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Scratch Gooey Butter Cake

Patricia Reitz

I'm so excited to be joining the Secret Recipe Club for the very first time this month.  What's the Secret Recipe Club?  Basically, it's a once-a-month blog hop party for food bloggers - each month, participants are assigned another member's blog where they secretly spend time perusing the assigned blog, pick a recipe, make it, write a blog post about it, and then everyone reveals their secret by publishing their posts at the same time.  

My first assigned blog - Sweetly Serendipity by Taryn.  This is a girl after my own heart - she loves all food, but baking is her passion and she proudly proclaims, "I'm all about the sugar" :).  Oh boy, something tells me she and I would have a great time in the kitchen together!

So, what recipe did I choose?  Let me tell you, it was not an easy task - Taryn's blog has tons of recipes dating back nearly 2 years, but I settled on her Homemade Gooey Butter Cakes.  I had heard about the infamous Gooey Butter Cake for quite some time and really wanted to try it, but every recipe I ran across called for the use of a boxed cake mix - not that there's anything wrong with that, but you guys know I prefer to bake from scratch.

My review:  Wow, these are some seriously sweet and buttery dessert bars.  I had originally cut the 9x13 cake into 2-inch square portions, but quickly decided half that size was best.  The cake puffs up a bit in the oven, but sinks down in the middle when it cools.  If you like crunchy and sweet, the edges will be your favorite part - if you like buttery goodness, the middle is for you.  Thanks Taryn!  I really enjoyed visiting your blog, and I look forward to following your kitchen escapades.

Items used to make this recipe:

Scratch Gooey Butter Cake

makes a 9x13 pan (serves 48 if cut into 1x2-inch bars)

Printable Recipe


Bottom layer:

  • 2 cups cake flour

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 large egg, room temperature

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

  • 2 tablespoons whole milk

Top layer:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened

  • 2 large eggs, beaten, room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

  • 16 ounce box of powdered sugar, sifted


To make the bottom layer:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and prepare a metal 9x13 cake pan by spraying it lightly with non-stick cooking spray. 

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and kosher salt. 

  3. Add the egg, melted butter, and milk; mix until it forms a dough. 

  4. Press the dough evenly in the bottom of the cake pan; set aside.

To make the top layer:

  1. Beat the cream cheese until smooth, slowly add the beaten eggs, vanilla, and melted butter until mixture is smooth and creamy. 

  2. Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat again until the mixture is smooth and creamy; pour on top of bottom layer.

  3. Bake in a 350F oven for 40 minutes. 

  4. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting. 

  5. Sprinkle with powdered for garnish if desired.

Note: When pressing the bottom layer into the cake pan, dampen your fingers with water to prevent sticking.  For the neatest presentation, cut with a serrated knife, cleaning the blade often. These bars are fragile - use a spatula to transfer them from the pan to a serving platter.