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Gooey Chocolate Skillet Cake & Ice Cream

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.



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


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
2 tablespoons
3-4 tablespoons milk (as needed for consistency)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
ice cream (to serve)
caramel sauce (for serving, this one is delicious!
whip cream (to serve)

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-Preheat oven 350 degrees F. In bowl, whisking flour, baking soda, sugar and salt and set apartIn 10 inch cast iron skillet, bring butter, vegetable oil, cocoa powder also water to boil.

-Remove from the heat and mix in the dry ingredients well. Combine buttermilk, egg and vanilla.

-Bake the cake in the pan at 350 degrees F for about 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs.

-While the cake is starting to cool, prepare the frosting. In saucepan, bring the butter, cocoa also milk to boil. Remove them from the heat and add the icing sugar, walnuts and vanilla. Stir to combine.

-Pour over warm cake, spread with spatula and serve with vanilla bean ice cream, caramel sauce and whipped cream.

Enjoy !


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