Crockpot Apple Cake

by Marykate Smith Despres, Salem Depot

I found it! A slow-cooked dessert! The cake is “baked” in the crockpot over diced apples creating a sort of pie meets cake creation that is incredibly moist and delicious. The cake itself can be made with either pumpkin or sweet potato and calls for just a little bit of applesauce to tie it all together. I used sweet potato for my cake, as did the blogger behind Finding Joy in My Kitchen, the cooking blog on which I found the recipe adapted here.

You’ll need:

1 3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup whipping cream

2-3 Tbsp butter

4-5 medium apples, peeled & sliced

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

pinch of ginger

1 cup pumpkin or sweet potato puree

2 eggs

1/3 cup applesauce

Grease your crockpot with cooking spray and line the bottom with diced apples.

Melt butter, 1 cup of brown sugar and cream in a small saucepan, stirring until incorporated, and pour over apples.

Combine dry ingredients. Add puree, applesauce and eggs and mix until smooth. Pour over apples.

Cover and cook in crockpot for about 2 hours on low. Test readiness as you would any other cake using the toothpick/knife in the center trick.

Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.




Creature Feature

by Marykate Smith Despres, Salem Depot

If you grow your own vegetables, snails and grasshoppers may be the last thing you want to see. But the fact is, these critters are resilient, and though I loathe them, I do reserve a modicum of admiration for their ability to hang on.

This grasshopper, for example, literally hung on to my car for the two mile plus ride from our house to downtown Salem.

He looked slightly less composed just seconds before:

And see that tiny speck on the faucet?

Need a closer look?

I washed this guy off my chard the night before and assumed he’d gone down the drain to perish in the jaws of the disposal. And no, it didn’t bother me a bit, because besides the groundhog that continually eats the tops off all my carrots and is in a class of villains all his own, the snails are garden enemy number one. I found this one on the chard, remember?

I woke the next morning to discover this miniature mollusk as whole as ever. Surprised and impressed, I transferred him outside to the grass and asked him to remember my charity and please eat from my neighbors’ gardens instead of my own.