightly.
- Serve warm, right out of the crockpot, with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top.
Chef’s Note –
The photos in the slower cooker below show a double recipe made in a larger, 7-quart slow cooker. The cooking time was closer to 4 hours.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I store the leftovers? After cooling, we typically cover the crock with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator – so as not to disturb the pudding on the bottom.
How do I reheat the leftovers? We find that spooning out individual portions and reheating those in the microwave works best.
Disclosure: This recipe was gently adapted from The Kitchen is My Playground. We added more apples and vanilla extract to the cake, and bumped up the cinnamon as well.
You might like these other apple desserts:
- Apple Custard Pie
- Cream Cheese Apple Cake
- Fresh Apple Torte
- Apple Cider Doughnut Holes
- Apple Chunkies
- Slow Cooker Apple Crisp
4 medium-sized tart apples, peeled, cored and chopped into ½-inch size pieces
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Non-stick cooking spray
2 tablespoon butter, melted
1 ½ cups apple cider or apple juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup honey
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream, or whipped cream
Spray the crock of a 4 or 5-quart slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
Peel, core and chop the apples, keeping them in a bowl of lemon water once chopped to prevent oxidation.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
Cut the butter into small pieces, then sprinkle over the flour mixture. Use a pastry cutter or two forks and mix the butter into the flour, forming coarse crumbs. (You can also use your hands but try to avoid over working the crumb mixture, as the heat from your hands will soften the butter, resulting in a cake that is dense.)
Stir the milk and vanilla extract into the flour mixture, mixing until just moistened. (Again, be sure not to over mix.)
Drain the chopped apples well, blotting with a paper towel if necessary to remove any excess water. Add about one-third of the apples to the batter and stir just enough to disperse throughout the batter.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared slow cooker crock. Top with the remaining drained apple, spreading evenly over the top.
To make the sauce/pudding mixture, melt the butter in a medium sauce pan. Add apple cider, lemon juice, honey, granulated sugar and cinnamon to the pan and stir to combine, continuing to heat until the sugar and honey are dissolved.
Pour the sauce mixture over the apples and cake batter. Do not stir, and don’t worry if the apples are floating in the liquid.
Cover and cook on high for 2 ½ to 3 hours, or until apples are tender and the cake has started to puff up under the apples. Below, you’ll see a liquidy sauce – that will thicken as it is served spooned over the top of the cake.
Serve right out of the crockpot, still warm, with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top.
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