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One Gooey Bar on a stack of white plates

Gooey Bars for Katie’s Birthday

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Gooey Bars AKA Gooey Butter Bars are one of Katie’s favorite desserts. For her birthday, I decided to make a homemade version!
One Gooey Bar on a stack of white plates

Gooey Bars

I was baking a version of Paula Deen’s Gooey Butter Cake long before she was on TV. In fact, one of the nurses I worked with shared the recipe before I was married. Way back when. We were creating an array of holiday treats for the staff on our oncology unit. Both of us dug through the recipe cards copied from our mothers for some old favorites. This was one of Anne’s.

Katie - the birthday girl all ready for here Gooey Butter Bars

Gooey Butter Cake Recipe

The hubby and my oldest two children beg me to make these, the youngest is not a fan at all. Made with a yellow cake mix and a huge amount of powdered sugar, the results were a cloying dessert with an artificial taste.  So when Katie requested these as her birthday cake this year, I remembered that a few friends, like Lindsey of Gingerbread Bagels (a retired blogger), made a totally from scratch recipe. The whole family loved this version of gooey bars. I’m certain I’ll still make the cake mix version on occasion when time is tight!

Gooey Bars for Katie's Birthday

Gooey Bars for Katie's Birthday

Gooey Bars, a classic St. Louis treat, adapted from Gingerbread Bagels

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Yield 24 bars


Bottom Layer

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Top Layer

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 16 ounce box of powdered sugar, sifted, reserve a few tablespoons for sprinkling over top


  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Line 9 x 13 inch pan with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Sift together the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and kosher salt into a large mixing bowl. Mix till blended. Add the egg, melted butter and milk. Mix to combine completely.
  3. Press the dough evenly in the bottom of prepared pan
  4. To prepare top layer, beat the cream cheese until it’s smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla and melted butter. Mix until combined. Mix in powdered sugar and mix until may have a few small lumps.
  5. Pour the batter on top of the bottom layer. Spread it out evenly.
  6. Bake 35-40 minutes. Sprinkle with reserved powdered sugar when cool.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 bar

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 274 Total Fat: 12g Saturated Fat: 7g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 53mg Sodium: 185mg Carbohydrates: 41g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 31g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 2g
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