Fudgy Gluten-Free Skillet Cake (vegan, Paleo)

This fudgy Gluten-free Skillet Cake is a rich, decadent dessert!

Whole food ingredients like ground almonds, unrefined coconut sugar and almond milk are combined to make the perfect combo of cake and bownie.

It also happens to be Paleo, dairy-free and vegan but no one will care, especially when you top it with a scoop of (dairy-free) ice cream!

This post was originally published on Feb. 11, 2019, updated on Jan. 24, 2020, and updated again with new photos and a slightly tweaked recipe on Jan. 21, 2023.

Chocolate cake in a cast iron pan wrapped in a red towel, topped with ice cream with a spoon digging in and a messy ice scream scoop on the table in the background

two spoons digging into flourless chocolate cake on a table topped with vanilla ice cream

Chocolate vegan skillet cake topped with chocolate chips, in a cast iron skillet with a red towel around its handle, next to more chocolate chips and a bowl and spoon full of cocoa powder.

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Rich, fudgy gluten-free skillet cake

Obviously any chocolate cake is good.

But there’s something about a chocolate cake baked in cast iron pan that feels extra special.

Maybe it’s because the cake ends up with cakey edges and a slightly gooey center, so it’s like chocolate cake and a brownie all in one.

But this one is made with almond flour, coconut sugar and other ingredients to make it gluten-free, dairy-free and Paleo.

Plus it’s great with a flax egg (see notes below recipe) to make it egg-free and vegan.

And I know when you look at a 6″ skillet, you might think it’s way too small for 2 people.

Why is Paleo Gluten Free Guy so stingy? you might ask yourself. But trust me. The pan will be full of rich, fudgy cake plus ice cream (or maybe boozy whipped cream?) oozing into every nook and cranny. It will be enough.

 

two spoons digging into a vegan cast iron pan cake with vanilla ice cream

What you need for this gluten-free skillet cake

Ingredients:

Equipment:

Flourless chocolate skillet cake topped with chocolate chips and vanilla ice cream, in a cast iron skillet next to an ice cream scoop.

How to make this gluten-free skillet cake

Heat the oven to 400°.

Grease a 6-6.5″ cast iron skillet.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the almond flour, coconut sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, espresso powder and salt.

In a 2-cup measuring glass, measure in the almond milk and vanilla extract, then pour in the flax egg or crack in the egg. Whisk until combined.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until fully combined.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour into the greased pan, smooth to an even layer and top with more chocolate chips, if desired.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, until set on top and darker around the edges.

Let cool for 10-15 minutes, then top with vanilla ice cream (if desired) and dig in!

Or scoop into individual bowls and add ice cream to the bowls.

 

Serving suggestions

  • Melt more chocolate chips to make a sauce and drizzle over the cake.
  • Serve with fresh raspberries, cherries or any fruit you like with chocolate.
  • Top with chopped, toasted nuts, such as almonds, pecans or hazelnuts, for a bit of crunch.
  • Instead of vanilla ice cream, try caramel, hazelnut, coffee or even chocolate for a full-out, intense chocolate experience.

Healthy chocolate cake in a cast iron skillet topped with vanilla ice cream, with a spoon holding up a scoop of the cake and ice cream.

Variations/Substitutions

You can use unsweetened vanilla almond milk and omit the vanilla extract.

You can use any nut milk instead of almond milk. I haven’t tried oat milk but I suspect that would work too.

Want to use coconut milk? Then use about 1/3 cup full-fat, canned coconut milk mixed with enough water to equal 1/2 cup. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract when you add the coconut milk to the batter.

You can substitute cacao powder for the unsweetened cocoa powder.

Make ahead

You can make the batter earlier in the day and store in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before pouring into the greased pan and proceed with the recipe.

Leftovers are great cold (they get even fudgier) or you can reheat them in the microwave or a low oven.

 

Other recipes you might like:

Flourless cast iron pan cake wrapped in a red towel, topped with ice cream with a spoon holding cake and ice cream
Hot Chocolate Skillet Cake wrapped in a red towel and topped with ice cream with two spoons digging in.
Chocolate vegan skillet cake topped with chocolate chips, in a cast iron skillet with a red towel around its handle, next to more chocolate chips and a bowl and spoon full of cocoa powder.
Print Recipe
5 from 14 votes

Fudgy Gluten-Free Skillet Cake

This rich, gooey chocolate cake is baked in a cast-iron skillet and perfect topped with ice cream. It just so happens to naturally be gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, vegan and Paleo.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
resting time5 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: almond flour, almond milk, cake, chocolate, coconut sugar, dairy free, gluten free, paleo, skillet, vegan
Servings: 2 people
Author: Don Baiocchi

Ingredients

  • 1 cup superfine blanched almond flour (not almond meal)
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¾ teaspoon espresso powder
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup unsweetened plain almond milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 flax egg (for egg-free/vegan; see notes) or 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate chips (dairy-free, if necessary), plus more for the top, if desired
  • ice cream of your choice (dairy free if necessary; vanilla, salted caramel, coffee or hazelnut all work well)

Instructions

  • Heat the oven to 400°.
  • Grease a 6-6.5" cast iron skillet.
  • In a medium bowl whisk the almond flour, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder and salt.
  • In a 2-cup measuring glass, pour in the almond milk and vanilla extract. Add the flax egg (or regular egg) and whisk until combined.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  • Stir in the 2 tablespoons chocolate chips.
  • Pour the batter into the skillet and smooth across the entire pan for an even layer. Sprinkle more chocolate chips over the top, if desired.
  • Place the pan in the oven for 18-20 minutes. The center will look dry and set and the edges will be darker.
  • Remove from the oven and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes to give it a chance to settle and cool a bit.
  • Top with your ice cream of choice and carefully dig in, keeping in mind that the skillet will be hot.

Notes

To make a flax egg: In a small bowl, stir 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds (black or golden) with 3 tablespoons water and let it sit for 8-10 minutes to gel.
If making this cake for kids, you can cut the espresso powder down to 1/4 teaspoon or leave it out altogether.
Serving suggestions
  • Melt more chocolate chips to make a sauce and drizzle over the cake.
  • Serve with fresh raspberries, cherries or any fruit you like with chocolate.
  • Top with chopped, toasted nuts, such as almonds, pecans or hazelnuts, for a bit of crunch.
  • Instead of vanilla ice cream, try caramel, hazelnut,coffee or even chocolate for a full-out, intense chocolate experience.
Variations/Substitutions
You can use unsweetened vanilla almond milk instead of plain almond milk. If you do, omit the vanilla extract.
You can use any nut milk instead of almond milk. I haven't tried oat milk but I suspect that would work too.
Want to use coconut milk? Then use about 1/3 cup full-fat, canned coconut milk mixed with enough water to equal 1/2 cup. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract when you add the coconut milk to the batter.
You can substitute cacao powder for the unsweetened cocoa powder.
Make ahead
You can make the batter earlier in the day and store in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before pouring into the greased pan and proceed with the recipe.
Leftovers are great cold (they get even fudgier) or you can reheat them in the microwave or a low oven.

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2 images of Hot Chocolate Skillet Cake wrapped in a red towel and topped with ice cream with 1 or 2 spoons digging in.


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