Gooey Chocolate Skillet Cake Ice Cream Sundae

by Julie Ruble on April 25, 2012 · 237 comments

I was floored to see that Willow Bird Baking is a finalist for SAVEUR Magazine’s Best Baking & Desserts Blog. Thank you so much for making this happen. This is the very last day to vote for Willow Bird Baking! If you’d like to, you can do so here. You all are truly wonderful.

Gooey Chocolate Skillet Cake Ice Cream Sundae
Gooey Chocolate Skillet Cake Ice Cream Sundae

The only time I’ve lived away from my hometown was during my sophomore year in college when I moved to Beaufort, a small town on the coast of North Carolina. I lived there for a few months before traveling for a month down the Eastern seaboard to study marine zoogeography. That semester changed my life, and I’ve continued to process the memories over the years. Periodically I’ll share stories here on Willow Bird Baking from that time.

In a week’s time we would be sitting in the hot black night, lit by a strand of round bulbs on a bustling restaurant patio in Key West. Having not glanced in a mirror even once for days, I would be unaware of my white blonde hair, my dark sienna face. I would be blissfully aware, though, of the cool soda bathing my tongue in the heat. My first taste of sweet potato fries. The rolling beat of the reggae pouring from a club somewhere down the street.

That was in a week’s time. Right now, though, all I could see was the long 8 miles we were about to paddle to Camp Lulu Key in the Everglades.

Gooey Chocolate Skillet Cake Ice Cream Sundae

I climbed in the canoe quickly, trying to look like I had an ounce of a clue. Blair, not fooled for a moment, showed me how to move my oar and tugged at my lifejacket buckles to test their security. The rest of the group lumbered into our 8-seat canoe and we were off.

My eyes constantly skimmed the surface of the water, waiting to catch sight of the crocodile I felt sure must be following our canoe Tick-Tock style. The occasional tour boat would throw up a wake and I’d brace for the impact of the waves, frantically hoping not to end up in the mouth of said crocodile.

Gooey Chocolate Skillet Cake Ice Cream Sundae

Finally we arrived on the island — not that it was much of a relief. This was our Thanksgiving Break, but turkey was nowhere in sight. Instead, we were spending four days on this obscure island in the Everglades with no electricity, no running water, and some very skinny, solicitous raccoons. The boys were ecstatic. I was less enthused.

There wasn’t a comfortable spot on the entire island. The sun was oppressive, so we tried to retreat to the woods only to find ourselves covered in noseeums, or biting gnats. We tried to hide in our tents only to find they’d turned into ovens in the sunlight. Finally, we settled into the only tolerable routine we could find: spending a half hour or so in the Gulf until we were pruny, followed by a half hour or so in the sun until we were baked. We repeated this cycle incessantly for four days until we’d been bleached out like cow skulls in a Clint Eastwood movie.

Gooey Chocolate Skillet Cake Ice Cream Sundae

There were also the raccoons. The pitiful little things were hungry and thirsty, but we weren’t allowed to disrupt the ecosystem of the island by feeding them. We’d wake up each morning to the whispers of little raccoon tongues across the outside of our tents: they were licking the condensation up as fast as they could. More than once I considered “dropping” a quesadilla or two into the bushes, ecosystem be darned.

Then there were the bathrooms, or lack thereof. I’m not generally shy, but when it comes to announcing to a group of my peers that I have to pee, so would they please avoid this certain shrubbery, thanks very much . . . well, it was a bit much for me.

Gooey Chocolate Skillet Cake Ice Cream Sundae Gooey Chocolate Skillet Cake Ice Cream Sundae
Step 1: Eat some cake.

Every mealtime we battled the insects for our meal. Dinner was eaten in darkness, so there’s no telling how many gnats were ingested with our food. I just tried to shovel in each bite without thinking about the added “protein.” Even the dishes disgusted me, though, since we washed them ourselves with few supplies. Every bowl and fork I ate from felt gritty and germy to my overanxious imagination.

Finally, there was no naturally occurring fresh water and there certainly weren’t any faucets. We brushed our teeth with water bottles, washed dishes with water bottles, drank water from our water bottles. My OCD was on overdrive as I tried to ensure no sand or bugs got into my precious water. One night, consumed with frustration after trying to brush my teeth, I threw my water bottle down into the swash of waves on the shore. I was feeling very sorry for myself and cried a little under the cover of complete darkness. Darkness so complete, actually, that once I managed to look up, I realized that I’d never seen so many stars.

Gooey Chocolate Skillet Cake Ice Cream Sundae
Step 2: Stick some ice cream in that cake.

I called out and my friends joined me. Craning our necks, we saw what the sky was like with no light pollution whatsoever. It was awesome. Not like the pie you ate last night was awesome or like your new skirt is awesome. It was truly AWE-some.

A satellite sliced through the air hundreds of miles above us. After a night of joking, complaining, and storytelling, we were all suddenly silent.

Gooey Chocolate Skillet Cake Ice Cream Sundae
Step 3: Put some caramel on that cake.

Now I think back on Camp Lulu Key as one of my favorite memories. The stars are part of it, certainly (I still stand and stare up at them every night when I take Byrd out, hoping to catch a glimpse of the quieter ones in the breaches).

But maybe even more than that, the memory of discomfort is something I treasure. The inconveniences were small, but they were significant obstacles for me then. They forced me to grow, to settle, and to flex; they started building patience in me that God is still working on today.

Gooey Chocolate Skillet Cake Ice Cream Sundae
Step 4: Eat more cake.

When I compare my current self to my Camp Lulu Key self, I’m pleased to say that I’ve grown and mellowed since then. I can deal with a little dirt and grit. And as for keeping my dishes pristine, well, sometimes it’s nicer to forgo dishes altogether.

After my lovely experience eating Pumpkin Skillet Cake with Mike straight out of my cast iron skillet, I wanted a repeat performance. My birthday this past weekend was the perfect chance to indulge in a warm, gooey skillet cake sundae — chocolate this time, and with heaps of vanilla bean ice cream and a drizzle of hot caramel sauce.

I received many thoughtful birthday gifts (including a hand-baked cake from two of my students — how sweet is that?), but one of my favorite gifts was scooping forkfuls of cake out of a skillet with Mike, pausing only to take pictures of our escapades or for a giant gulp of milk.

Gooey Chocolate Skillet Cake Ice Cream Sundae
Step 5: Make a gratuitous animated gif to illustrate deliciousness of cake.

Have you had an experience that changed you for the better?

One Year Ago: Banana Coconut Cream Cupcakes
Two Years Ago: Coffee Cookie Dough Fudge Cheesecake

Gooey Chocolate Skillet Cake Ice Cream Sundae



Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking, based on the ubiquitous and absolutely delicious Chocolate Sheet Cake
Yield: 4-6 servings

This Gooey Chocolate Skillet Cake Ice Cream Sundae was my birthday cake and I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed it! It’s chocolatey and indulgent without being too rich. Eating the hot frosted cake with vanilla bean ice cream and caramel sauce straight out of the skillet has to be one of the most rewarding sensory experiences in the world. And it’s so easy! It’s really a must-make.

Cake Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
dash salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Frosting Ingredients:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
2 tablespoons cocoa
3-4 tablespoons milk (as needed for consistency)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

ice cream (for serving)
caramel sauce (for serving; this one is delicious!)
whipped cream (for serving)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt together and set aside.

In a 10-inch cast iron skillet, bring the butter, vegetable oil, cocoa powder, and water to a boil. Remove it from the heat and whisk in the dry ingredients well. Mix in the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla. Bake the skillet cake at 350 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs.

While the cake starts to cool, make the frosting. In a medium saucepan, bring the butter, cocoa, and milk to a boil. Remove them from heat and add the icing sugar, nuts, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over the warm cake, spread with a spatula, and serve with vanilla bean ice cream, caramel sauce, and whipped cream.

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{ 214 comments… read them below or add one }

Noey April 25, 2012 at 5:25 am

Can you make this without a cast iron skillet? Unfortunately I don’t have one but this cake looks AMAZING. Thanks in advance! :)

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 25, 2012 at 5:35 am

Hi Noey! You definitely can — the original cake is just double this recipe and you bake it in a 12 x 18 inch half-sheet baking pan. It’ll be delicious :)

Thanks!

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Noey April 25, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Thanks so much! I can’t wait to try this! (You had me hooked at chocolate.)

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 25, 2012 at 11:21 pm

Absolutely! I hope you love it!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 25, 2012 at 5:36 am

Or, P.S., any oven-safe skillet would work just as well as a cast iron; you’d just want to spray with cooking spray first.

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NayNay April 27, 2012 at 1:32 am

OMGoodness, Noey, you are missing out on one of the BEST cooking utensils in the world. Buy one now LOL, make sure it is seasoned.

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Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche April 25, 2012 at 8:30 am

This looks amazing!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 25, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Thank you, Becca!

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Robin @ Simply Southern Baking April 25, 2012 at 9:54 am

Julie, I’m looking at this just before 6:00 in the morning. Let me tell you, I could eat this for breakfast right now! This looks so yummy! Amazing!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 25, 2012 at 2:03 pm

I think it’d be a fantastic breakfast! :D Thanks, Robin!

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Lauren at Keep It Sweet April 25, 2012 at 11:29 am

This skillet cake topped with ice cream really does sound like a perfect birthday dessert! Love your flash photo to show the toppings:-)

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 25, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Thanks, Lauren!

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Cookbook Queen April 25, 2012 at 1:22 pm

I can hardly stand how amazing this looks. I want the WHOLE thing!!

HUGE congratulations on your nomination!! You totally deserve it, girl!!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 25, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Thanks so much, Kristan!

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Emily April 25, 2012 at 1:28 pm

This looks way too good! And great story…love those experiences that change us for the better and are still an important part of us years later!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 25, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Thank you, Emily!

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PapaLos April 25, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Amazing story! It’s moments like those that really define who you were, are and will be for the rest of your life. Really inspirational.

And the cake looks awesome too. With my birthday being tomorrow I think I may give myself the same gift.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 25, 2012 at 2:06 pm

I hope you will! HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you!!

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PapaLos @ The Man, The Chef, The Dad April 25, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Thank you!!

If I come back from the dentist today with no bad news I think this will totally get made in celebration.

Voted for you too. Good luck!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 25, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Oh, goodness, you definitely need a treat after the dentist! Thank you :)

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Mike April 25, 2012 at 1:45 pm

That looks delicious!

Went and registered and voted f/ you.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 25, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Thank you so much!

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PapaLos @ The Man, The Chef, The Dad April 25, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Pinned this and got 39 repins in 20 minutes. Good job :)

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 25, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Hooray! Love Pinterest :)

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Lindsey April 25, 2012 at 3:18 pm

OH MY WORD! That looks INCREDIBILE!!! I would have to leave the pecans out but the rest of it sounds amazing! Thank you for sharing!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 25, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Thank you, Lindsey!

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lynn @ the actor's diet April 25, 2012 at 4:22 pm

i’m inspired to invite a bunch of friends over to eat cake out of my cast iron pan now!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 25, 2012 at 5:38 pm

I hope you will!! ;) Thanks, Lynn!

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Laura April 25, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Julie, you are such an amazing writer! You are a great storyteller and I have come to look forward to your posts! This one was quite inspirational! As for that cake…man….I might have to make it tonight! It looks ammmazing!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 25, 2012 at 5:38 pm

Aw, thank you so much, Laura!! That is so sweet of you to say. Hope you love the cake!

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Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen April 25, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Voted for you! Good luck!

This cake looks amazing!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 25, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Thank you so much, Maggie!

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Maria April 25, 2012 at 10:44 pm

I just made a similar skillet dessert. They are the BEST! Can’t wait to try this cake!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 25, 2012 at 10:53 pm

I know, I just LOVE skillet cakes! I first saw them as a skillet chocolate chip cookie cake and KNEW I had to make a billion versions ASAP! LOL. Thanks, Maria!

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Spencer April 26, 2012 at 4:04 am

What a wonderful creation! I could so eat that all in one go.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 26, 2012 at 10:46 am

Thank you, Spencer!

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Renee @ Tortillas and Honey April 26, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Wow, that looks absolutely incredible. The ice cream in the center makes it look like I could eat the entire thing… well, I probably could haha. Thanks for sharing!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 26, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Mike and I definitely ate the whole thing by ourselves! LOL. Thanks, Renee!

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Myra April 26, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Is the flour plain or self rising?

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 26, 2012 at 6:28 pm

It’s plain all-purpose flour.

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Lisa April 26, 2012 at 8:39 pm

What is icing sugar? I enjoyed reading your story!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 27, 2012 at 4:06 am

Thank you, Lisa! Icing sugar is confectioners’ or powdered sugar.

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Diane April 26, 2012 at 8:42 pm

This is the perfect dish to serve for all the prom kids coming to my house. But I would love to make individual baked servings. Any thoughts?

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 26, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Diane, Chocolate is a weird beast and when baked in different vessels, can produce anomalies (think hills and valleys!)

What I might do is bake the original half sheet cake and then plate it into individual dishes with ice cream! You could also try baking in ramekins, but you’d need to reduce the time quite a bit — and I’d do a test run just in case!

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Kalista April 26, 2012 at 8:44 pm

What is icing sugar?

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 26, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Icing sugar is also called confectioners’ or powdered sugar.

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BrianaG April 26, 2012 at 10:23 pm

I am wondering what exactly is icing sugar? Is it just powered sugar??

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 26, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Yep, same thing!

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Olga April 26, 2012 at 10:46 pm

This looks amazing and I can’t wait to make it. I have a 12 inch cast iron skillet that is 2 inches deep. Can I double this recipe? Since I am feeding lots of young adult men, I need a larger quantity.
Thanks!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 27, 2012 at 12:59 am

I think doubling it MIGHT produce too much batter for a 12-inch skillet. Maybe you could 1 1/2 it? (to 1/2 an egg, lightly beat it and then discard half, or a couple tablespoons of it).

Alternatively, you could do the original half sheet cake version with it doubled! http://willowbirdbaking.com/2010/03/18/chocolate-sheet-cake/

Hope that helps!

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Brandy April 27, 2012 at 2:28 am

I can’t wait to try this! Looks amazing! PS… I live about 30 minutes from Beaufort! =)

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 27, 2012 at 4:07 am

Aw, Brandy, say hello to Pivers Island for me! And Cape Lookout! And the Shackleford horses! And, and, and…!

Thank you :)

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Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe April 27, 2012 at 3:59 am

I can think of nothing better than enjoying a delicious chocolate cake straight out of the pan with someone you love on your birthday. I hope the rest of your birthday was just as lovely as that moment. Happy belated birthday Julie!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 27, 2012 at 4:07 am

Aw, thank you, Amanda! It really was! It’s one of the best birthdays I remember :)

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Valerie @ From Valerie's Kitchen April 27, 2012 at 4:35 am

Good Gosh Almighty! Are you trying to kill us? This is a beautiful thing :)

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 27, 2012 at 4:36 am

Why thank you! I sure hope you don’t die ;) Thanks, Valerie!

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Javelin Warrior April 27, 2012 at 4:53 am

Huge congrats on making the Saveur finalist list and with your beautiful creations, it’s no surprise to me. This skillet cake is no exception – amazing. I am featuring this post in today’s Friday Food Fetish roundup (with a link-back and attribution), but please let me know if you have any objections. It’s always a pleasure to be following your creations…

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 27, 2012 at 4:56 am

Thank you! :)

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Riley April 27, 2012 at 5:26 am

Wow!! This looks absolutely decadent! Great pictures and thanks for the recipe : )

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 27, 2012 at 5:37 am

Thank you, Riley! :)

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Natasha D. April 27, 2012 at 4:15 pm

This recipe sounds perfect! I love that it’s not too rich and the ice cream with it looks so good. I can’t wait to try it. :)

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 27, 2012 at 4:16 pm

I hope you love it, Natasha! Thank you!

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Lori @ RecipeGirl April 28, 2012 at 5:11 am

What a delicious and sinful treat! Must make! Soon!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 28, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Thank you, Lori!

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Kajal April 28, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Hello Julie! This looks so delish i want to go bake NOW! love how chocolaty it looks. i have never baked in my iron skillet prior to seeing this beautiful thing, and now i’m hellbent on doing it. like now! Thanks for sharing! and i’ve voted for you, i hope you win! :) Cheers!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 28, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Thank you, Kajal! I hope you love it!

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Deanna April 28, 2012 at 5:51 pm

That trip literally sounds like my version of hell. I couldn’t do it. Or people would banish me to the other side of the island or try to kill me. The skillet cake looks amazing. If I camped I would totally attempt it camping…as it is I’ll try it from the comfort of my kitchen.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 28, 2012 at 6:18 pm

LOLLL, I tried to be a good sport but I felt about the same in the beginning! Now, believe it or not, I think I’d like to do it again!

Thanks, Deanna!

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Beth April 28, 2012 at 10:25 pm

If you add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to the cake batter, it is also known as Mexican Chocolate Cake.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 28, 2012 at 10:27 pm

Good to know!

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Kayleigh April 29, 2012 at 12:44 am

This looks great! Yum.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 29, 2012 at 12:49 am

Thanks, Kayleigh!

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Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes April 29, 2012 at 12:49 pm

I love that you started eating the middle of the cake first! It´s the best part.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking May 2, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Thanks, Paula! I totally agree :)

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Katerina April 30, 2012 at 2:34 pm

This looks fantastic! I will try to bake this cake for my and my partner´s birthday (we have it one day apart) . Glad I found your blog!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 30, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Thank you! I hope you love it!

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Keira April 30, 2012 at 6:24 pm

This looks amazing! I want to make it this weekend. Do you think I could half the recipe and make it in a 5-inch skillet just as well?

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 30, 2012 at 6:26 pm

I think so, Keira! Let me know how it goes! Hope you love it :)

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Kiera @ Sweet Kiera May 1, 2012 at 4:36 am

Get out of here. This is making me drool on my keyboard. Also I just voted for you on Saveur! I hope you win!!!! Miss youu!!!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking May 1, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Aw, thank you Kiera :) Miss you too!

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Carol Kizer May 2, 2012 at 7:07 pm

I made this for my husband last night and he loved it! He said it was good enough to make you slap yor mama !!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking May 2, 2012 at 7:09 pm

LOL! Love it! I’m so glad he enjoyed it! Thanks, Carol!

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Esmeralda May 3, 2012 at 8:36 pm

This reminds me of a Texas Sheet Cake (one of my favorite cakes) but I love that it’s made in a cast iron skillet!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking May 3, 2012 at 8:41 pm

They’re one and the same, Esmeralda! The recipe is also called a Texas Sheet Cake! It’s everyone’s favorite chocolate cake ;) Thanks!

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Sasha May 6, 2012 at 11:19 pm

This looks soo good. I am thinking of making this for my husbands birthday; would the recipe work in a 8 inch skillet? I don’t have a bigger pan. Any suggestions?

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking May 6, 2012 at 11:51 pm

Hi Sasha! I’m not sure — I think you could just pour MOST of the batter in and discard a little to be sure it didn’t overfill and that would probably work. Alternatively, you can also bake the original version (see the Recipe By: field of the recipe for a link) in a half sheet pan if you have one!

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Linda Yockel May 19, 2012 at 1:39 pm

This recipe does look amazing. Does the frosting harden? I have been looking for a recipe with the old timey frosting that does harden a bit. I don’t really care for the milk chocolate creamy frostings.
Thanks

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking May 19, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Hi Linda! Let’s see if I can describe this: the frosting sets, so the surface of it gets dry and shiny, kind of like a glaze does on a cake. Does that make sense? If you look in the first few pictures, you can see the reflection of the light off of it because it’s set up. I think it’s what you’re looking for :)
Thanks!

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Linda Yockel May 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Thanks. I think you are right. I looks so good and I think I will give it a try.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking May 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm

I hope you love it! Let me know what you think!

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Aninas Recipes May 25, 2012 at 9:23 am

Stunning recipe, and the pics looks absolutely gorgeous! Happy Cooking!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking May 25, 2012 at 11:06 am

Thanks, Anina!

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RecipeNewZ May 31, 2012 at 1:01 am

I found this post though Pinterest. The photo was so beautiful that I
just had to come here to read the recipe! Love it! And love your site
:-).

I would like to invite you to share this post (and other posts :-) )
on a new photo based recipe sharing site that launched this month. The
idea is simple: all recipe photographs are published within minutes of
submission. And, of course, the images link back to the author’s site.

It’s called RecipeNewZ (with Z) – http://recipenewz.com

I hope you get a chance to visit and to share some of your delicious
posts with our viewers. It would be a pleasure to have you on board
:-)

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking May 31, 2012 at 1:05 am

Thank you! I’ll check it out.

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Francie Van Wirkus May 31, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Hi Julie.

A house full of athletes and we cannot seem to shake our chocolate cravings. I will be pulling out my granmother’s cast iron pan for this one tonight! Then up on pinterest if it’s as great as it looks! Thank you.

Francie

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking May 31, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Hope you love it, Francie! It was a huge hit over here!

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Carole June 6, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Do you think this recipe can be adapted to bake in a campfire?

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking June 6, 2012 at 5:02 pm

I’m sure it could, but I’m clueless when it comes to campfire cooking! I think it’d be a good recipe to start with, though!

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Arlinda June 12, 2012 at 2:21 pm

found recipe on Pinterest and came here for that. I started reading about your trip and thoroughly enjoyed it. You got me first by cooking in cast iron skillet…I was born a Southerner. Then I saw Key West and had to keep reading. I am a Conch (Key Wester) and have camped out on the keys as a Girl Scout. It is hot. My husband is a Conch also and I couldn’t get him to camp with the boys when they were scouts and we lived in Virginia. So I did it with another mother as crazy as I. Now to try this skillet cake. To be honest, the only desert I’ve done in cast iron skillet is Pineapple Upside Down Cake and it is great.

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April June 12, 2012 at 7:43 pm

I am wanting to make this for Father’s Day. Could you please tell me if you use self rising or all purpose flour for this recipe?

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking June 12, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Hi April! It’s all-purpose flour.

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Jodie June 16, 2012 at 12:33 am

I made this and it was amazing! Everyone in my family loved it too, and they are hard
To please, I’d give it 5 stars!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking June 16, 2012 at 12:35 am

Aw, thanks Jodie! I’m so glad you all enjoyed it!!

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Renna June 17, 2012 at 5:17 am

I’ve been making Texas Chocolate Sheet Cakes since I moved to Texas as a teenager, back in 1970 (funny, I’d never heard of it when living in Oklahoma). I’ve made it so many times I never need the recipe, and it always gets requested at church gatherings. Because it’s so big, I never make it just for Hubby and I, though. The skillet version will be perfect for us. Thanks for sharing! :-)

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking June 19, 2012 at 2:55 am

Isn’t Texas Sheet Cake the best?! I love that this skillet-sized version will be perfect for you and the hubby!! Enjoy, Renna!

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Joelle June 18, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Hi, I made this for Father’s Day, and my dad absolutely loved it. What a fun presentation & experience. When he asked for a plate, and I told him we’d just eat it out of the skillet, he was like “Really?!”

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking June 19, 2012 at 2:54 am

Love it!!! I’m so glad you all enjoyed it. Thanks for the chuckle, Joelle!

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Kids Party June 21, 2012 at 4:34 am

Chocolate sheet cake is my favorite. This simple and smaller portion will keep me happy for a long time.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking June 23, 2012 at 3:49 am

Hope you enjoy! Thanks!

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Angela June 25, 2012 at 8:24 pm

is there another option to using buttermilk.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking June 25, 2012 at 8:33 pm
wierzbaaa June 29, 2012 at 4:09 pm

I can only preheat oven to the 250 :c

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking June 29, 2012 at 4:16 pm

The recipe is in Fahrenheit. Is your oven in Celsius? If so, preheat to 177 degrees C instead :)

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Wendy June 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm

This cake looks delish! I can’t wait to make it for my son…he loves ooey gooey chocolate. I do have to speak up as a Florida girl though, we do not have crocodiles. They are alligators! I can understant your fear. I try to avoid all fresh water rivers and lakes in the state. I have been canoeing on the Myakka river a few times and I am always scared every second I am out there.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking June 30, 2012 at 5:00 pm

LOL! Wendy, I stand corrected! Funny, I just got back from canoeing in a (alligator-free, I hope) lake up here in NC ;)

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Helen July 1, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Quick question…what is icing sugar? Is that the same as powdered sugar? Can’t wait to get out my good ol’ iron skillet and try this for something other than frying. lol

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking July 1, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Yes, icing sugar, powdered sugar, confectioners’ sugar, and 10X sugar are all names for the same thing — a little confusing to have so many! ;)

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Maggie Hall July 8, 2012 at 7:07 pm

My husband, myself, and my two daughters are notorious for ordering the largest, nuttiest, chocolatiest (is that a word even? … LoL…it is now) dessert on any menu… adding ice cream and chocolate or hot fudge sauce (if it doesn’t already come with) and whipped cream and sharing every last yummy bite between the four of us. This skillet cake will allow us to indulge in this chocolaty delight at home. I cannot wait to make it. Thanks so much for the simple recipe!!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking July 11, 2012 at 4:17 am

Hooray!! This sounds PERFECT for you all! Hope you love it :) Thanks, Maggie!

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Lila July 14, 2012 at 2:25 am

Thank you for the recipe! It was really delicious and could not have been easier to make. I probably won’t add the caramel sauce next time but the ice cream made it just perfect. I will definitely be making this in the future. Thanks again.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking July 24, 2012 at 4:33 pm

You’re so welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed it, Lila!!

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Karen July 24, 2012 at 6:02 am

I grew up in Wyoming and my mom made this Texas Sheet Cake often. Our favorite!! Would it be possible to sub coffee for the buttermilk and milk in the recipe. My daughter can’t eat dairy. Thanks. The pics look fantastic. That icing is the best.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking July 24, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Hi Karen! Thank you! The buttermilk actually provides the acid that reacts with the leavener in this recipe, so the answer to your question is that I’m not sure. A quick google search tells me coffee is also acidic, but particularly in a chocolate recipe (chocolate makes everything a little wonky, chemical-wise) I’m not sure how this adjustment would go over. I say try it and see! I’d love to hear how it turns out!!

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Abby July 24, 2012 at 7:57 pm

Sounds great, but what is icing sugar??

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking July 24, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Thanks, Abby! Icing sugar is also called powdered sugar, confectioners’ sugar, and 10X sugar.

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Lolalo July 25, 2012 at 1:12 am

Eating this as I type! YUM! I don’t have ice cream to top it, but it is wonderfully warm, chocolate-y and just as good as it looks in the pic.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking July 25, 2012 at 3:49 am

Hooray! I’m so glad you’re enjoying it, Lolalo!!

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Connie McEntyre August 1, 2012 at 1:37 am

I can’t wait to try this recipe. I love anything chocolate and this sounds really good.

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Juli Anderson August 1, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Wondering if anyone has tried this at a camp site? Since it is cooked in a cast iron skillet, I’m curios to know if it could be done in a Dutch Oven, with charcoals underneath and ontop of the lid. Any ideas??

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking August 1, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Several people have mentioned wanting to try it that way, Juli, but no reports yet about how it works! If you try it, let us know! You should be able to tell when it’s finished with just the toothpick trick. Good luck!!

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Mary Ann August 5, 2012 at 10:09 pm

gotta try this one

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Rochelle August 7, 2012 at 4:36 pm

Oh my goodness!!! This dessert turned an ordinary Monday into a fantastic Monday!! My family loved it!!! My 6 year old daughter already declared this to be the birthday cake she wants in January.

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Mary August 8, 2012 at 1:45 pm

What is icing sugar ?

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking August 8, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Icing sugar is also called powdered sugar, confectioners’ sugar, and 10X sugar.

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Linda aka Mixed Kreations August 8, 2012 at 9:59 pm

This cake looks amazingly delicious. I definitely will have to try this recipe. Makes my mouth water just looking at it. I hope you don’t mind that I posted a picture and link to your recipe and home page on my blog. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe.

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francesca/kimiko kusumoto August 9, 2012 at 3:05 pm

goeey chocolate pan cake was good 10 year old did it by herself and cleaned up by herself debbie was a good receipe thanks lakeland florida usa

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking August 9, 2012 at 3:07 pm

I’m so glad to hear that, Francesca!! I love that she made it all by herself! (and cleaned up!)

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Nancy Brown August 12, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Making this tonight for my family! Sounds like a perfect dessert to follow grilled burgers!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking August 12, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Yum!!! I’m sure they will agree! Hope you all love it!

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Erin August 17, 2012 at 3:17 am

Made is tonight for my brothers bday. I can not explain how insanely good this was!!!! Amazing recipe. Definitely one of my favorites. Thanks!!

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Carla Tipton August 18, 2012 at 12:23 am

What is “icing sugar”….powdered sugar??

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking August 18, 2012 at 1:46 am

Yep, it’s the same thing!

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Jennifer M Bunker August 19, 2012 at 11:55 pm

My oldest daughter, 10 chose this today for her birthday cake. It was super easy, and delicious! The whole family loved it! Thanks for this superb recipe!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking August 20, 2012 at 1:34 am

I’m so glad to hear this!! Thank you! And happy birthday to your daughter!

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MissBlissMom August 31, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Can you do this over a fire do you think? If I add a nice tight foil-made lid and top it with coals? Seems like a fun decadence while “roughing it.” Bring my hand-crank ice cream maker and go the whole 9 yards…

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking September 1, 2012 at 1:58 am

I think you could, but I don’t know what to tell you for baking time! Take toothpicks :) I hope it works! Let me know — several folks have asked!

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Chelsea September 1, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Would this work in an oven proof skillet?

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking September 2, 2012 at 12:10 am

Yes, Chelsea, but I’m not sure about the volume of your skillet — if it’s drastically different, it might burn or overflow with this baking time. You may want to just make the original cake (see the source link in the recipe) in a baking pan.

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Tammy W. September 1, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Saw this and was on the verge of a Chocolate attack, I will be making this as soon as I get back from the store getting the butterfly, the only in gredient I don’t have. I will let you know how it went. thanks a bunch for sharing this.

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Tammy W. September 1, 2012 at 7:29 pm

that’s BUTTERMILK not butterfly, lol

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking September 2, 2012 at 12:10 am

LOLLLL Tammy, I thought butterfly would be a pretty creative cake ingredient… ;) Hope you love the cake!

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eleanor September 3, 2012 at 12:09 am

I just make home-made choc. chip ice cream yesterday, am going to try this luscious looking cake to put it on top of…thanks…looks awesome.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking September 3, 2012 at 6:22 pm

That sounds like it’ll be just amazing, Eleanor! I hope you love it!

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suzanne September 4, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Looks & sounds perfect for a chocoholic like me! AND when I moved to Israel from North Carolina, I brought my whole collection of cast iron cookware with me – some inherited from my grandmother, so you KNOW they are well-used & well-seasoned! Now that I’ve read your Everglades adventure, I’ll go have a look at the rest of the site… including the recipes!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking September 12, 2012 at 12:18 am

Aw, thanks, Suzanne! LOVE that heirloom cast iron ;) Enjoy!!

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Sandra September 6, 2012 at 3:46 am

Try adding a teaspoon of cinnamon to the cake, it adds so much to the flavor of the cake.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking September 12, 2012 at 12:17 am

Fun! I’ll have to try this suggestion sometime! Thanks, Sandra!

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Wanda Cawthorn September 11, 2012 at 10:12 pm

This cake was wonderful!!!! It was so easy and just the right size for a small family.We all loved it!!!!! thanks

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking September 12, 2012 at 12:17 am

This is so good to hear, Wanda! I’m so glad you guys enjoyed it!

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Nicolas Raymond September 13, 2012 at 6:40 am

Looks devilishly good, thanks for posting and sharing the recipe :-)

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Opal September 20, 2012 at 7:49 pm

I am a choc. lover and this looks great

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking September 20, 2012 at 10:31 pm

thank you!

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Lindsey September 21, 2012 at 12:01 am

This is absolutely amazing !!!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking September 21, 2012 at 12:05 am

Thank you, Lindsey! :)

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mehrunnisa September 26, 2012 at 10:01 am

can i make the batter a couple of hours before and put it to bake when i sit down to dinner? i am planning to make this as a dessert for dinner. also, would not having ice-cream matter. it’s so cold here in london i was thinking of teaming it with a salted caramel sauce.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking September 26, 2012 at 11:05 am

With this batter, since it have leaveners that react immediately, I wouldn’t make the batter ahead of time. What I might do instead is make the whole cake ahead of time and then leave only the icing to make after dinner (quick and easy). While you make the icing, you can put the cake in the oven to warm for a few minutes. Feel free to leave off the ice cream — salted caramel sounds delicious!

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mehrunnisa September 26, 2012 at 12:58 pm

great! thanks. i will let you know how i get along. it looks gorgeous. and i love your stories. x

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking September 26, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Aw, thank you!! I hope you love it!

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Bette Davis September 27, 2012 at 1:52 am

I made this for dessert tonight, all I can say holy cow. it is fantastic.I highly recommend it.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking September 27, 2012 at 1:55 am

I’m so glad you thought so, Bette! Hooray! :) Thank you!

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Ross September 27, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Brilliant recipe! Love the rough and ready style of this recipe. We do lots of cooking over a campfire using a skillet and this recipe would work brilliantly. Simply cover the skillet in tin foil (4 layers would be best), place in the embers and cover with more embers. The embers act like an oven and cook the cake from both sides, top and bottom.. Gonna try this one out next time I’m camping. Thanks for sharing!

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Doug Sandquist September 28, 2012 at 4:31 am

Wow, this looks amazing! This should be a challenge to make Vegan and Gluten free!

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misty October 17, 2012 at 7:56 pm

what if i dont have a 12×18 pan. can i use a 13×9 pan?

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 17, 2012 at 7:58 pm

Hi Misty! I always use this chart to find pan conversions: http://allrecipes.com/howto/cake-pan-size-conversions/

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Jacqui October 30, 2012 at 12:57 am

This CAKE is the BOMB! If I want chocolate cake of any kind, this is my only choice! My favorite way to eat this cake…….is warm out of the oven!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 30, 2012 at 12:58 am

Aw, thanks Jacqui! So glad you like it!!

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Amy Sleeman November 17, 2012 at 2:48 am

Absolutely devine! Thank you! Since this was so amazing, I’m making your pumpkin skillet cake for Thanksgiving. I can’t wait!!

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Kay Blanchard December 3, 2012 at 2:35 am

Made this tonight for my sons birthday because we all Love chocolate, but didn’t want a lot of leftovers. This was fabulous! It was soquikb& easy to make & it is definitely a keeper.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 3, 2012 at 4:50 am

Hooray! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Happy birthday to your son!

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Altgold December 4, 2012 at 11:54 am

Sorry, but this looks like the ultimate cake and icecream-heaven!!!

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Sherry December 26, 2012 at 3:48 am

I just made this tonight! We make this in Tx without the skillet and its called a Texas
Sheet cake or a chocolate sheet cake! I like the concept of cooking in a skillet tho.The icing has
Always been my favorite!! Yum

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Darryl December 31, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Any suggestions for buttermilk substitution? Don’t have any on hand right now.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 31, 2012 at 8:49 pm
Lisa January 18, 2013 at 9:39 pm

I wonder what altitude you are at because every recipe I have tried of yours for cooking in cast iron has needed 10 to 30 minutes more baking time. Sorry but this was not chocolatey enough for us.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking January 18, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Hi Lisa,

So sorry you weren’t satisfied — this is the popular recipe known as Texas Sheet Cake, so I know many people enjoy it. It’s been a favorite of my family for years. As the note on the recipe says, baking in cast iron is necessarily not consistent because of the material, and you should expect for cooking times to vary; I doubt it relates to altitude.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking January 18, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Hi Lisa, I just realized that note is on my other cast iron recipe and not this one (it’s here: http://willowbirdbaking.com/2011/10/29/one-skillet-gooey-pumpkin-cookie-cake/). It’s a rule-of-thumb for baking in cast iron in general.

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Jayne January 31, 2013 at 10:09 pm

I read the title of this to my son and he said, “Don’t you mean diabetes in a pan?” haha. I have got to make this. I really need a good chocolate fix!

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Candis February 9, 2013 at 10:52 pm

I saved your baking website. Everything looks so yummy and I had to save them all to make when I’m able to. Thank you for sharing your talent..

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Mary Ellen March 1, 2013 at 10:08 pm

Has anyone tried this in a 12″ cast iron skillet?

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Jill Lake March 11, 2013 at 9:41 pm

I made this last night and it was BEYOND.GOOD!!! It’s a party for your taste buds. We ate it still warm after frosting it, with Moose Tracks ice creams and lots of caramel sauce. It was To.Die.For!!!! Huge perk- SO easy and quick to make!! Thank you thank you thank you for this wonderful concoction of blissfully sweet heaven!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking March 11, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Aw, that is so good to hear, Jill!! I’m so glad you all enjoyed it! Thank you!

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Vickie Lynn March 12, 2013 at 1:47 am

Sinful in such a good way.. Love all your goodies :) Happy day to you!!

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Shannon Downey March 15, 2013 at 4:58 pm

I haven’t yet made this, but I’m gonna this weekend. hope its good. you all have awesome things to say about it and I’m excited..

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kaykay March 25, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Can you use selfrising flour

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Marcell March 28, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Please email me the recipe.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking March 28, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Hi Marcell, It’s at the bottom of the post.

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Shiloh Barkley March 30, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Yummmmm!

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Cassie April 9, 2013 at 2:04 am

So I’m a little late in the game, but I pinned this a long time ago and am just now going to make it. I’m so excited! I tried reading your comments to find the answer to my question but there were a million comments – which means it must be good! I want to make this gluten-free, can I substitute almond flour for the all-purpose flour?

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Julie Ruble April 9, 2013 at 2:22 am

Hey Cassie! I hope you love it! I know that changing the flour will necessarily change the flavor/texture of the cake, but I haven’t tried it with almond flour and can’t say how! If you try it, please let us know! I hope it is fantastic :)

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Rae April 22, 2013 at 10:39 pm

Wow!! This cake is absolutely amazing!! I love my cast iron skillet and use it quite often, but I have never made a dessert in it till now! It was so moist and rich and overall amazing!! Thanks for sharing!!

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Julie Ruble April 23, 2013 at 2:47 am

I’m so thrilled to hear that you enjoyed it, Rae! :)

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Smo April 23, 2013 at 3:51 am

I’m buying the skillet to-MORROWWWWW:) ….. morning. It will be on thee
table that same early evening AND you can color it GONE, thankyouVery Much

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Monica h May 13, 2013 at 11:31 pm

Texas Sheetcake is my hubby’s favorite. I will be making this soon and he will love us both! :-)

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casey corbett May 20, 2013 at 1:15 pm

I made this incredible recipe yesterday and this is one of the best things I have ever ate in my entire life!! Loved it! Thanks so much for this great idea! Will be making this again and again.

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Julie Ruble May 20, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Yay, I’m so glad to hear that, Casey!!

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dayment July 16, 2013 at 6:54 am

Made this as a birthday cake this weekend! In the oven though, and doubled the recipe to fit into our giant 17″ skillet. Heated the oven to 350 then turned it down to 325 when i put it in – for 30 min. Timing and measurements doubled matched up just right. Served with ice cream and my homemade caramel sauce. Thank you!

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Karen Sher September 19, 2013 at 7:51 pm

I bought a 10-inch cast iron skillet just to make this! I’ve been lusting for this dessert since I saw the recipe. Can’t wait!!

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Sally September 26, 2013 at 3:01 am

This was called Texas cake years ago….made in shallow sheet pan. Have to try it in a cast iron skillet , looks yummy.

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Amanda B. Recondwith October 28, 2013 at 5:22 am

We’ve been making this sheet cake all my life. However we added cinnamon to ours… Love it. Can’t wait to make it in a cast iron skillet.

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Clarissa December 16, 2013 at 11:01 pm

My cake turned out amazing!! Thank you! I wish I could insert a picture right here of how it looks. Can’t wait for the hubby to come home and dig into it. Thanks again.

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Julie Ruble December 16, 2013 at 11:16 pm

Yay! That’s so great to hear, Clarissa! I hope you both love it!

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Candy February 6, 2014 at 11:11 pm

I made this tonight- WOW!!! I followed the recipe to a T (and well written too, had no problems following it)
Thank you for posting this and I’m looking forward to trying your other recipes. We’re snowed in here in the Portland area, so I’m catching up on cooking to ease the cabin fever…

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Julie Ruble February 6, 2014 at 11:15 pm

Yay! So glad you enjoyed it, Candy!! It’s my favorite :)

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Lianne February 26, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Looks utterly amazing, can’t wait to try it, reminds me of a similar cake that I make, I’m curious to try yours now. Congrats to you on the nomination. All the best. I tried to vote, but either I’m too late or did something wrong. Thanks for sharing your wonderful story with us.

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