Delicious strawberry gooey butter cake bars with 2 simple layers.
Last week surrounding Valentine’s Day, I had a huge craving for a good strawberry cake. My all-time favorite strawberry cake has already been shared on the blog, BUT it can be a bit time consuming to make. And we were all feeling something a little bit different which is when these strawberry gooey bars came into development.
Although, I can’t take all the credit for this recipe. The recipe for these bars are a very similar recipe to the famous gooey butter cake by Paula Deen. I’m not sure where her original recipe is, but I do know this one is very similar to it! My mom has her original recipe printed off in her recipe binder which has seen a lot of love over the years. Paula’s gooey bars call for a white cake mix and a bit more cream cheese on the top. These have a delicious strawberry cake mix, a bit less cream cheese, and a hint of lemon in the topping. They taste ultra fresh, a little bit tangy, and are super thick and sticky. Just how a good gooey bar should be, obviously. ? You should also know that these bars are ULTRA sweet. They are ridiculously rich!
The bottom layer is four ingredients — an egg, melted butter, some vanilla, and a Strawberry Pillsbury cake mix. You all know how much I LOVE using cake and brownie mixes to create a quick recipe that is super tasty and also dressed to impress. Using a cake mix as a base for a fun recipe is the perfect way to get a WOW dessert in a flash. It’s also pretty difficult to mess things up which I love when baking with a toddler. Grey just keeps getting more and more independent and wants to mix or stir everything himself these days. I am barely able to measure something before he wants to dump it in a bowl! So when we bake together, the fewer ingredients, the better ☺️.
The top layer is another easy four ingredients — some more eggs, cream cheese, a lemon, and powdered sugar. Okay, I guess I have some vanilla extract in this layer too! This layer is what makes these bars especially gooey. It doesn’t bake into a solid layer per-say, but makes up a light gooey topping that tastes a bit like cheesecake. So don’t be alarmed when it rises and then falls after baking, this is intended. The top gets crackly which makes for a gorgeous topping that practically melts in your mouth.
- 1 package (15.25 ounces) Pillsbury Strawberry Cake mix
- 3 large eggs separated
- 1/2 cup (equivalent of 8 tablespoons or 1 stick) salted butter melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract separated
- 1 package (8 ounces) full-fat cream cheese
- 1 large lemon
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Generously spray (with cooking spray) and lightly flour a 9 x 13 pan.
- In a large bowl, mix together the strawberry cake mix, 1 egg, the butter (melted), and vanilla extract. Mix until completely combined and press into the bottom of the prepared pan.
- In another bowl beat together the remaining vanilla extract, remaining 2 eggs, softened package of cream cheese, the zest and juice of one lemon (about 2 tablespoons juice), and the (gradually added in) powdered sugar.
- Beat until completely smooth and creamy.
- Pour mixture over the cake layer and spread to an even layer.
- Place the cake in the oven and bake for 45-55 minutes. It will still be rather gooey in the center and when you cut out pieces -- that's the point of it! 🙂
- Allow to completely cool and then enjoy!
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