PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE SKILLET CAKE

December 9, 2013

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I am in love with my cast iron pan so anytime I get a chance to use it, I jump on it. Seriously, doesn’t everything just taste a billion times better in cast iron? I don’t know what it is–the smoky char it scars brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes with, the campy cabin-like vibes it exudes, cast iron pans are just all around wonderful. There isn’t much you can’t do with a cast iron pan.

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When I found this recipe on Willow Bird Baking‘s blog, I was instantly drooling. I had never made a cake in a cast iron pan before even though I had many intentions and dreams about doing so previously. Seeing how simple and easy it was to make this cake virtually in the pan itself (minus the bowl you mix your dry ingredients with first), I had to give it a go. Less dishes is always a major plus in my book. (I’m the laziest dish washer in the world. Luckily my man picks up the job because he doesn’t mind doing them. He does dishes, I fold the laundry. We’re even.)

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I decided to add a little pumpkin and cinnamon to the original recipe for a fall-like feel. Pumpkin and chocolate go really well together. The puree adds some moisture and sweet, earthy flavor to the chocolate. The only thing I would have changed would be a different frosting. It was way too sweet, almost sickeningly so. So I listed a reduced amount for you that might work a bit better. Alternatively, you could search for a ganache topping and that would work just as well. The powdered sugar is a bit much, although I’m not a huge frosting person so I guess I can’t be the one to judge. Anywho, go with your gut. Top this with some pumpkin ice cream like I did (or vanilla bean) and your favorite caramel sauce, and have a crack at it (with a partner or by yourself… I won’t judge) piping hot out of the oven. You won’t be sorry.

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Serves 4-6

PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE SKILLET CAKE

Ingredients:

    For the Cake

    • 3/4 cup flour
    • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • pinch of salt
    • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
    • 1/4 cup canola oil
    • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 3/4 cup pureed pumpkin
    • 1/4 cup buttermilk
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

    For the Walnut Frosting

    • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
    • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
    • 2-3 Tablespoons milk
    • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
    • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
    • ice cream (for serving)
    • caramel sauce (for serving; I really like this one!)

    Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, sugar, cinnamon and salt together and set aside.
    2. In a 10-inch cast iron skillet, bring the butter, canola oil, cocoa powder, and water to a boil. Remove it from the heat and whisk in the dry ingredients well. Mix in the buttermilk, pumpkin, 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.
    3. 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 pumpkin ice cream and/or caramel sauce!
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