Vanilla Skillet Cake Fudge Frosting

Simple and delicious, this Vanilla Skillet Cake with Fudge Frosting is perfect for surprise guests, or as an uncomplicated dessert for your usual gang!

Vanilla skillet cake fudge frosting


The recipe for this cake, kicks up a vanilla box cake into a delicious skillet cake, you’ll make again and again and with the recent flour shortage people have asked me for an updated box mix idea,

but let’s get something straight,

make homemade fudge frosting!!!

it tastes so much better than store-bought.

This fudge frosting will be the hit of this cake, whether it’s for every day celebrating, birthdays a fun you’re doing great cake, or simply make one to bring to someone you’re thinking of. No one in their right mind would turn down CAKE! right?!?

Cakes date to ancient times and were quite different from what we eat today. They were more like a sweet bread made with honey. The precursors of modern cakes as we know them were first baked in Europe in the mid-17th century. Skillet cakes are an evolution of those, one can almost envision the early American pioneers traveling with their multipurpose skillets and making do with what they had to make a sweet treat. Is that how it came about? Who knows? What is certain is the ease of making a skillet cake, and the flavors of this one will knock your socks off.

Fudge Frosting is the star of this cake, however, if you aren’t a chocolate fan, I have plenty of other icing recipes,

such as this versatile

Before we walk through this, a couple of notes:

  1.         This recipe is flexible, if you don’t have a cast-iron skillet, you can easily bake your cake in a Bundt pan, a 13×9 pan, or two 8” pans. You’ll just want to adjust baking times accordingly. 
  2.         You don’t want to store your cake in the cast iron pan, as the food could interact with it, causing it to hold on to flavors. Simply cut your cake and either place some plastic wrap on the cut area of cake or use slices of bread like this.
  3.         This cake is mixed right in the pan, so no need for extra bowls! Your dishwashing hands will thank you.

the easiest birthday cake ever

Let’s Get started…

Preheat your oven to 350°.

In a 12″ cast iron skillet, pour oil in and swirl the pan to coat on the bottom and sides of the skillet, making sure to cover all areas.

Add in the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, and vanilla, and mix everything with a fork until combined and smooth.

Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

You’ll want to allow your cake to cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes. You have the option of flipping your cake out or icing it directly in the pan. This cake can also be served warm or you can cool it completely.

Chocolate Fudge Frosting Recipe in a white bowl with small offset spatula

While your cake is cooling to the desired temperature, make the frosting.

Melt the butter in the microwave and add in the chocolate and stir until chocolate is melted. You can microwave it again if needed for a few seconds if necessary, 5 seconds at a time and stir well, the heat will melt the chocolate as your stir, do not wait until the chocolate is melted on its own or it will seize up. Alternatively grab a small saucepan, or double boiler, whichever method you’re comfortable with. Melt the butter on a medium-low heat, then add the chocolate chips to it and stir constantly to avoid scorching.  

In the bowl of a mixer beat the butter/chocolate mix with powdered sugar, salt, and heavy cream. Then add in vanilla, mixing until combined and silky.

Spread the frosting over the top of the cake using a spatula, taking care not to press too hard. Top it with some sprinkles and celebrate, you’ve just made yourself one delicious cake!

vanilla skillet birthday cake recipe from

A few options:
Can I use a microwave for the entire chocolate melting process?

Yes, but do so in small increments at 30% power (defrost) or you’ll burn the chocolate, as a microwave heats quicker and is much hotter. You’ll want to stop it every 15-20 seconds to stir.

What are my options for egg replacement? I haven’t personally tried them, but I hear great results form these options.

To replace eggs with kitchen items you might have on hand, I recommend:

  •         Vinegar & baking soda. Replace 1 egg with: 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon vinegar.
  •         Unsweetened applesauce. Replace 1 egg with: 1/4 cup applesauce.
  •         Plain or vanilla soy yogurt. Replace 1 egg with: 1/4 cup yogurt.

There’s also a powdered egg replacement product you can use.

Can I replace the Heavy Whipping Cream?

If dairy is an issue, Silk makes a heavy whipping cream from soy. It’s a good equivalent


Vanilla Skillet Cake Fudge Frosting

A simple vanilla skillet cake with small-batch chocolate fudge frosting on top, the perfect anytime cake, great for weeknight celebrating, birthdays, and more. One pan cake, no bowl needed.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 + servings


  • 1 box about 16.25oz vanilla cake mix ( I used Dunkan Hines)
  • 3.4 oz vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1/4 cup oil canola, vegetable or avocado oil I prefer avocado oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

small-batch chocolate fudge frosting

  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 oz chocolate chips
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract



    • Preheat oven to 350°
    • This cake is mixed right in the pan, no extra bowls needed.
    • In a 12' cast iron skillet pour oil in the skillet and swirl the pan to coat oil on bottom and sides of skillet.
    • Add in the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, and vanilla.
    • Mix everything together with a fork until combined.
    • Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
    • Allow the cake to cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes, you can serve it warm or cool it completely.
    • Make the frosting by melting the butter in a microwave-safe dish, then add in the chocolate chips to the butter and stir until the chocolate is melted, microwave it a little more if needed, careful not to overheat the chocolate, let the hot butter do the work.
    • In the bowl of a mixer beat the chocolate and butter with powdered sugar, salt, and heavy cream, and add in vanilla until all combined and smooth.
    • Spread the frosting over the top of the cake and top it with some sprinkles.


    This cake can be made in a 13x9 pan, 2-8" pans or a bundt pan. Adjust the baking time accordingly.



    1. I can’t wait to make this for my Husband!! I can already tell I’m going to have a hard time not licking the frosting spatula on Keto 😉. Ssshhhhh…..

    2. I was looking for a great fudge frosting recipe and so glad I found this, I really liked it and made the cake in a skillet too. Great ideas Diane!

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