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cast iron skillet caramel cake

Small Cast Iron Skillet Caramel Cake

Small caramel cake baked in a cast iron skillet and topped with an easy microwave caramel frosting.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 3
Author Cookie Madness


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 42 grams
  • 2/3 cup 85 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar 100 grams
  • 1 slightly generous tablespoon canola or coconut oil
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 1/3 cup plus 4 teaspoons buttermilk room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Caramel Frosting

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 28 grams
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar 50 grams
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter softened 28 grams
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt only if using unsalted butter plus more to taste if desired


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Have ready a 2-cup capacity (6 ½ inch) cast iron skillet
  • Cut the butter into small (about 8) pieces and put it in the skillet. Set the skillet over low heat, just enough to heat the skillet, then remove from heat and let the butter soften in the hot skillet. Do not let it melt. While butter sits, prepare the dry ingredients.
  • In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar for about 60 seconds or until uniformly mixed.
  • Add the softened butter to the dry mixture (leaving behind a thin layer of butter on the skillet) and stir with a heavy scraper so that softened butter coats flour. Add the oil and continue stirring until mixture is the texture of dirt.
  • In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, beat the egg lightly with a fork. Add 2 tablespoons of the milk to the egg.
  • Gradually add the egg mixture a few spoonfuls at a time to the flour mixture, stirring with the scraper until blended.
  • Add the remaining milk and the vanilla and beat with the scraper until smooth and shiny.
  • Scrape batter into the pan leaving at least a half inch for it to climb. You may have a little batter left over. Don’t be tempted to just pour it all in or your cake might overflow.
  • Set the cast iron pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes. Allow the cake to cool while you make the caramel frosting.
  • Gently melt the first 2 tablespoons of butter in a deep microwave-safe bowl. Add the brown sugar and evaporated milk. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir until smooth. Return to microwave and cook on high for another 30 seconds. Stir well.
  • Allow mixture to cool for about 15 minutes, then add powdered sugar and beat with a hand held mixer on low until smooth.
  • Add softened butter and vanilla and beat with a handheld electric mixer until creamy. Add salt to taste.
  • Icing should still be a little soft at this point. Spoon if over the cooled cake so that it flows to the edges and allow it to set. If you want the frosting to be thicker and spreadable, let the brown sugar mixture cool longer. For this cake, I like the frosting to be a little runnier so that it can be spooned over the top.


If using powdered buttermilk you can use a little less than 2 tablespoons (about 5 teaspoons) of powdered buttermilk mixed in with the flour mixture, then sub water for the milk.