Holley's Favorite Nom Noms: Aunt Debi's Gooey Butter Cake ...With A Twist
Alright, guys. You know by now how much I love my food. Since I've been "out on my own," braving the adult world with sword and shield, I've found that cooking a nice meal for myself (or someone else) every once in a while is seriously grounding and comforting. I'm constantly on the run and zipping from here to there, so nothing makes me more happy than coming home from a long day in the studio or at the coffee shop and taking a whack at those classic nom nom's that remind me of home and family. I've already shared with you my mom's famous mashed potato recipe (oh, yum yum yum) and my own Greek chicken recipe (quick, easy, nommy). So, NOW... and brace yourselves for this one if you've never had it, kids... I'm sharing with you my own twist on Gooey Butter Cake. You are not mentally or emotionally prepared for this, let me tell you somethin'.
Now, I grew up with Gooey Butter Cake. My Aunt Debi used to make this recipe whenever she came to visit. I think out of compulsion, since my brother and I demanded it probably within seconds of her entering the house. All of my aunts are wonderful bakers and cooks, but this (and Aunt Jan's fudge) is way up there on the list of favorites. I thought this was a pretty familiar recipe to most folks, but apparently, it's not. From what I hear, this is a St. Louis thing, which makes sense since my mom and her family are from Missouri. So. From Missouri, with love, here are my two favorite twists on the classic Gooey Butter Cake recipe.
This delicious, melt-in-your-mouth cake from heaven has two sinful layers. Both are crazy simple. Seriously, your children could do this by themselves, almost. (Only don't let your children bake by themselves. That would be horribly irresponsible and probably messy.)
- 1 package of yellow cake mix (I use the "butter yellow" kind... just for extra unhealthiness.)
- 1/2 cup of butter (that's one whole stick... yes.)
- 1 egg
Grab yourself a big old bowl and a little bowl. Melt your butter in the little bowl and combine all of the above into your big one. Mix it on up! You can use a whisker if you like, but it's gonna be very doughy, so just be prepared to shake it out of the middle of the whisker. I usually whisk it for a bit and then knead it with my hands until it's pizza dough-like. Then take your ball of buttery nomminess and spread it into the bottom of a 9x12 ungreased cake pan. Make sure its all level, even, and goes all the way to the corners.
- 1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened (That's one package of Philly cream cheese, not in the plastic tub, but in the cardboard box.)
- 2 eggs
- One 1 lb. box of confectioners (powdered) sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla (or, if you're me, more like 1 1/2)
- OPTIONAL, Holley Style- squeeze in the juice of 1/2 lemon
Soften your cream cheese and add everything into that big bowl from before. Your whisker will work fine on the top layer, since this is the "gooey" part. I like to add in the juice of half a lemon. This just gives it a nice hint of lemon, rather than being all-out lemon bar tart. If you like it like that, then go on, add in the whole lemon. Whisk it all up until there are no more clumps from that powdered sugar, and then pour it evenly over the bottom layer.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake for 35-40 minutes. Now, I usually end up baking it for more like 40-45, but I always start with 35 and then just monitor it. If the top of the cake is still whitish-yellow and the top layer jiggles when you lightly shake it, it's not done. Wait 'til there's at least a bit of a golden brown top layer going on and then take it out. Don't worry if its still super moist, even gushy when you stick a fork in it-- it's called Gooey Butter Cake! It's supposed to be like that! As long as it doesn't jiggle when you shake it, you're golden.
For a great Holiday/Winter-time twist on this recipe, leave out the lemon and add a few shakes of cinnamon and powdered sugar to the top when you take it out of the oven-- Oh, so good!
Try it out and let me know what you think! You'll be shocked to find out how simple it really is!