one-bowl chocolate cake with vanilla-bean buttercream (gluten and dairy-free)

Okay, so the making of this cake came about at a friend’s request. I am not – nor have I ever been – the person who would, left to her own devices, make a gluten and dairy free birthday cake. I’ve nothing against either the gluten-free or dairy-free sweets movement, like nothing. But when I think about a sweet I want to make, I tend not to go in the what-can-I-“free”-this dessert-from direction, and tend to think more about with what can I encumber it: more brown sugar, more egg yolks, more heavy cream, etc. You get the idea.  
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brown-butter rice krispy treat skillet cookie

This is my first foray into the world of skillet cookies, and I may never go back, as there is just so much to love. They are fast and easy to prep and bake – particularly mine which is “one-skillet” (ie:  the ultimate one bowl treat, that you bake in the same “bowl” that you mix), they are meant to be eaten straight from the oven, when still gooey and warm and that is how everyone prefers their cookies anyway (or is that just me?), and the presentation is special, as you are either eating it straight from the pan with a spoon, or slicing it a la pie – and who doesn’t love a big ole slice of cookie pie? 
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vanilla bean heath bar coffee cake muffins

Although, I don’t ever recall my grandmother actually making heath bar cake for me, when I stumbled upon her recipe (see the photo below) for such a treat in her tattered, blue, three ring binder, there was no question I’d be trying my hand at such a treat. And I’m not even some crazy lover of heath bars. Instead, I’m just a sucker for a cake filled with candy. I mean, who isn’t? read more