A cast iron skillet is one of the most versatile (and misunderstood) pieces of cookware around. I use mine for any number of tasks, from searing steaks and sautéing vegetables to frying chicken. But cast iron isn’t just for savory dishes—it also makes a perfect vessel for baking all sorts of desserts. There’s no better way to get a crispy edge on a giant cookie or caramelize the fruit for an upside down cake. From an easy chocolate cake and plum cobbler to kanafeh, we’ve rounded up 13 of our favorite cast iron skillet desserts.
One quick tip: to ensure that your baked goods don’t stick, use a properly seasoned pan. Seasoning cast iron is easy, and we have a handy guide to help you out.
This chocolate cake is perfect for a weeknight because it’s not just baked in a skillet, but mixed in the skillet, too—no whipping, creaming, or beating required. Acidic coffee and brown sugar help the cake rise, while Dutch cocoa powder and dark chocolate give it an intense flavor.
Hummingbird cake is a classic Southern centerpiece that we transform here into an easy skillet cake. It might look like carrot cake, but it gets a tropical twist from pineapple and banana. Our recipe calls for puréeing the fruit to maximize its flavor.
Chocolate chip skillet cookies have something for everyone—they bake up with a brownie-like softness in the middle and get crispy and chewy at the edges. We like to make our chocolate chip cookies with a mixture of white, dark, and milk chocolate. Whichever kind you pick, make sure to buy bar chocolate and chop it at home instead of using commercial chips.
This isn’t your typical coffee cake—it has the crispy streusel topping of a coffee cake, but also the color and flavor of pumpkin pie, the richness of a blondie, and the heartiness of a muffin. Pro-tip: This cake will taste delicious made with butternut squash purée instead of pumpkin.
Don’t let the name fool you—custardy German pancakes are definitely decadent enough for dessert. We make ours with a ton of Granny Smith apples, which are firm enough to not totally disintegrate and tart enough to stand up to the vanilla-scented batter.
This dessert is all about good fresh blueberries, which we broil to intensify their flavor and then perk up with a little lime juice. We serve the broiled blueberries on a graham cracker crust, with a thin layer of cream cheese acting as a barrier to keep the crust from getting soggy with berry juice.
One of the biggest challenges in baking blueberry muffins is preventing the berries from sinking to the bottom. In this recipe we give up fighting gravity and let the fruit cook down into one thick, jammy layer. Fresh blueberries will have the best flavor and break down a little less than frozen ones, but frozen berries work fine.
Forget the canned stuff—we make our pineapple upside down cake with fresh pineapple that cooks into a gooey, caramelized topping for a moist, buttery cake. Don’t forget to let the cake cool for about five minutes before trying to invert it onto a serving plate.
This moderately sweet cake is appropriate for either breakfast or dessert. We make it with fresh plums and use browned butter to give the cake a nutty flavor. If you’re serving this in the evening you might want to add on a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Cobbler is one of my favorite easy desserts. Just about the only way you can mess it up is cutting the fruit too thin—you want thick chunks of plum that will maintain their structure as they bake. This cobbler is gluten-free thanks to a mix of sorghum flour and sweet rice flour.
Clafoutis is an old-school French dessert that manages to be rustic and elegant at the same time. All you have to do to make it is pour a simple egg, milk, sugar, and flour batter onto cherries and bake. Some people swear that the flavor is better if you use pit-in cherries, but we don’t think it’s worth the risk of a broken tooth.
Growing up in a Palestinian-American household my favorite dessert was baklava, but I wouldn’t say no to kanafeh—stretchy, gooey cheese covered in shredded phyllo and bathed in syrup. My grandmother made it with briny nablusi cheese, but stretchy mozzarella works too.
Biscuits aren’t much of a dessert on their own, but there are lots of ways to turn them into sweet treats. Strawberry shortcake is the obvious choice, but these buttery sweet potato biscuits would be killer with brown sugar whipped cream.
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