Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Bars with Brown Sugar Meringue


Chocolate is my thing. You may already know this if you’ve been reading my blog for a while or following along on Instagram. I worked at Friendly’s when I was 16. Yup. I sure did. That was after a stint at Häagen Dazs, where I used to hand dip those amazingly rich and creamy ice cream bars into the thick and crunchy chocolate coating and then roll them into various toppings. Those ice cream bars are still my favorites. Especially when made to order. That first bite with the contrast between the crack of the chocolate shell and the creaminess of the ice cream…bliss.

Back to Friendly’s. When I waited tables there, I was always perplexed by the people who ordered plain vanilla Fribbles, shakes or simply vanilla ice cream with no toppings. Are you sure you don’t want a scoop of chocolate almond chip in there? How about a dollop of chocolate fudge? Really, not one little bit of chocolate? It seemed like such a minimalist existence. I would prepare their orders feeling a little sad for them and the chocolate joy they were missing from their lives.

I will say I have evolved enough to understand and appreciate the taste and flavor of vanilla more than I did when I was 16. A rich vanilla bean ice cream or cake is pretty decadent on it’s own. However, I still prefer chocolate. What’s your preference? I’m guessing chocolate since this post drew you to open the page, right?

This is a non-recipe recipe. I love those, don’t you? Great results with minimal effort. I prepared the bars on a whim for the Superbowl. The boys were having friends over to watch the game and I wanted to have something sweet for them in addition to the traditional game day goodies I made including nachos, wings and buffalo popcorn. I went into the pantry and found a box of Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake. I wanted to gussy it up a bit so I topped the cake with marshmallows, chocolate chips and a whipped brown sugar meringue.

So, here I am, pretty psyched with the result and ready to serve these decadent little cake bars when one of the boys says, “No thank you. I don’t like chocolate.” Say what? Luckily I had some other treats in the house for him. The rest of us gobbled up the bars. It was a little reminder to me that those vanilla folks are still out there. Chocolate Cake Bar with Brown Sugar Meringue

Chocolate Cake Bars with Brown Sugar Meringue
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
  • 1 box Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Devil's Food Cake Mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 3 eggs plus 2 egg whites
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350, line a 9x13 pine with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Prepare cake mix according to package directions and spread into pan. Bake on center rack for 10-12 minutes, until cake is starting to set around the edges.
  2. In the meantime, whip egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold in brown sugar with a rubber spatula until fully incorporated and the consistency of a smooth and slightly sticky meringue. Remove cake from oven and sprinkle marshmallows and chocolate chips on top. Carefully spread meringue over the top of the entire cake with an offset spatula, being careful not to mix it with the toppings and to keep the meringue as the top layer.
  3. Return the pan to the oven and continue to bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan before lifting out with parchment paper to cool completely on a rack. Cut into squares.


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