With a dense cake base, a crackly top, and a generous dusting of powdered sugar, this easy gooey butter cake is a Midwestern classic you’ll want to make again and again.
Do you ever make a recipe and know that it’s going to be an instant winner for anyone with a sweet tooth?
No? Just me?
Well, this is one of those recipes. This quirky cake is super famous in the Midwest and is perfect for anyone who loves a super sweet dessert.
I like to pair it with fresh berries to balance out the sweetness, but you could serve it plain, add a dollop of homemade whipped cream, or even add a scoop of ice cream on top.
This is a classic, simple recipe that you’ll definitely want to add to your recipe box!
WHAT IS GOOEY BUTTER CAKE?
If you’ve never spent much time in the Midwest, you might not be familiar with gooey butter cake.
This cake is most famous in St. Louis, Missouri, but can often be found in homes around the Midwest.
While there’s a more complicated traditional recipe, most home bakers make their gooey butter cake with a layer of yellow cake batter, made with cake mix, topped with a cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar mixture that gets spread on top.
When it bakes up, the cake becomes a dense crust on the bottom with the gooey cream cheese “filling” on top. The very top of the cake gets nice and crackly and then it’s finished with a dusting of powdered sugar.
But it was about time I shared a more classic gooey butter cake recipe!
HOW TO MAKE MY EASY GOOEY BUTTER CAKE
This recipe is super simple and takes only a few minutes to throw together, so it’s perfect for a last-minute gathering or a weeknight dessert!
Ingredients you’ll need
You’ll only need 6 ingredients to make this delicious and easy cake:
- 1 (15.25 ounce) package butter golden or yellow cake mix
- ½ cup salted butter, melted and cooled
- 4 large eggs, divided use
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided use
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
Definitely make sure you use salted butter in this recipe. It’s a very sweet cake, and the salted butter really helps balance that out.
Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature so that the topping gets nice and smooth. If you forgot to set it out, I’ve got a few tips for how to soften cream cheese quickly.
If you just realized you ran out of powdered sugar, don’t panic. Learn how to make powdered sugar and use that substitute in this cake.
Making this recipe
The ingredients in this cake make it really likely to stick to your cake pan, so start by lining a 13×9-inch pan with parchment or foil. Then spray that with nonstick spray. This will help the cake release better after it cools.
Using an electric mixer, beat together the cake mix, butter, 2 of the eggs, and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla. Spread this mixture evenly across the bottom of your pan. It’ll be thick, so you may have to press it a bit.
Now you’ll make the gooey butter layer. Beat the cream cheese, the rest of the eggs, and the rest of the vanilla until it’s nice and smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar and then spread that over the cake layer.
Bake the cake for about 40 minutes, until it is golden brown. Let it cool before digging in.
To be the most authentic, give the cake a generous dusting of powdered sugar before serving – although that’s technically optional if you don’t want the added sweetness.
Serve this cake warm or at room temperature. It’s best on the first day, but will keep covered at room temperature for up to 3 days.
If you want to warm a slice before enjoying it, pop it into the microwave for about 30 seconds.
Easy Gooey Butter Cake
- 1 package butter golden or yellow cake mix 15.25 ounces
- ½ cup salted butter melted and cooled
- 4 large eggs divided use
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract divided use
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper or foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl with an electric hand mixer, beat the cake mix, butter, 2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until well-combined. Evenly spread the batter into the prepared pan.
- Beat cream cheese, remaining 2 eggs, and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth. Slowly beat in powdered sugar and spread the mixture over the cake layer.
- Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool before serving. If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.