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Spice Cake Gooey Butter Bars

by on July 8, 2008 · 25 comments

I’m taking Sudafed this week and feeling like the inside of my body is on top of my skin. However, I’m getting a lot done. In fact, I finished today’s baking by 9:00 AM, which is a good thing because by 10:00 AM it is too hot to bake.

So here’s a new recipe for you. These bars are based on a famous St. Louis cake called “Gooey Butter Cake” . This version is based on one from Paula Deen who uses cake mix as a base and says you can swap out different flavors. In a burst of Sudafed stoked creativity, I used spice cake mix.

They are a little on the sweet side for my personal taste, but I think other people will like them. My mom’s coming…..I know she will.

Spice Cake Gooey Butter Bars

Spice Cake Gooey Butter Bars (Revised!)

18.25 oz spice cake mix
8 tablespoons melted butter (regular salted)
1 large egg

8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
1 pound powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons melted butter (regular salted)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13×9 inch metal pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Mix together cake mix and butter. When moist and crumbly, blend in the egg. Press into the pan.

Beat together cream cheese and egg. Add powdered sugar and beat until creamy. Beat in the vanilla, then slowly add the melted butter.

Pour the cream cheese mixture over the crust and bake for 40-45 minutes or until sides appear set. Middle should still be very jiggly. Cool completely, then chill for a few hours.

Lift from pan and cut into squares or bars. Makes anywhere from 24 to 32.

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Published on July 8, 2008

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy July 8, 2008 at 11:55 am

When I was a teenager, my aunt told me and my cousin that if we wanted to learn to drink black coffee, having it with something super sweet was the way to do it. And she made Gooey Bars for us.

I’m not sure why she thought we wanted to learn to drink black coffee or if we even did want to, but it worked.

Katrina July 8, 2008 at 11:55 am

Do all the gooey butter cakes have a cream cheese topping? The one I was picturing from Paula Deen was just a really gooey cakey looking blondie. Looks good!

VeggieGirl July 8, 2008 at 12:05 pm

Definitely bribe the AC guy with those tantalizing bars – he’ll get the job done MUCH more efficiently that way ;0)

Kristin W July 8, 2008 at 1:09 pm

I am so with you, Anna. Our AC is *completely* dead. As in, we have to buy a whole new system. In Nashville. In July. In a 95-degree week. There is absolutely no cooking of any kind going on at our house. And really, barely any eating. Because it’s too hot to eat. It’s too hot to do laundry. It’s too hot to think. Did I mention that I’m hot?

Sweating in sympathy,


Ashley July 8, 2008 at 1:14 pm

Ooo those look good. I love bars and these look perfect.

Heidi July 8, 2008 at 1:15 pm

I will say a silent prayer for all those suffering w/out AC in the south, esp in TX when we will see our first 100+ temps this week.

My AC went out in a condo I had just bought once. It took 6 WEEKS and I am not lying to get a new one. They couldn’t figure out how to get a new unit up on the roof short of getting a crane. I took showers at the gym and slept at my bf’s.

Anna July 8, 2008 at 1:19 pm

Well, it looks like we need a new AC too. Ours is 8 years old, so this was coming. Our new one should be installed tomorrow.

Carole R. July 8, 2008 at 1:39 pm

I only have window air conditioning units and I don’t have one in the kitchen. If I ever get a new home it will have central air.

This recipe has been tucked away for a cooler day.

Brittany July 8, 2008 at 1:51 pm

I’ve had a lot of gooey butter cake in my time in St. Louis, but never thought about a spice cake base. Sounds great!

kimberleyblue July 8, 2008 at 2:00 pm

Sudafed generally has pseudoephedrine in it – I know I have a hard time taking it because of it (racing heart, etc), so maybe you should look into a medication with a different ingredient?

Those bars sound wonderfully rich and delicious. If it wasn’t so hot, I’d whip up a batch right now!

Cathy - July 8, 2008 at 2:26 pm

When it cools down here in Mayberry where it is pushing 105 – 108 I will make these. They look so great. Also might be fun to drizzle some chocolate on top as well.


Amy D. July 8, 2008 at 2:29 pm

My a/c guy came out yesterday…twice. UGH.

Anonymous July 8, 2008 at 3:34 pm

How could you go wrong with something called Butter Bars. They look delicious. I could feel my blood sugar rising as I read the recipe.

Sorry guys for the heat. Here in MN it’s a gorgeous 82 degree day with an awesome breeze.

bakingblonde July 8, 2008 at 4:44 pm

Those sound soooo sweet! Maybe too sweet for my tastes, but the neighbor kiddos would love these! I may make some for the community Garage Sale next week.

Claire July 8, 2008 at 5:15 pm

These are different looking but I’m sure wonderful. Hope you feeling better! I feel like I have a cold coming on (yawning feels weird but nothing else). Feed that AC man, he needs to get that AC fixed…no AC in TX is bad (just like it’s bad in MS!)

giz July 8, 2008 at 7:26 pm

I’m sorry you’re having to take sudafed – summer colds are crappy and then losing the a/c – the best part of your day was the bars and now you can drink black coffee with them.

HeartofGlass July 9, 2008 at 3:44 am

Careful about taking Sudafed in the heat–stay hydrated!

Only an ignorant Yankee like myself would ask this, but how many months a year is A/C required in Texas?

Heidi July 9, 2008 at 6:19 am

Required…well… I am sure there are plenty of people who go less, but for me – I’d say we have it on consistently late April through early October sometimes. Then there are the odd days in November, March, some Christmases, etc. I definitely remember some yuletide activities in shorts.

I spent two summers in MN and I lost all my tolerance to the heat. I came back to TX and was complaining about 90 degrees.

K July 9, 2008 at 6:46 am

Thought you would enjoy this article in the NY Times-

Anna July 9, 2008 at 7:00 am

Amy, it sounds like you had a rather eccentric aunt. However, she was right. I eat all my cookies with black coffee.

Katrina, all the gooey bars I know have the cream cheese topping.

Veggiegirl, the AC man seemed really hot so I just gave him water.

Kristin, see above. About $4,000 for ours. Yuck.

Carole, where you live, central air is not one of life’s necessitites. It is here. Sometimes we take it for granted.

Brittany, I’m not sure these bars are really much like authentic gooey cake at all. Next time I’m in St. Louis, I’ll try some.

Kimberley, Sudafed is the only thing that works for me. I’d rather be hyper and irritable than have ear pain and pressure. But I wait until the pressure gets really bad before resorting to Sudafed. I’m going to cut myself off today.

Anonymous, get back to me when it’s 100 below zero in MN and 70 and sunny here ;).

Baking Blonde, the neighborhood kids might find these too rich. It’s hard to say.

Claire, I recommend taking a bunch of vitamin c, but you would know better than I ;). LOL. I hope your cold doesn’t get worse.

Giz and Heart of Glass, I skipped the black coffee yesterday due to the heat and the irritableness. Probably a wise move.

Heidi, our AC pattern is similar to yours. As for heat intolerance, I think it gets worse as we age. I am more sensitive to it now that I’m older. I’m also more sensitive to cold.

K, thanks! It looks like they updated JT’s recipe with some good old bread flour. I’ll have to try that version. Haven’t read all the comments about what people seek in a ccc, but that should be enlightening.

Johnna Knows Good Food July 9, 2008 at 2:58 pm

These looks soo good…I want to try!

Deanie July 11, 2008 at 7:40 pm

I noticed that your version of Gooey Butter Bars uses 1 egg in the filling. I have made Paula Deen’s bars and her website shows 2 eggs in the filling. The bars are a little too “cheesecakey” for me. I actually had a small piece of the Gooey Butter Bars in Lady and Sons restaurant in June. It seemed more chewy and had less of a wet mouth feel than my homemade version.

Did you purposely leave out 1 egg in your filling?

Love your site!

Anna July 11, 2008 at 7:52 pm

Hi Deanie,

You know, I read that recipe 10 times and still messed up. It should be 2 eggs — just like Paula’s. When I made it, I made it with 2 eggs.

You were lucky to get to try a sample from the real Lady & Sons! Mine were definitely cheesecakey & moist. They were good, but I think I could improve upon them quite a bit with some work.

Lorree July 28, 2008 at 11:51 am

Hello! I have made a lemon version of these bars with lemon cake and lemon juice. They are so yummie but I love anything lemon. I love your blog!

Anna July 28, 2008 at 11:55 am

Hi Lorree!

Thanks for the comment. I actually think I’d like the lemon version better. Somewhere on this blog there’s a recipe for Easy Cheesy Lemon Bars which is probably similar to the lemon version of these. I just love those.

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