If you are not familiar with the story behind Near to Nothing, please take 20 seconds to read it at the top of the right-hand column. This recipe embodies the spirit of Near to Nothing in that it is one of our great grandmother’s recipes and it uses inexpensive ingredients that should be in every kitchen.
The original recipe as made by our great grandmother is baked in the oven. I have more recently been making it in the slow cooker. I try to use my oven as little as possible—it is old, out of calibration, inefficient, and heats up the main part of the house. The slow cooker uses a lot less electricity and puts off less heat.
Great Grandma used water for the fudge part of this cake. Occasionally, I substitute the water with cream for a richer dessert.
1 c. flour
¾ c. sugar
6 Tbsp. cocoa, divided
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ c. milk
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1¾ c. hot water or cream
Vanilla ice cream and/or whipped cream (optional)
Grease bottom and sides of 2- or 3-quart slow cooker crock. In medium bowl combine flour, sugar, 2 Tbsp. cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Stir in milk, oil and vanilla until smooth. Pour into slow cooker.
In small bowl, combine brown sugar and remaining 4 Tbsp. cocoa. Sprinkle over cake batter. Pour hot water or cream over; do NOT stir.
|Brown sugar should be packed to ensure proper measuring.|
When properly packed, it should hold the shape of the
measuring cup when dumped out. The crack indicates
that I should have packed it a little tighter.
|DO NOT STIR!!! The liquid will form the fudge as it bakes.|
Bake on high about 2 hours or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Turn slow cooker off and set lid ajar to allow cake to cool about 30 minutes before serving. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream if desired. This cake is also great served chilled (I actually prefer it this way).