Sunday, January 27, 2013

Let 'em eat cake! And see dinosaurs!

 I've said before (and will most likely say again) that I'm not the biggest chocolate fan.  I know, I'm not normal, tell me something I'm not already clearly aware of.  That being said, I'm not as gaga as I'm sure most are for today's celebration of National Chocolate Cake Day.

Since the food itself wasn't overly appealing I figured I'd have some fun with it.  I mean, pretty much anyone can make a chocolate cake.  Most people can even handle making a pretty decent chocolate cake without a box mix.  (Alright, that might be setting the bar a little too high...)  So in my search for the perfect cake to make, I looked at flourless recipes, double and triple layered recipes, recipes with multiple kinds of chocolate, but none of them really seemed like anything that great.  Then I found it - chocolate cake in the crock pot!

I can honestly say that I've never made a cake in the crock pot before.  In fact I'm not sure that I've even ever made a dessert in the crock pot before.  So I decided we'd give it a go.  It wasn't until I poured the batter into the crock pot and realized how deep of a cake it was going to make that I began to have second thoughts.  And when Grant then asked "how are you going to get it out of there?" that the slight unease ratcheted up to a touch of panic.  After a couple of deep breaths and a reminder to myself that the worst that could happen was that it'd be a crummy cake and at the end of the day that really wasn't important I decided to see it through.

The original recipe called for it to cook on low for 3 hours, but didn't state what SIZE crock pot this occurred in.  Choosing to be safe rather than sorry (because the top was still all liquid so I could only imagine what the inside looked like) I upped the heat to high for about 45 minutes and 'cooked' it for a total of about 4 hours when all was said and done.  I then left it alone and off we went to the Cranbrook Science Institute - Michigan's Museum of Natural History.

Overall, I'd say we were not as impressed with Cranbrook as we were with the Michigan Science Center or Imagination Station but it was still a good family afternoon.  They did have a really cool exhibit on the Deep Abyss which was on the exploration of the Great Lakes including a lot of shipwrecks.  Noah really enjoyed that.  There was also a fun little hands on project for the kids to make insects or spiders and I learned something. An insect has three body sections and six legs which all come out of the middle (thorax) section of its body.  A spider has two sections and eight legs which actually all come out of its head.  Who knew?  The kiddos enjoyed themselves and given that the whole museum was a little less hands on were really well behaved.

We came home to check out my cake.  I actually had to cut it in half to get it out of the crock pot but it came out relatively easily all things considered.  And it was mammoth.  Believe it or not, it actually cooked all the way through, too.  The reviews were mixed at best, which was more than OK with me.  The kids liked the taste, but didn't eat a whole lot of it.  Grant said he liked it but had better chocolate cakes before and the overall taste/texture actually reminded him a bit more like a brownie.  

Personally, I'm chalking this one up to a huge success.  I won't be rushing off to make this recipe again anytime soon, but it proved that sometimes it's not about the way it ends up looking or tasting its in the creation.  Trying something new and being okay if it flops is a bit of a stretch for me most days so I'm doing a self pat on the back tonight ;-)

Have to share a funny before I go. On our way to Cranbrook we were telling the kiddos about where we were going and Noah pipes up and asks "Is it like the Fartee Museum we went to?"  I'm completed baffled and look at Grant who rolls his eyes and says "Burpee Musem, Noah.  Burpee Museum"  (It's in Rockford, they went last November)  It took everything I had to bite my lip and not burst into giggles.  Gotta love 'em.

Back to school tomorrow!  Until then...

Chocolate cake mix filling up the crock pot

 Mikayla posing with a black bear

 Noah, Kayla and their insects

This is what it looked like when we got home

 Out of the crock pot successfully

It looks pretty at least :)


  1. Love the "Fartee Museum"! Too funny. Great mind! Cake looks yummy. I'd need some Hershey's on it, though. Love you.

    1. I dunno, there was a LOT of chocolate in this already :-p Plus Thing 1 and Thing 2 have a love of powdered sugar and will eat almost anything covered in it. I did reach for the chocolate syrup bottle though for half a second before I served it so I know what you mean ;-)