I've been dealing with some personal issues recently so I've also been hitting the baking therapy hard for the past few days as a coping mechanism. Sunday I made Kahlua Cake (http://pastrychefbaking.blogspot.com/2010/04/kahlua-cake.html) and Baby Brownies (http://pastrychefbaking.blogspot.com/2010/01/baby-brownies-aka-dulce-de-leche.html). Monday night I made the Triple-Threat Chocolate Chip Cookies. Tonight I made Gooey Butter Cake.
When you think of butter and cream cheese, do you think of Paula Deen? Me too. Which is appropriate as I had only heard of Gooey Butter Cake from my friends from the South. With a title like that and consistent endorsement from several people, I had to try it. Fortunately, it's pretty easy to make. I got this recipe from allrecipes.com but it's almost identical to Paula Deen's recipe on foodnetwork.com.
The base of the crust layer is yellow cake mix. Always sift cake mix before you use it or you'll end up with lumpy batter. I have a big-ass sifter from my culinary school days and it sifts flour, cake mix, you name it very quickly since there's so much surface area to use for sifting right into the bowl.
Once you have the crust mixed up, pat into an even layer in a 9 x 13-inch pan. Note that I always line my pans with foil regardless of whether the recipe calls for it or not. It not only is easier to lift the baked good out of the pan intact to cut properly on a cutting board but it also preserves your pan. I use my baking pans a lot and yet they're still in good shape because I take care of them with the foil method.
Mixing up the filling was pretty easy - I beat the cream cheese first just so the other ingredients would blend better with it when added. The batter was pretty liquid and very smooth.
Pour over the cake mix crust and make sure you get them into the corners as well.
I baked this for just under 45 minutes as the top looked brown. It smelled good pretty much from the get-go. I tried a piece while it was still warm and it's delicious. Bear in mind I don't even like cream cheese that much and this had 8 ounces in it. But I figure the 4 cups of confectioners' sugar killed the usual taste of the cream cheese and made it just nice, sweet and gooey. Those Southerners know how to make good gooey cake.
½ cup butter
1 18.25-ounce package yellow cake mix
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
½ teaspoon almond extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Lightly grease one 9 x 13-inch cake pan.
2. Melt the butter. Stir melted butter along with 1 egg into the cake mix. Press into prepared pan.
3. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, almond extract, confectioners’ sugar and the remaining 2 eggs. Beat for 3 minutes with an electric mixer set on medium high speed. Spread over top of cake mixture.
4. Bake at 350˚F for 45 to 50 minutes and until browned on top. Allow cake to cool before cutting.
ETA: I had the taste test piece while this was still warm and it was delicious, almost like eating a pudding. I had a second piece today at room temperature and I have to admit, this is a little too sweet for me. I can really taste that yellow cake mix in the base and the pound of confectioners' sugar in the topping. Of course my coworkers just rolled their eyes at me as they swooped down on it so they seemed to like it. But still....if I make this again, I'd search for something a little less cloyingly sweet and more buttery like the basque cake.