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Delicious Gooey Butter Cake is an easy dessert that has a buttery cake crust and a gooey cream cheese topping. Finish with a dusting of powdered sugar for an absolutely incredible treat! Only 7 ingredients and just 15 minutes of hands-on time are required! It’s perfect for any occasion and will be the star of your next gathering!

Flavorful, yet simple cake recipes are always a hit! Try out my other favorites like this Better Than Anything CakeOatmeal Cake, and this super delicious Hot Milk Cake! These are so good, they won’t last long!

3 slices of butter cake stacked on top of each other.

What is Gooey Butter Cake?

If you have never tried a Gooey Butter Cake, you’re in for a real treat! This dessert recipe is very popular in the midwest, and there are many claims to the origins of this St. Louis bakery staple. Many think it was created when proportions of butter and flour were reversed by mistake. Some say it happened in the 1930s at Koppe Bakery, while others suggest the 1940s at Danzer’s Bakery. No matter who made the mistake, it sure was a good one to make!

Gooey butter cake is a flat cake that’s traditionally cut into bars, like brownies. It’s rich and flavorful with the best texture. Everyone who tries it, can’t seem to get enough! Which is great because the recipe makes 16 servings, so it feeds a crowd. It is perfect for potlucks, family get togethers, holiday parties, and bridal and baby showers. 

Butter Cake Ingredients

This gooey butter cake recipe requires just 7 ingredients! That’s how easy it is! Check out the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact measurements.

  • Yellow Cake Mix: DON’T follow the directions for baking the cake on the box. The mix is combined with an egg and melted butter for the bottom layer of this cake.
  • Salted Butter: Melted butter adds moisture and flavor.
  • Eggs: One egg for the bottom cake layer and two eggs for the gooey layer provide richness and ensure the cake bakes properly.
  • Cream Cheese: Cream cheese makes the gooey layer nice and creamy.
  • Extracts: Add a mixture of vanilla extract and almond extract to the gooey filling layer so it has plenty of flavor.
  • Powdered Sugar: To perfectly sweeten the cake!

How to Make Gooey Butter Cake

Making an ooey gooey butter cake is so simple. You’ll just combine ingredients for the yellow cake crust layer, and then the ingredients for the cream cheese topping. Layer them together and bake. You’ll have a crowd-pleasing dessert in no time!

  1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with pan spray.
  2. Make the Cake Layer: In a large bowl mix the cake mix, butter, and 1 egg. The batter will be very thick, more akin to a dough than a typical cake batter. Press it evenly into the prepared baking dish.
  3. Make the Cream Cheese Layer: In another large bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the remaining 2 eggs, vanilla, and almond extracts. Scrape down the bowl and add the powdered sugar. Beat slowly until the powdered sugar is mostly incorporated before increasing the speed and beating until smooth.
  4. Layer the Two Mixtures: Add the cream cheese mixture over the cake mix and spread evenly.
  5. Bake: Place in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. The center will puff up and then sink down as it bakes.
  6. Cool and Serve: Let the cake cool completely and dust with powdered sugar before serving.
4-photo collage of the cake batter and topping being prepared.

Tips and Variations

This gooey butter cake is so incredibly delicious, be sure to take these tips into consideration, so it’s perfect every time!

  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Use room temperature ingredients to help them incorporate better.
  • Bake With Parchment Paper: For easy removal from the pan, line with parchment paper leaving a 1-inch overhang on either side. Spray the parchment lightly with pan spray before adding the batter. Once the cake is fully cooled it will lift out easily so you can cut it into squares.
  • Use a Different Cake Mix: If you cannot find a butter yellow cake mix, regular yellow cake or even white cake mix will work in a pinch.
  • Add a Topping! Any fruit pie filling or macerated berries will be delicious on top of this decadent cake.
Top-down view of ooey-gooey butter cake cut into slices.

Storing Leftovers

  • To Store: Place leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the fridge for up to 5.
  • To Freeze: The cake can be baked and frozen for up to 3 months. Remove the cake from the pan (I recommend lining the pan with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on both sides for easy lifting), wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and place it in an airtight container or ziplock freezer bag.
  • To Thaw: When you’re ready to enjoy, after being frozen, remove from the freezer and let sit at room temperature for 2-3 hours.
Closeup of a stack of butter cake slices.

More Easy Cake Recipes

Turning a boxed cake mix into a new delicious dessert makes baking so easy, like with this gooey butter cake recipe! Here are a few of my other favorite desserts that are simple to make with a boxed cake mix.

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Gooey Butter Cake

5 from 1 vote
By: Alyssa Rivers
Delicious Gooey Butter Cake is an easy dessert that has a buttery cake crust and a gooey cream cheese topping. Finish with a dusting of powdered sugar for an absolutely incredible treat!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 16 servings

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a 9×13 baking dish with pan spray.
  • In a large bowl mix the cake mix, butter, and 1 egg. The batter will be very thick, more akin to a dough than a typical cake batter. Press it evenly into the prepared baking dish.
  • In another large bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the remaining 2 eggs, vanilla, and almond extracts. Scrape down the bowl and add the powdered sugar. Beat slowly until the powdered sugar is mostly incorporated before increasing the speed and beating until smooth.
  • Add the cream cheese mixture over the cake mix and spread evenly.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. The center will puff up and then sink down as it bakes.
  • Let the cake cool completely and dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 330kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 3gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 338mgPotassium: 48mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 39gVitamin A: 412IUCalcium: 89mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Cake, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!

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About Alyssa Rivers

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Alyssa Rivers and the food blogger behind The Recipe Critic. The blog launched in 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family. Each recipe is tried and true, family-tested and approved.

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4 Comments

  1. I’ve lived in the St. Louis area all my life, and this recipe is NOT the original gooey butter cake. No self respecting St. Louisan would wreck their gooey butter cake with cream cheese (cream cheese? Really?) or flavorings.