Ooey Gooey Butter Cake Bars

For the last couple Novembers, my husband's work does an Iron Man challenge, where employees have six weeks to complete the requirements of an Iron Man triathlon. This is a great time to exercise, eat healthy and lose weight. For him.

Naturally, on November 1, I wake up totally ready to support him by eating all the Halloween candy . . . and baking lots of new treats.

Let me tell you straight up: don't bother hunting for "butter" flavored cake. This doesn't exist. They have other flavors of cake made with butter. After much research, it seemed that French Vanilla was the right flavor of cake. Especially since I had a mix sitting in my pantry.

Paula Deen, Butter Queen, will tell you to use a whole stick of butter in the filling and the crust. I didn't think this was necessary. The first recipe I started with called for an 8x8 pan. The result was really thick--thick enough that a 9x13 makes much more sense. (The recipe also called for "1 butter," so, uh . . . yeah.)

Ooey Gooey Butter Cake Bars
(Wayward Method--combining 3 different recipes)

Crust layer:
1 French Vanilla cake mix
1 stick of butter, melted
1 egg

Filling layer:
8 oz cream cheese
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 lb powdered sugar (~3 3/4 c) (or eyeball half a 2 lb bag....)

Preheat oven to 350. Line 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper. Mix the melted butter, cake mix and egg to form a dough. Press into prepared baking dish.

Beat the cream cheese. Add eggs, vanilla and powdered sugar. Pour over cake layer in pan.

Bake for 45 minutes or until set. The top layer will look crispy crackly, a bit like a brownie's (though it's thicker in practice).

Allow to cool before cutting. (If you don't, the ooey gooey part really will come true, with the filling flowing into the pan. Still tasty ;)

Aside from the crazy recipe confusion as I was making this, it was super easy and quick to make. Baking seemed to take a long time, probably a function of how thick the recipe made it.

Once it was done and we let it cool just a little, we couldn't resist any longer. This. Was. Amazing. The flavor hit vanilla, butter, and cheesecake notes, with plenty of caramel undertones. Sweet, chewy, with a crackly top layer like a thin meringue. It reminded me a lot of everything I liked about chess or buttermilk pie.

I can't wait to make this again! My husband, on the other hand . . . he'd like me to defer until December.

Variations I've got to try:
  • Fruit pie filling (apple, blueberry) between the crust and filling layers
  • Thanksgiving-y: add pumpkin pie filling to the cheesecake layer
  • Chocolate chips. 'Nuff said.

Have you tried ooey gooey butter cake bars? Is fall baking time for you?

1 comment :

Just Jaime said...

Sounds really amazing, especially being super hungry right now

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