Gooey Butter Cake is a tried and true dessert classic, dating back several decades! So easy to make with very simple ingredients, it has a rich, buttery cake batter crust, and a rich, ooey gooey cream cheese filling that’s just amazing.
What is Gooey Butter Cake?
This simple cake is often referred to as the St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake or the Paula Deen Gooey Butter Cake, as it originated in St. Louis in the 1930s but was made popular by Paula Deen much later.
The discovery of this ooey gooey butter cake was actually a mistake, when a German baker had an oven mishap while making a traditional butter cake. That cake was a flop, but this gooey butter cake was the happy result. It’s been around since then and, when discovered and shared by Paula Deen, became a popular cake staple.
It features two layers – a traditional cake layer made with cake mix, butter and eggs, and a melt-in-your-mouth filling layer with cream cheese and butter. Some people refer to these as blonde brownies for the texture as well. Biting into this is definitely biting into something decadent!
Gooey Butter Cake Recipe
All you need is six ingredients to make this gooey butter cake recipe.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Boxed yellow cake mix: Just the cake mix needed, not the other ingredients listed on the box.
- Butter: Regular salted butter that’s melted.
- Eggs: Room temperature eggs are added into both the crust layer and filling layer.
- Vanilla: Adds flavor to the filling.
- Cream cheese: Softened to room temperature before mixing for a lump-free, smooth filling.
- Powdered sugar: The main ingredient in the filling, making it sweet and creamy.
How to Make Gooey Butter Cake
Not only is this cake super good, it’s super easy too. Here’s a brief summary of how to make it:
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for all the details.)
- Prepare the pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan, including the edges and corners.
- Make the cake layer. Combine the cake mix, butter and eggs with an electric mixer. Press into the bottom of the baking pan in a flat, even layer.
- Make the filling layer. Wipe out the bowl then add the cream cheese and beat until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla and powdered sugar. Add on top of the cake layer (do NOT mix the two).
- Bake. Bake on the middle rack for 40 minutes, until golden brown. The center should still be jiggly and it’s okay if the middle sinks a bit.
- Cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and allow to cool completely before cutting.
Tips for Success
Here are a few things I’ve found helpful in making this gooey butter cake a few times:
• Don’t over-bake. Check 10 minutes before it’s supposed to be done. The center should still be jiggly when you remove it from the oven, not completely set.
• Allow to cool and set before cutting. To prevent your cake from sticking to your knife, spray it with a little cooking spray and then wipe it clean with a towel. Cut slowly and carefully.
• Try a different cake mix. While the traditional recipe calls for yellow cake mix, this recipe is very adaptable. Try it with a red velvet cake mix, Devil’s food cake, or another favorite cake mix.
Be sure to allow this cake to cool completely before serving, as it needs to set fully. Then sprinkle with some additional powdered sugar and serve at room temperature! This is a great dessert to enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea.
How to Store
- Do you refrigerate gooey butter cake? You can keep this cake at room temperature or refrigerate it. It will last in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days or in the fridge for 5 days.
- Can you freeze gooey butter cake? Yes. To freeze, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and then transfer to a freezer-safe container or ziploc bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge, then add more powdered sugar before serving.
More Classic Cake Recipes:
Gooey Butter Cake
For the Pan
- butter , to grease
For the Cake Layer
- 15.25 ounce yellow box cake mix (just the cake mix)
- 1/2 cup butter (melted)
- 2 large eggs (room temperature)
For the Filling Layer
- 8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
- 2 large eggs (room temperature)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (plus more for dusting)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan with butter (making sure to get along the edges and in the corners.)
- Make the cake layer: In a large bowl with an electric mixer, combine the cake mix, melted butter, and 2 eggs. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking pan in a flat even layer.
- Make the filling layer: Wipe out the bowl and add in the cream cheese; beat with the electric mixer until smooth and no lumps remain. Reduce speed to low and add in one egg at a time until each one is fully incorporated. Blend in the vanilla, then blend in the powdered sugar about 1 cup at a time, until just combined.
- Pour the filling layer over the cake layer in the baking dish (DO NOT mix the two layers.)
- Bake on the middle/center rack for about 40 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the center is still a little jiggly (middle may sink a bit – that's ok.) DO NOT OVERBAKE. Check 5-10 minutes before it's supposed to be done.
- Sprinkle with a little more powdered sugar. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.PRO TIP: To prevent your cake from sticking to your knife, spray it with a little cooking spray and then wipe it clean with a towel in between cuts. Cut slowly and carefully.