Until a few years ago, I had never even heard of a dutch baby. That few years ago was a time when my partner decided to make on on a whim, to make more use of his cast iron pan. I remember having it, but I don’t remember much about it.
So, I decided to make one myself. A chocolate dutch baby certainly seemed like something great to eat with some of our latest batch of strawberries, at any rate. I was right, too; it’s delicious!
Did you know that a dutch baby is neither dutch, nor a baby? It’s actually American, and it’s actually a kind of pancake. It’s not made the same way pancakes are made, though. It kind of fluffs up and inflates while baking, and deflates into a denser cake when it cools after pulling it out of the oven.
Most dutch babies are also not chocolate. That was my first challenge, and it took a couple of tries to get a recipe right for it. The second challenge was that most base recipes I could find use a 9″ cast iron pan. Ours is 10.5″, so recipes need to be a little larger to accommodate the extra space. So, that’s what I made! A slightly oversized dutch baby, perfect for 4-8 servings depending on how much of it you want at once.
Two notes about this recipe. First, it seems a lot like the amount of butter it uses is excessive, but it’s mostly for greasing the pan and guaranteeing even a poorly-seasoned cast iron will release the cake when it’s done. I haven’t had any problems with ours, which isn’t poorly seasoned, but I can’t imagine you would with virtually any pan.
The second is that it really does benefit from having the milk and eggs be room temperature when you use them. The colder the ingredients are, the longer it will take for the dutch baby to fluff up, so it won’t get quite as fluffy in baking and loses some of the texture when it’s done.
You can top these with pretty much anything you want. I did a bit of powdered sugar and plenty of fresh strawberries, some whipped cream, and a bit of mini chocolate chips for the texture. Any fruit compote, any whipped cream, even just some powdered sugar would work great. I don’t think I’d use syrup, but hey, you do whatever you like! This recipe is for the dutch baby itself, not the topping.
Chocolate Dutch Baby
- 10.5" Cast Iron Skillet
- Mixing Bowl
- 4 Eggs Room Temp
- ⅔ Cup Whole Milk Room Temp
- ⅔ Cup Flour
- 3 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
- 3 Tbsp Sugar
- ½ Tsp Salt
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
- In a mixing bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt, and set aside.
- In another bowl, crack and beat the eggs.
- Mix the milk and vanilla into the eggs until combined.
- Add the flour mixture to the liquid and mix until it's combined and looks something like chocolate milk.
- Let this mixture sit, covered, for 20 minutes to allow the flour to fully absorb the liquid.
- Preheat the oven to 400℉ with the skillet inside, so the skillet is also preheated. Use caution handling this!
- Stir the batter to release any air bubbles.
- Add the butter to the skillet to coat the bottom, then pour the batter in the center.
- Bake for 18 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes. The dutch baby will be very inflated, but don't worry; it will collapse back down into a delicious cake.
- Top with your choice of toppings and enjoy!