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.


Ingredients for cakes :
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1/2 cup of water
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanillaIngredients of the ice cream :
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
2 tablespoons of cocoa
3-4 tablespoons of milk (as needed for consistency)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
ice cream (for serving)
caramel sauce (to serve; this one is delicious!)
whipped cream (to serve)



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

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

As the cake begins to cool, make the frosting. In a medium saucepan, bring the butter, cocoa and milk to a boil. Remove them from the heat and add the powdered sugar, nuts and vanilla. Stir to mix. Pour over the hot cake, spread with a spatula and serve with vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce and whipped cream.

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