For the Cake Base:
- 1 box vanilla or white cake mix
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Gooey Cream Cheese Layer:
- 1 block (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9×9-inch baking pan and set aside.
- Prepare Cake Base: In a large mixing bowl, combine the vanilla or white cake mix with 1 melted stick of butter, 1 egg, and 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Mix until well combined.
- Press into Pan: Press the cake mixture evenly into the bottom of the greased 9×9-inch pan to form the base layer.
- Prepare Gooey Cream Cheese Layer: In the same mixing bowl (no need to clean it), beat the softened cream cheese until smooth.
- Add Eggs and Vanilla: Add the remaining 2 eggs and 1 tsp of vanilla extract to the cream cheese, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
- Add Powdered Sugar: Gradually add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Continue mixing until the cream cheese mixture is smooth and well combined.
- Pour Over Cake Base: Pour the cream cheese mixture evenly over the pressed cake base in the pan.
- Bake: Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 45 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown, and the center is slightly jiggly. The gooey layer will set as it cools.
- Cool Completely: Allow the Ooey Gooey Butter Cake to cool completely in the pan before cutting it into small bars. This ensures that the bars maintain their shape.
- Cut and Serve: Once cooled, use a sharp knife to cut the cake into small bars. Serve and enjoy these indulgent Ooey Gooey Butter Cake Bars!
- Dust the cooled bars with powdered sugar for a decorative touch before serving.
- Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream for added decadence.
These Ooey Gooey Butter Cake Bars are rich, sweet, and utterly irresistible!
Here are some tips to make your Ooey Gooey Butter Cake Bars even more delightful and irresistible:
- Quality Ingredients: Use high-quality ingredients, including real butter, a good brand of cream cheese, and pure vanilla extract. The quality of ingredients can significantly impact the final taste.
- Add a Pinch of Salt: Consider adding a small pinch of salt to the cream cheese mixture. This can enhance the overall flavor and balance the sweetness.
- Flavor Variations: Experiment with different cake mix flavors. Try using a flavored cake mix such as lemon, chocolate, or strawberry for a unique twist.
- Citrus Zest: Add a pop of citrus flavor by incorporating the zest of an orange or lemon into the cream cheese mixture. This adds a refreshing and aromatic element.
- Nutty Crunch: Mix in chopped nuts, such as pecans or walnuts, into either the cake base or the cream cheese layer for added texture and a nutty flavor.
- Swirls of Flavor: Create swirls of fruit preserves or chocolate sauce on top of the cream cheese layer before baking for a visually appealing and flavorful addition.
- Layered Chocolate: Add a layer of chocolate chips or chunks between the cake base and cream cheese layer for a gooey chocolate surprise.
- Customized Extracts: Experiment with different extracts for unique flavor profiles. Almond extract or coconut extract can add a delightful twist to the traditional vanilla flavor.
- Drizzle with Caramel: After the bars have cooled, drizzle them with warm caramel sauce. This adds a rich, buttery flavor that complements the sweetness of the bars.
- Chilled Indulgence: Serve the bars chilled for a different experience. Refrigerating the bars can result in a firmer texture, and they can be a refreshing treat on a warm day.
- Dusting of Cocoa Powder: Dust the cooled bars with a bit of cocoa powder for a sophisticated touch and a subtle chocolate flavor.
- Cut into Bite-Sized Pieces: For a more elegant presentation, cut the bars into bite-sized pieces. This is perfect for serving at parties or gatherings.
- Whipped Cream Topping: Serve each bar with a dollop of freshly whipped cream. The light and airy texture of whipped cream complements the richness of the bars.
- Creative Shapes: Use cookie cutters to cut the bars into fun shapes, especially if serving them on special occasions or holidays.
Remember to embrace your creativity and taste preferences while making these delightful Ooey Gooey Butter Cake Bars!
Here are some commonly asked questions and their answers related to Ooey Gooey Butter Cake Bars:
Q1: Can I use a different flavor of cake mix? A1: Absolutely! Feel free to experiment with different cake mix flavors such as chocolate, lemon, or strawberry to create variations of Ooey Gooey Butter Cake Bars.
Q2: Can I make these bars ahead of time? A2: Yes, you can make these bars ahead of time. They can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days. However, for the freshest taste, it’s recommended to consume them within a day or two.
Q3: Can I freeze Ooey Gooey Butter Cake Bars? A3: Yes, these bars freeze well. Once cooled, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store in a freezer-safe container for up to 2-3 months.
Q4: Can I reduce the amount of powdered sugar for a less sweet version? A4: Yes, you can adjust the amount of powdered sugar to suit your taste preferences. Start with 2 cups and add more if needed, keeping in mind that the sweetness is a key characteristic of this dessert.
Q5: What should the texture be like when they’re done baking? A5: The center of the bars should be slightly jiggly when they are done baking. It will continue to set as it cools, resulting in a gooey and indulgent texture.
Q6: Can I add nuts or chocolate chips to the recipe? A6: Absolutely! Chopped nuts or chocolate chips can be added to either the cake base or the cream cheese layer for additional texture and flavor.
Q7: How do I know if they are fully baked? A7: The edges should be golden brown, and the center should be slightly jiggly. A toothpick inserted into the center may come out with a few moist crumbs, but not wet batter.
Q8: Can I use a reduced-fat cream cheese? A8: While you can use reduced-fat cream cheese, keep in mind that it may affect the richness and texture of the bars. The full-fat version will yield a creamier result.
Q9: Can I make this recipe in a different pan size? A9: Yes, you can adjust the pan size, but keep in mind that the baking time may vary. A larger pan may require less time, while a smaller one may need more.
Q10: Can I substitute margarine for butter in the recipe? A10: While you can substitute margarine for butter, keep in mind that it may alter the flavor. Using real butter is recommended for the best taste and texture.
Feel free to ask any additional questions or seek further clarification based on your preferences and needs!
Achieving the perfect Ooey Gooey Butter Cake Bars involves a combination of techniques and attention to detail. Here are some secrets to make them absolutely delightful:
- Room Temperature Ingredients: Ensure that your cream cheese, eggs, and butter are at room temperature before mixing. This ensures a smoother and more even texture in the cream cheese layer.
- Proper Mixing Technique: Mix the cream cheese until it’s completely smooth before adding other ingredients. Incorporate each egg, vanilla, and powdered sugar thoroughly but avoid overmixing to maintain the gooey texture.
- Quality Cake Mix: Choose a high-quality cake mix for the base. The better the quality, the better the flavor and texture of the bars. You can even consider using a homemade cake mix for a more personalized touch.
- Butter Quality Matters: Use real, high-quality butter for both the cake base and the cream cheese layer. The buttery flavor is a key element of the gooey goodness.
- Layer Thickness: Pay attention to the thickness of each layer. Press the cake base evenly into the pan, and ensure the cream cheese layer is poured evenly for a balanced texture in each bite.
- Lightly Greased Pan: Grease the baking pan lightly to prevent sticking, but not excessively. Too much grease can affect the texture and appearance of the bars.
- Cooling Time: Allow the bars to cool completely before cutting. This helps them set, making it easier to achieve clean and neat cuts. The gooey texture will develop as they cool.
- Dusting of Powdered Sugar: Just before serving, dust the cooled bars with a light layer of powdered sugar. This adds a touch of sweetness and enhances the visual appeal.
- Experiment with Extracts: Explore different extracts for added flavor. Almond or coconut extract can provide a unique twist that complements the sweetness.
- Chilled or Warmed Serving Options: Serve the bars at room temperature for a classic gooey experience, or try serving them slightly chilled for a firmer texture. Some enjoy warming them briefly before serving for a comforting treat.
- Creative Additions: Experiment with creative additions such as swirls of fruit preserves, a layer of chocolate chips, or a sprinkle of sea salt on top for a gourmet touch.
- Individual Portions: Consider baking the bars in individual portions using muffin cups for a charming and easy-to-serve presentation.
- Fresh Berries on Top: Garnish with fresh berries like raspberries or strawberries for a burst of freshness that complements the richness of the bars.
- Serve with Coffee or Ice Cream: Pair the bars with a cup of coffee for a delightful afternoon treat, or serve them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for an indulgent dessert.
Remember, the beauty of Ooey Gooey Butter Cake Bars is their simplicity, so feel free to experiment and make them your own!