Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

Ooey Gooey Butter Cake made from scratch without any cake mix is 1000X better than your wildest dreams!  Plus, it’s quick and easy to whip up!

Gooey Butter Cake is a St. Louis prized tradition since the 1930s for a reason – it’s sensational.  The chewy butter cake base is topped with a rich, ooey gooey cream cheese layer, baked all together, then covered in a snowy blanket of powdered sugar.  The magic that awaits is an irresistible combination of chewy, smooth, rich, creamy, sweet decadence that’s lusciously buttery through and through.  And the best part?  This Gooey Butter Cake recipe is easy to make with pantry friendly ingredients so you can make it any time!  Serve the Ooey Gooey Butter Cake as a breakfast/brunch coffee cake or a dessert and prepare for the barrage of compliments. 

Cakes are my favorite dessert to make – and to eat! They are festive for any occasion and always a crowd pleaser.  Some of our favorite cake recipes include: Kentucky Butter Cake, White Chocolate Raspberry CakeLemon Blueberry CakeLemon Pound Cake, Chocolate Raspberry CakeHummingbird Cake, Carrot Cake with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting and Cream Cheese Stuffed Carrot Cake.

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How to make ooey gooey butter cake video

a stack of Gooey Butter Cake recipe with a bite out of one of the squares showing how creamy they are

what is ooey gooey butter cake?

Ooey Gooey Butter Cake may look unassuming.  It may be the plainest dessert on the block.  It may not be decorated with any frills, only a simple dusting of powdered sugar.  But what it lacks in looks, it makes up in indulgent buttery flavor and rich, creamy chewy texture.

To put it simply, Ooey Gooey Gutter Cake is a surprisingly addictive, layered culinary masterpiece.  It is a flat cake, traditionally made in a 9×13 pan consisting of two distinct layers: the chewy cake layer and the velvety, custard-like cream cheese layer.

This butter cake is often referred to as St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake, the Paula Deen Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, or simply Gooey Butter Cake, although the cake originated in St. Louis in the 1930s and was popularized by Paula Deen decades later.

To make this classic Gooey Butter Cake recipe, the cake batter is pressed flat into the bottom of a baking pan then topped with the luscious, sugar-laden cream cheese topping then baked until crispy around the edges and creamy in the center. The texture is somewhat a cross between a chewy blondie and creamy lemon bars or in other words, buttery, sweet, chewy, creamy melt-in-your-mouth velvety perfection. 

Where did Gooey Butter Cake Originate?

This popular St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake has been a regional favorite since the 1930’s.  During that time, St. Louis was home to German-style breweries and bakeries dotting nearly every corner.

Local legend has it that this now famous cake was invented by accident by baker John Hoffman at St. Louis Pastries Bakery when he made a ratio- swapping error.  Hoffman intended to make one of his bakery’s traditional German yeasted coffeecakes, but he accidentally reversed the proportions of butter and flour.  He didn’t realize his mistake until after the cake was baked and he was rewarded with a rich, sugary cake with a caramelized crust.

Hoffman knew he had a hit on his hands and subsequently tried to recreate the recipe with the help of a friend, Herman Danzer.  They worked all Saturday, and finally got it pretty close, but it wasn’t until the final batch that Danzer suggested they add glycerin to get it really gooey. It worked.  When Danzer’s wife tried the bars she said, “this sure is gooey.”   And the name stuck.  Hoffman named his initial mistake turned genius “Gooey Butter Cake.” It was a huge hit and in no time, became the must-have dessert in St. Louis and now homes everywhere.

top view of St. Louis Gooey Butter cake sliced in squares garnished with raspberries

Ooey Gooey Butter Cake Today

Today, Gooey Butter Cake is St. Louis’s most celebrated dessert.  Paula Deen’s Ooey Gooey Butter Cake recipe which famously uses a yellow cake mix further popularized the recipe throughout the country.  Some folks serve this sinfully delicious cake as a coffeecake, some as dessert. I’ll eat it whenever, wherever!  

Since its creation, the famous Gooey Butter Cake has undergone an evolution.  In the 1930s, the crust layer was originally made with yeasted cake dough, but most modern recipes use a simple cake batter (butter, sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla flour, baking powder) or shortcut yellow cake mix.  

The top layer was originally made with corn syrup, sugar, and powdered eggs; today it is more commonly made with cream cheese, eggs, and sugar.

While some will argue that yeast is a must and cream cheese has no place in a Gooey Butter Cake, the tide seems to have shifted to these new modern ingredients.  In fact, while every St. Louis family will claim to have a “secret family recipe” for Gooey Butter Cake, it often turns out to be a version made with a box of yellow cake mix and a brick of cream cheese.

My recipe today combines the best of both world’s – a from-scratch cake batter without yeast and a cream cheese topping that’s more balanced in sweetness and texture AKA the best Gooey Butter Cake in my humble opinion. Let’s get to it! 

What You’ll Love about this Gooey butter cake recipe

I wanted to share this recipe in time for Valentine’s Day because both my husband and I adore it so much. I am not a huge dessert person, but this Ooey Gooey Butter Cake has me coming back for thirds, fourths…. Here’s why you’ll love it so much:

  • It’s made from scratch!  Many Gooey Butter Cake recipes use a yellow cake mix but a from scratch crust is so much better!  I’m not a snob about boxed cake mixes but too often they turn up dry in this application. By taking just a couple extra minutes to make our own yellow cake with basic ingredients, the crust is delightfully soft and chewy but still firm enough to cradle the cream cheese custard.
  • It’s easy to makeDon’t let the words “from scratch recipe” scare you – if you can mix ingredients, you can make this incredibly easy cake!  The no fuss crust is made without yeast, so there is no proofing, just mix the ingredients together and you’re good to go!  The top layer is also easy to make by mixing the ingredients together in one bowl.  Layer the bottom and then the top and bake ALL AT ONCE.  That’s it!  I love that there are no extra steps after you remove it from the oven, just a simple dusting of powdered sugar is the perfect touch.
  • It’s perfectly sweet.  While many Ooey Gooey Butter Cake recipes walk the fine line between being sweet and being overly sweet, or what I find sickeningly sweet, this from scratch recipe is just right. Instead of a full 3 ½ cups sugar in the topping, it’s reduced to 2 ¾ cup. Of course, you can add more sugar if you’d like, but I think most readers will find the cake just right.  Maybe a little too right because you won’t be able to stop eating them!
  • The contrasting textures are heavenly. The chewy, buttery, cookie bar like bottom and the sensationally smooth, rich cream cheese custard layer in perfect proportions deliver the most exquisite bite.  As mentioned, by making our own cake crust, it’s extra soft and chewy!
  • The cream cheese custard is extra decadent.  Butter infuses the topping with luscious buttery flavor and mega creamy silkiness. The topping in this recipe combines 4 tablespoons of melted butter with the cream cheese so it’s extra rich and decadent but not as over-the-top as recipes using a full 8 tablespoons. 
  • It’s a great crowd pleaser. It not only feeds a crowd and can be made in advance.  This Ooey Gooey Butter Cake recipe makes a 9×13 pan, or 24 rich, decadently delicious squares.  Although you may want to count on partakers wanting seconds and thirds!  Best of all, this cake tastes even better the second or third day – so go ahead and make it 2 days in advance for a stress-free win. 
top view of a Gooey Butter Cake recipe sliced into squares dusted with powdered sugar

recipe INGREDIENTS

You will love that this Gooey Butter Cake recipe is made with simple pantry friendly ingredients.  Just keep some cream cheese stocked and you can make it at a moment’s notice!  You’ll also notice that many of the same ingredients are used in both the bottom cake layer and top cream cheese custard layer.  Here’s what you’ll need: 

FOR the bottom cake layer:

  • Flour: I used all purpose flour but I’m sure gluten free 1 to 1 baking flour would also work great.
  • Baking powder:  Helps tenderize the cake so it’s delightfully chewy and gives it a little rise.  Make sure your baking powder is fresh so it works!
  • Butter:  The namesake of the cake!  Please use real butter and not margarine so it’s as rich and as flavorful as possible.  Use unsalted butter so we can control the salt in the recipe. If you only have salted butter, then reduce the salt in the recipe.
  • Salt: Good old table salt to enhance the flavors of the rest of the ingredients and to balance the sweetness. 
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar please.
  • Egg: One egg to bind the ingredients together and provide structure.  Make sure the egg is at room temperature.
  • Milk: Any kind of milk will work here.
  • Vanilla extract:  Adds superb flavor to the buttery cake.  Use quality extract for the most flavorful results.

FOR top cream cheese layer:

  • Cream cheese: Please use full fat cream cheese for the most divine results.  If you want to use less fat, keep in mind less fat = less flavor and creaminess so adjust your expectations. Please do NOT use nonfat cream cheese.
  • Butter:  Adds the indulgent buttery flavor and is the key to the ooey gooey topping.
  • Eggs:  Helps the cream cheese filling set so its thick and rich but still ooey gooey. 
  • Vanilla extract:  All desserts need a little oomph of vanilla.  The better the quality, the better it tastes, so go as quality as you can.
  • Powdered Sugar: Is needed over granulated sugar in the filling so it melts into the filling without tasting grainy. Use the scoop and level method to ensure you add the perfect amount.
up close of a sliced Ooey Gooey Cake showing the bottom cake layer and gooey cream cheese layer

HOW TO SOFTEN CREAM CHEESE FOR GOOEY BUTTER CAKE

Your cream cheese needs to be super soft in order to produce a lump-free custard.  To soften cream cheese, you have a couple options:

  • Microwave:  Works great but take care to microwave at small intervals so you don’t overcook/scorch the cream cheese. Cube cream cheese and transfer to a microwave safe plate.  Microwave for 20 seconds then at 10 second intervals, flipping cubes and microwave another 10 seconds.  Repeat until cream cheese is very soft. 
  • Hot water:  This method takes just a few minutes longer but very evenly softens the cream cheese. Fill a bowl with hot water. Keep cream cheese in its sealed packaging then place it into the water. Place a heavy bowl/object on top of the cream cheese so it stays submerged. Wait for about 10 minutes for the cream cheese to soften.

HOW TO MAKE ooey gooey butter cake

Now onto the main event – how to make Ooey Gooey Butter Cake!  You will love how easy this recipe is to make.  (Full recipe with measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.)

Make the Bottom Cake Layer


Step 1:  Whisk the dry ingredients together. In medium bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. 

showing how to make Ooey Gooey Butter Cake recipe by mixing dry ingredients in a bowl

Step 2:  Cream the butter and sugar.  You can do this step in the bowl of an electric mixer or a mixing bowl with a handheld mixer if you only want to dirty one bowl and set of beaters.  Make sure the butter and sugar are nice and fluffy for a chewier crust.

a collage showing how to make Ooey Gooey Butter Cake recipe by creaming butter in a mixer for the cake layer

Step 3:  Add the rest.  Mix in the egg, followed by the milk and vanilla, then add the flour ⅓ at a time.  The batter will be quite thick once it is all mixed together.

a collage showing how to make Ooey Gooey Butter Cake recipe by mixing in the egg, milk and vanilla, followed by the flour until well combined in a stand mixer

Step 4:  Press into the pan.  Press the dough evenly into bottom of a lightly greased 9×13 pan.  You want it level, but don’t worry about finger indentations. 

showing how to make Ooey Gooey Butter Cake recipe by pressing the cake layer into the bottom of a 9x13 pan


MAKE TOP CREAM CHEESE LAYER:

Step 5:  Beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Make sure the cream cheese is super soft to start with so it’s free of lumps.

showing how to make Ooey Gooey Butter Cake recipe by beating cream cheese until smooth and lump free in a glass mixing bowl with hand held mixer

Step 6:  Beat in the butter.  Beat in the butter until smooth. This helps to cool it down so there is no risk of curdling eggs.   Next, add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.

a collage showing how to make Ooey Gooey Butter Cake recipe by adding eggs, butter and vanilla to the cream cheese and beating until smooth

Step 7:  Add powdered sugar.  Beat in the powdered sugar one cup at a time then beat until smooth, but take care not to over beat.

showing how to make Ooey Gooey Butter Cake recipe by adding powdered sugar to cream cheese layer and beating until smooth with a hand held mixer

Step 8:  Pour mixture over bottom layer.  Spread it into an even layer with a spatula, back of a spoon or an offset spatula.

a collage showing how to make Ooey Gooey Butter Cake recipe by adding the cream cheese layer on top of the cake layer in a 9x13 pan and spreading evenly with an offset spatula

Step 9:  Bake.  Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes.   The cake will rise in the oven, especially around the edges, and fall as it cools, leaving a slightly lower center, which is perfectly normal.  

showing how to make Ooey Gooey Butter Cake recipe by baking until golden in a 9x13 pan

Step 10:  Cool. It is important that you cool the cake entirely before slicing or it will fall apart. The cake needs time to continue baking and setting as it cools. Dust your Ooey Gook Butter Cake masterpiece with powdered sugar and dig in!

showing how to make Gooey Butter Cake recipe by cutting into squares once cooled

How long do I bake gooey butter cake?

This Ooey Gooey Butter Cake recipe should take between 40-45 minutes to bake.  This is a little longer than some recipes because there is butter in the cream cheese layer.  The baking time can vary due to the differences in ovens, baking pans, beating times, desired ooey gooeyness etc., so make sure to check the cheesecake at 40 minutes then add additional time as needed, up to 50 minutes.

How do I know when Gooey butter cake is done?

The toothpick test won’t work for an Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, so how do you know when it’s done?  Bake the cake until it’s golden brown around the outer edges and starting to pull away from the pan.  When you gently shake the pan wearing an oven mitt (so you don’t burn yourself), the outside 2-3 inches should be set and firm but the very center should jiggle slightly.  If it’s overly jiggly, then bake for a couple more minutes, but be careful because the jiggle can go away quickly!  Be careful not to overcook so the center stays gooey.

  • If you accidently overbake the cake, it will still be decadent, soft and chewy, just not as creamy.
  • If you accidently under bake the cake, the top will likely crack and the pieces will be more difficult to cleanly slice and eat, but they will plenty gooey!  

Tips for SLICing gooey butter cake

  • It is important that you let the Ooey Gooey Butter Cake cool completely before slicing or it will fall apart, about 3 hours, or overnight.  To make it even easier to slice, pop it in the refrigerator to chill before slicing.
  • Using a hot knife is also crucial for clean cuts as the hot knife glides right through the custard layer.
  • To slice, fill a tall glass with hot water. Dip a sharp knife in the hot water, wipe with a damp cloth, then make a clean slice; repeat for each cut.

Tips for the best gooey butter cake recipe

While making Ooey Gooey Butter Cake is pretty straightforward, there are a few important tips, tricks and techniques that are helpful: 

  • Grease the pan with cooking spray WITH flour.  You need this extra insurance so the cake doesn’t stick. You can also line the pan with parchment paper and then use regular cooking spray if you’d like.
  • Use real butter.  It’s worth repeating that this BUTTER cake needs to be made with real, unsalted butter for the best flavor and texture.  Margarine will affect the texture of the cake and salted butter will be too salty unless you eliminate the salt in the recipe.
  • If your cake batter is too sticky: Spray your hands lightly with cooking spray or place parchment paper over top of the batter and press it down through the parchment.
  • Use soft cream cheese.  The cream cheese should be soft enough that you can stick your finger in it. If it is not soft enough, then it will yield a lumpy custard layer (see methods to soften cream cheese above).
  • Beat cream cheese until smooth.  Make sure the cream cheese is 100% smooth before adding any other ingredients – it won’t get any smoother once you add them!
  • Use room temperature ingredients.  Room temperature eggs, softened cream cheese and milk mix more easily which means you’re less likely to overbeat either layer. An overbeaten cake layer will be tough and dense and an overbeaten cream cheese layer (once you add the eggs) can sink and crack (see below).
  • Don’t overbeat the eggs.  Eggs trap air, which can rise up and then deflate extra low and cause cracks. To avoid this, make sure to mix the butter and cream cheese well before adding the eggs and then beat the sugar just until combined. 
  • To quickly bring eggs to room temperature: Fill a bowl with warm water (not hot) and add eggs and let sit 10-20 minutes.
  • Don’t peak while baking!  It is critical that you don’t open the oven while your cake is baking before 40 minutes to prevent it from deflating too much.  Opening the door causes drafts which dramatically lowers the temperature – the culprit of a sinking center (although some sinking is normal).
  • There should be a jiggle!  An overbaked Gooey Butter Cake is no longer a Gooey Butter Cake, but nice chewy bars.  Remove the cake when the edges are firm but the center still jiggles slightly when shaken, the cake will firm up some as it cools. 
  • Allow the cake to cool and set before cutting.  This will help with cleaner cuts.  You can even chill in the refrigerator for an hour or so for cleaner cuts. (See section on how to cut the cake.)
a stock of Ooey Gooey Butter Cake cut into squares

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve the cake the next day.  Time permitting, make your Gooey Butter Cake a day ahead of time. Once it’s cooled to room temperature, cover it with plastic wrap and store at room temperature.  This allows the flavors to build and marry– you will be amazed at the difference it makes!
  • Serve at room temperature.  If your butter cake has been chilling in the fridge, make sure to let it come to room temperature before serving – it is 1000X better that way!
  • Add powdered sugar after the bars have cooled.  If you dust the bars with powdered sugar while they’re still warm, the sugar will melt away.
  • Serve at brunch or as a dessert!

possible RECIPE VARIATIONS

  • Add-ins:  Try adding cherries, chocolate chips, toffee bits, crushed Butterfingers, crushed Snickers, crushed Oreos, nuts, etc. to the cream cheese mixture.  You can also sprinkle the bottom layer with chocolate chips or coconut flakes before adding the cream cheese layer.
  • Add blueberries or raspberries:  Increase the eggs to 3 eggs in the cream cheese layer.  Fold in about 1 cup of fresh berries into the cream cheese filling right before pouring over the crust.  You can also swap the butter in the cream cheese layer with ¼ cup lemon juice for a lemon berry flavor.
  • Berry swirl:  Pour half of the cream cheese filling onto the crust.  Drizzle raspberry sauce over the top, then top with remaining cheesecake filling followed by another drizzle or raspberry sauce.  Use a toothpick or knife to gently swirl everything together..  
  • Serve with a sauce:  Ooey Gooey Butter Cake tends to be too sweet for a sauce, but you can reduce the sugar in the crust to 1 ½ cups and the sugar in the cream cheese topping to 2 ½ cups if you plan on topping with a sweet sauce like strawberry sauce, raspberry sauce, blueberry sauce, caramel sauce, or chocolate ganache.
  • Use a cake mix:  For a shortcut crust, use an 18.25-ounce yellow cake mix instead of the bottom cake layer ingredients.  Mix the cake mix with 8 tablespoons butter and 1 egg and then press into the bottom of the greased 9×13 pan.
  • Use a different cake mix flavor:  You can use any cake mix you’d like!  Try lemon, strawberry, cinnamon, peanut butter, spice cake, key lime, chocolate, etc. 
  • Lemon Ooey Gooey Butter Cake: Use a lemon cake mix for the base.  For the topping, swap the 4 tablespoons butter with ¼ cup lemon juice and add an extra egg for (3 eggs instead of 2).
  • Strawberry Ooey Gooey Butter Cake:  Use a strawberry cake mix for the base.  For the topping, add an extra egg for (3 eggs instead of 2) and stir in 3/4 cup chopped fresh strawberries.
  • Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake: Use a chocolate cake mix for the base and add ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder to the cream cheese layer. You can also stir in one cup of chocolate chips, crushed Snickers, Crushed Oreos, etc. to the cream cheese mixture.
  • Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cake:  Use red velvet cake mix for the base and add one cup of white chocolate chips to the cream cheese mixture.
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake:  Use peanut butter cake mix for the base and add chocolate chips or crushed Butterfingers to the cream cheese mixture.

CAN I MAKE OOEY GOOEY BUTTER CAKE AHEAD OF TIME?

Absolutely! You can completely assemble, bake and cool the Ooey Gooey Butter Cake 24-48 hours ahead of time.

Do you refrigerate Gooey Butter Cake? 

You can keep this cake at room temperature for up to 3 days or refrigerate it for up to 7 days.  Let it come to room temperature before servings.

Can you freeze Gooey Butter Cake? 

Yes, you can freeze the cake in the pan or as individual bars.

  • To freeze the pan:  Wrap the cooled pan twice tightly in plastic wrap followed by heavy duty aluminum foil. Freeze for 2-3 months. To thaw, transfer to the refrigerator and thaw overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving with a dusting of powdered sugar.  
  • To freeze individual bars: Line cut bars on a plate without touching and place the plate in the freezer and freeze until solid, about 1 hour; this prevents the bars from freezing together later when stored.  Transfer bars to a freezer safe airtight container, with parchment paper in between each row or freeze bars in individual freezer safe bags. Freeze for 2-3 months.  Thaw in the refrigerator before servings then bring to room temperature. You can also try the defrost setting on the microwave for a quick treat.
up close of a slice of Ooey Gooey Butter Cake showing how gooey it is

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a stack of Gooey Butter Cake recipe with a bite out of one of the squares showing how creamy they are

Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

Gooey Butter Cake is a St. Louis prized tradition since the 1930s for a reason – it’s sensational.  The chewy butter cake base is topped with a rich, ooey gooey cream cheese layer, baked all together, then covered in a snowy blanket of powdered sugar.  The magic that awaits is an irresistible combination of chewy, smooth, rich, creamy, sweet decadence that's lusciously buttery through and through.  And the best part?  This Gooey Butter Cake recipe is easy to make with pantry friendly ingredients so you can make it any time!  Serve the Ooey Gooey Butter Cake as a breakfast/brunch coffee cake or a dessert and prepare for the barrage of compliments. 
Servings: 24 bars
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins

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Ingredients

BOTTOM CAKE LAYER

  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

TOP CREAM CHEESE LAYER

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, slightly cooked
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 3/4 cups powdered sugar, plus more for dusting

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat 9×13 pan with cooking spray WITH FLOUR or line with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

MAKE BOTTOM LAYER

  • In medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  • Cream butter and sugar using an electric mixer (I prefer a stand mixer) on medium speed until fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
  • Beat in the egg just until combined; followed by the milk and vanilla just until combined. With the mixer on low, add the flour ⅓ at a time, mixing after each addition, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  • Transfer cake batter to prepared baking pan and press it into an even layer. (You can lightly spray your hands with cooking spray or place parchment over top of the dough if it’s too sticky.) Set aside.

MAKE TOP LAYER

  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the butter until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla and salt and beat just until combined.
  • Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating on low speed until smooth; don’t overbeat or the cake will rise and deflate too much.
  • Pour cream cheese mixture over the cake layer and spread into an even layer.

BAKE

  • Bake for approximately 40-50 minutes, until golden brown around the edges and the very center is slightly jiggly when the pan is gently shaken. If there is a lot of jiggle, set the timer for 2 minutes and bake on. Repeat the "jiggle test" at 2 minute intervals until there is minimal jiggle. However, be careful not to overbake or the center will not be gooey. Note, the cake will rise in the oven and fall and indent a little as it cools.
  • Cool cake completely before slicing, about 3 hours.

SERVE

  • When ready to serve, dust with powdered sugar. To slice, fill a tall glass with hot water. Dip a sharp knife in the hot water, wipe with a damp cloth, then make a clean slice; repeat for each cut.

Video

Notes

tips and tricks

  • Why room temperature ingredients?  Room temperature eggs, softened cream cheese and milk mix more easily which means you’re less likely to overbeat either layer. An overbeaten cake layer will be tough and dense and an overbeaten cream cheese layer (once you add the eggs) can sink and crack (see below).
  • Don’t overbeat the eggs.  Eggs trap air, which can rise up and then deflate extra low and cause cracks. To avoid this, make sure to mix the butter and cream cheese well before adding the eggs and then beat the sugar just until combined. 
  • To quickly bring eggs to room temperature: Fill a bowl with warm water (not hot) and add eggs and let sit 10-20 minutes.
  • Don’t peak while baking!  It is critical that you don’t open the oven while your cake is baking before 40 minutes to prevent it from deflating too much.  Opening the door causes drafts which dramatically lowers the temperature – the culprit of a sinking center (although some sinking is normal).

How to store and freeze

  • Make ahead: You can completely assemble, bake and cool the Ooey Gooey Butter Cake 24-48 hours ahead of time.
  • Storage: You can keep this cake at room temperature for up to 3 days or refrigerate it for up to 7 days.  Let it come to room temperature before servings.
  • To freeze the pan:  Wrap the cooled pan twice tightly in plastic wrap followed by heavy duty aluminum foil. Freeze for 2-3 months. To thaw, transfer to the refrigerator and thaw overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving with a dusting of powdered sugar. 
  • To freeze individual bars: Line cut bars on a plate without touching and place the plate in the freezer and freeze until solid, about 1 hour; this prevents the bars from freezing together later when stored.  Transfer bars to a freezer safe airtight container, with parchment paper in between each row or freeze bars in individual freezer safe bags. Freeze for 2-3 months.  Thaw in the refrigerator before servings then bring to room temperature. You can also try the defrost setting on the microwave for a quick treat.

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10 Comments

  1. Susan says

    Good morning Jen!
    I made this yesterday and it is YUMMY!! I made it in a 9” square pan with some adjustments and I also used coconut flavoring instead of vanilla and added 1/4 c. coconut flakes to the bottom layer. I might have over baked it a little, but it is still delicious!! I’m going to freeze them individually as you stated so I can “indulge” when I need something delicious!
    Many thanks!!!
    Susan

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much for being the first to review this recipe Susan, I love that you made it already! I’m so pleased it worked in a 9-inch pan and your addition of coconut flakes sounds divine!

  2. Rachael says

    I just took this out of the oven after 40 minutes and unfortunately I think it’s over baked because the top is browned a bit. We recently moved into a new house and this is my first time using the oven to bake a cake, so the oven must be off on its temperature. Hopefully it will still taste okay, but I bet I lost that gooey texture. ☹️

    Thank you for sharing this recipe!! I’ll have to give it another try sometime.

    • Jen says

      Oh no, sad! The oven must be off because mine was still very soft at 40 minutes. The bars will still be delish just more soft and chewy than ooey gooey. Sorry!!!

  3. Diane says

    This cake is fabulous! It is so easy to throw together. It is so good, I can’t stop eating it! I took mine out after 40 minutes and it seems to be perfect.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Diane, I’m thrilled you’re loving it!

    • Heidi says

      I made this and it’s definitely a keeper!
      I msg have over baked a tad but still delish! I server with vanilla ice cream! Yum!

      • Jen says

        Thanks so much Heidi, I’m so pleased it’s a keeper!

  4. Brenda says

    Another fabulous recipe from your site. I made it as written and will definitely make it again! I like that it’s from scratch and doesn’t use a box mix. Thanks for posting!

    • Jen says

      You’re so welcome Brenda! I’m so pleased you loved it, it’s in all time fav over here!

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