Momofuku’s Butter Cake Bars

Posted by on Jan 17, 2012 in Desserts | 77 Comments







Claude could not sleep. No, he could not.

Drip, drip, drip went the sound. Beside him, Marie slept. Claude felt betrayed.

Drip, drip, drip. Each (drip) sound (drip) felt like (drip) a bullet in his eye (drip DRIP). He grabbed the covers in one hand and tossed them aside, grumbling as he walked.

Along the way, he picked up his slippers and his robe. He pulled down the sides of his nightcap until the soft fabric covered his ears. He shushed the dog who lifted his head.

Claude walked across the room and peered at the pipes. Drip drip drip. He was getting closer. He felt his teeth come together and grind down as his slippers turned cold. The floor was wet. The cold ran up his bare legs like a shock.

He brought his face very close to the pipe and wished he had brought the lamp. Then, he stopped. He sniffed. Drip drip drip. The air smelled sweet, like when Marie made caramels on the stove. The smell made him stop, made the drips fade. For a moment, Claude relaxed. He breathed in the smell of sugar, of sticky delight.

He felt a drop on his nose. The wetness dripped down over his cheek and onto his tongue. Sweetness. Butter. Claude’s eyes widened.

He cast his gaze on the ceiling, following the drop and its silk-like thread. Butter. Unmistakeable. Sugar. A bite of salt. Another fell on his tongue, then another and another. Claude stared at the ceiling in wonder, at the rain that fell there.







You guys, listen. Nicole says this is one of the best desserts she’s ever had. Maybe we should listen to her.

This dessert is crazy rich and comes with some crazy street cred (from Momofuku Milk Bar goddess Christina Tosi’s Grandma Rosemary. Thank you, Gilt Taste, for delivering such information to us. We love you.) Ours is drippier and ooyier to mimic your drool.







 







 Ooey Gooey Butter Cake Bars

From Momofuku Milk Bar via Wee Eats | Makes 64 1-inch bars | Print Recipe

Ingredients

1 box of yellow cake mix (1 pound)
4 ounces of butter, melted
3 eggs
8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1 pound (16 ounces) of powdered sugar
1 tsp. of vanilla extract

Prepare

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an 8 x 8 inch pan with parchment paper.

2. Make the base first: mix together cake mix, butter and 1 egg.

3. Pat into pan, create an even layer.

4. Make the ooey gooey layer: Cream together the cream cheese, 2 eggs, sugar and vanilla.

5. Pour gooey layer over cake layer, spread to edges.

6. Bake for 45 minutes* or until edges are golden brown, center should be a creamy yet solid consistency like cheesecake or heaven. (*updated)

7. Cool completely in pan before cutting into 1-inch sqaures with a clean, dry knife. For best square results, pop into freezer and chill before slicing.


77 Comments

  1. Anita Menon
    January 17, 2012

    Beautiful imagery… and the cake bars look so yummy

    Reply
    • Judi
      January 17, 2012

      Thanks! And congrats on getting published, Anita! So cool!

      Reply
  2. wee eats
    January 18, 2012

    beautiful photos – and i love the story :)

    Reply
  3. Melissa
    January 22, 2012

    Oh my goodness, I’m literally drooling right now. These look like exactly what I’m positively aching for at this very moment. If I wasn’t in the hospital, I would make and eat an entire pan in an instant.

    Reply
    • Melissa
      January 22, 2012

      I’m assuming that you took the photos before letting them cool completely? And do you think that adding orange or lemon zest to the topping would work well?

      Reply
      • Nicole
        January 23, 2012

        These were actually cooled overnight when I took the photos. I’m not sure if I didn’t cook them all the way or why they were so drippy, but they tasted amazing so I’m not complaining! And if you eat it with a spoon as soon as it comes out of the oven it’s even more delicious!

        Reply
        • Melissa
          January 28, 2012

          I’ll be surprised if I can wait for them to finish cooking before I sear my mouth on them. Your photos make me ACHE for that drippy deliciousness!

          Reply
        • Rachel
          July 16, 2012

          There is a small bakery in Croyden, PA (outside of North East Philadelphia) called Fritz’ that makes a Gooey Butter Cake this gooey. I’ve been trying to find a recipe to replicate but they all seem too “stiff”. It looks like that maybe I’ve just been overbaking it (I waited until the center was golden brown). I’m going to try again today or tomorrow and bake it for a shorter time (I baked for 42 minutes and may try closer to 35 minutes). I hope I get the gooeiness. I’ve also heard great reviews on using a chocolate cake instead of a yellow cake for anyone that wants to try something different. :)

          Reply
  4. Wanderlusting Expat
    January 27, 2012

    those look amaaaaaaazing

    Reply
  5. Red
    January 29, 2012

    Gooey butter cakes always has a gooey top. If not it’s overbooked. Best to make it the day before in the fridge and top with powdered sugar. This “cake” is a St. Louis tradition!

    Reply
  6. Dori
    January 29, 2012

    I am definitely going to make these!

    Reply
  7. Nicole
    January 31, 2012

    This looks a lot like St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake, delicious! I love the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook, I’ve only made the crack pie so far, but I have a bunch of other recipes in it bookmarked for later.

    Reply
  8. taash
    February 1, 2012

    Great, up until I reached the part about cake mix. Maybe I can substitute a recipe’s worth of real cake?

    Reply
    • Nicole
      February 1, 2012

      Probably you can, just the dry ingredients though I would think since that’s what the cake mix is.

      Reply
  9. Diana
    February 3, 2012

    You can also substitute a lemon cake mix for the bottom crust instead of the yellow cake mix. I do that and I also use the butter cake mix also instead of the yellow cake mix. Lemon is my husbands favorite.

    Reply
    • Nicole
      February 3, 2012

      that’s a great idea, sounds delicious!

      Reply
  10. Blair
    February 3, 2012

    My grandmother has made this recipe for 50+ years. We call it “buttermilk cake”. My friends call it “crack cake” because every time I make it for an event they inhale it in 10 minutes.

    Reply
  11. Tobias @ T and Tea Cake
    February 4, 2012

    One word: AMAZING!
    You say they are rich and I believe you.
    I see the 4oz of butter and I know for sure but HELL I would totally skip dinner for them. Like, for a week or so…

    Cheers,
    Tobias

    Reply
  12. Elaine R.
    February 4, 2012

    I tried this recipe and unfortunately did not get the same result — perhaps it did not bake long enough? I let them fully cool before cutting, but they were still a gooey mess (gooey to the extent that they would not hold together and seemed a blend of cake and goo. I let them bake for 40 minutes until edges were golden brown, but the cake part wasn’t baked except at the very bottom, apparently. I thought I had the right consistency, but guess not. Thoughts/suggestions? I have looked up similar recipes since then that have the same ingredients but say to use a 13″x9″ pan — Has anyone tried that approach? Either way, I have to admit ‘they’ are still quite tasty and I will take the credit for inventing them as ‘butter cake pudding’ to be consumed in servings by the tablespoon… Joking (kind of). Any suggestions are appreciated!

    Reply
    • Nicole
      February 5, 2012

      I had that happen the first time I made it too, it was delicious, but very messy to cut! The second time I made it, I just baked it longer until the inside is starting to brown too and it came out perfect. So I would suggest just baking it a little longer.

      Reply
      • Elaine R.
        February 10, 2012

        Awesome, thanks!! I’ll definitely try that next time.

        Reply
    • Cindy
      June 4, 2012

      I have been using this recipe since 1978, long before Paula Deen added a second stick of butter and passed it off as her own recipe. Here in St. Louis, where it was invented, it is called gooey butter cake. I always use a 9 X 13 pan, only bake it 30 minutes, and cut it into 24 pieces. Cutting an 8 X 8 pan into 64 pieces is ludicrous. With a whole stick of butter in the base, parchment paper is not necessary. If you don’t believe me, then just spray the pan instead. I also use only about half that amount of sugar, although my recipe calls for one pound.

      Reply
      • Linda
        July 19, 2012

        I, too, have been making gooey butter cakes for years, and now into gooey butter cookies, with endless varieties. Love them.

        Reply
        • Jane Didway
          November 10, 2012

          Gooey butter cookies! Could you share your recipe? I have always made gooey butter cake but last weekend, while visiting the StL area, I had gooey butter cookies and have not been able to get them off my mind! They were delicious!

          Reply
    • Sarah
      September 3, 2012

      I had the same trouble too. I think I will try these in a 13×9 pan next time.

      Reply
  13. Brenda
    February 10, 2012

    OMG! Drooling! I need to make these ASAP!

    Reply
  14. Ann
    February 10, 2012

    I have made these for years, in MS we call them Chess Squares for their similarity to chess pie. Totally addictive,and are good with lemon cake mix as well.

    Reply
  15. Susan Wetter
    February 13, 2012

    I make this same recipe, but instead of vanilla, I use one tsp. almond extract in the cake part and another tsp. in the gooey part. We refer to it as Gooey Bars.

    Reply
  16. Susan Wetter
    February 13, 2012

    Try the recipe omitting the vanilla. INSTEAD Use 1 tsp. almond extract in the cake part, and another tsp. in the gooey part.
    We call these Gooey Bars. Yummy!

    Reply
  17. james t
    February 13, 2012

    The cooking time is extremely conservative. I’d go for almost 50min vs. 30min. Also, the 8X8 inch pan is too shallow to allow full cooking of the cream cheese topping. I’d recommend a standard 9X11 pan for proper baking and nice cutting into squares.

    Reply
    • Denise
      July 5, 2012

      I totally agree. I guess I should have read the reviews before I made it!!

      Reply
  18. Weekly Menu Plan « Monica's Nest
    February 16, 2012

    [...] thought of attempting to focus on an involved recipe makes me want to cry, so they’re getting Momofuku’s Butter Cake Bars instead. Not as awesome, but they’re supposed to be delicious! I hope everyone likes [...]

    Reply
  19. Timothy
    February 21, 2012

    I made them for the annual Wild Game dinner my 90 year-old Grandfather has hosted for 32 of the last 33 years. Last year his wife of 67 years, my grandmother, died; so, it was good to have it again. I think I backed them at 40-42 minutes and then threw them in the fridge over night. This worked pretty well, only the center was somewhat runny. The recipe is basic and open for altering. Nuts, other flavors et al, would be served well. I was almost scared to try them, thank god. They were all eaten, my friend had three in ~10 minutes, UGGGHHHH! My teeth hurt just thinking about such a feat. This is so simple that I know I will repeat it.

    Critiques: One egg in the base was not enough, I used two. Also, I used an extra 2 oz of butter in the base. THis worked like a charm. I mistakenly used wax paper instead of parchment. Do not follow my lead on this. Always use parchment. I am lucky there was not a fire, also, the wax paper will stick to the top layer. There is enough butter in the bottom for it not to stick at all. Thank you so very much.

    Reply
    • Nicole
      February 21, 2012

      Great suggestions! We’ve adjusted the cooking time in the recipe because we seem to be hearing that from a lot of people, thanks!

      Reply
  20. momofukus butter cake bars
    February 27, 2012

    [...] me so I ate the top off.  Anyway, if you look at all the comments from Tastspotting.com and from Some Kitchen Stories (who posted these on Tastespotting) you will see many a fabulous comment.  We all got the recipe [...]

    Reply
  21. Cassi Kwast
    February 27, 2012

    I used one of those “Perfect Brownie Pans” and let it bake for 40 minutes. It was way over baked!! But, my own fault for not checking on it. All I can say is, if it was this tasty over baked, I can’t wait to make it again, and try it when it’s properly made!!

    Reply
  22. Evelyn
    February 28, 2012

    This looks like Philadelphia Butter Cake. This has been sold in bakeries in the Philly area for my whole life. Funny, how I thought it was a local speciality. Anyway, I never knew how it was made. I’m going to try this recipe and see if it’s as good as what we had when I was a kid. Might be a nice Easter dinner dessert. Found this posted on Pinterest.

    Reply
  23. what’s up | MamaFace Says
    March 2, 2012

    [...] back in time, Sunday’s Pinterest Recipe, (a new tradition), was Butter Bars. Based on the name of the recipe alone, you would assume and you’d be right, that these would [...]

    Reply
  24. Gooey Butter Cake Bars | Butter and a Pinch of Salt
    March 11, 2012

    [...] Gooey butter-cake bars. I believe this recipe has southern origins in St. Louis, Missouri. I’m also fairly certain Paula Dean originally made it famous. It’s called butter cake after all. This particular version comes from the Momofuku Milk Bar book, which tweaks the original a bit to make the centre a touch gooey-er. It’s a good thing. Trust me. [...]

    Reply
  25. Tavia
    March 13, 2012

    I made these and they were so good! I think I cooked them a bit longer than you, as mine weren’t as runny. Very tasty.

    Reply
  26. Serena
    April 2, 2012

    Hi ladies, if one happened to live in the UK and need to make the cake mix from scratch – ie eggs, flour etc, can you suggest a suitable recipe? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Nicole
      April 2, 2012

      Hey Serena, I can’t guarantee this will work, but I would guess use a cake mix recipe like this one http://allrecipes.com/recipe/davids-yellow-cake/ and omit all of the wet ingredients since the butter bars recipe only uses the dry cake mix. So take out the butter, eggs, milk & vanilla. hopefully that works!

      Reply
  27. nicole
    April 4, 2012

    my mom used to make ooey gooey butter bars when i was a kid, and yeah– your imagery is spot on. they are THE greatest dessert ever invented.

    Reply
  28. JMS
    April 5, 2012

    8×8 pan seems too small to get 64 one inch squares .. is that a typo ?

    Reply
    • Nicole
      April 5, 2012

      They can be very small squares, they’re super rich all you need is a tiny square!

      Reply
    • Xx
      January 12, 2013

      8″ times 8″ equals 64 square inches… Thus 64 1″ by 1″ squares

      Reply
  29. gooey butter cake « Town Mouse and Country Mouse
    April 24, 2012

    [...] adapted from some kitchen stories [...]

    Reply
  30. Stacy
    April 29, 2012

    I made this and it came out great. I cut back the amount of powdered by 4 oz (25 %) because a pound seemed like too much for a cake of this size. You need enough to create the gooey texture, but otherwise why waste ingredients? Baked it for a little under 40 mins because my oven tends to run hot. I used a disposable foil pan from the supermarket because I didn’t have an 8 x 8 cake pan. The top browned lightly, and when cooled it crackled when cut, and the next layer is nicely soft without being runny. Do let the cake cool off entirely before cutting. I found one large egg was enough for the bottom layer. Gave some to a friend, and she loved it. I’m trying hard not to snack on the remaining pieces, and I’m losing that battle. Posted picture of my result here: http://pinterest.com/pin/251497960411295040/

    Reply
  31. Vickie
    May 30, 2012

    My Mom passed this recipe along to us…she always called it “Gooey Cake”. It can be made even “yummier” I know how ?you are thinking! Add some pecans to the bottom layer before baking…Yumo!
    One more thing–we make ours in a 9×13 cake pan

    Reply
  32. Natalie
    June 2, 2012

    I am going to be making these tonight! They look so yummy. I hope I succeed!

    Reply
  33. Riley
    June 5, 2012

    for the cake part do you actually make the box cake? like with the oil and eggs or just mix the cake mix butter and 1 egg?

    Reply
    • Nicole
      June 6, 2012

      No, just use the dry part of the cake mix, butter and 1 egg.

      Reply
  34. Jennifer
    June 24, 2012

    Has anyone tried using more than the 1 8oz package of cream cheese? I feel like the top is too sweet and not creamy enough!

    Reply
  35. Revee
    July 7, 2012

    Should you refrigerate if making it the day before a gathering, or is it okay to stay out overnight?

    Reply
    • Nicole
      July 7, 2012

      It’s probably fine either way, but I would refrigerate it so it keeps it’s shape and is easier to handle

      Reply
  36. Alice
    July 8, 2012

    My mother and her mother made this for many years. Their recipe was called “Girdle Busters”, lol. Probably dating myself on that one.

    Reply
    • Nicole
      July 8, 2012

      lol that name sounds appropriate

      Reply
  37. Cindy
    July 11, 2012

    Great Recipe – everyone loved them and now I am gong to attempt a chocolate gooey bar !!

    Reply
  38. Michael
    August 4, 2012

    Oh my god! These things are delicious! I didn’t have an 8×8 pan nor parchment paper, so I made it in a 10 inch spring-form pan (lightly sprayed with cooking spray). Then cut it like a pie…I cant get enough of these, soooo glad I tried it!

    Reply
  39. Alicia Ragsdale
    September 17, 2012

    Wow, I am in the minority here. I made these tonight for a group of friends and we all thought they we sickeningly sweet. Maybe the 1 lb of powdered sugar should have been a giveaway. Anyhow, I’m an avid baker so I’d sure love to try something else posted on this blog and give it another try.

    Reply
    • Nicole
      September 17, 2012

      Yes, they are very sweet & rich! That’s what makes them so delicious. You have to be a fan of sweet things for a dessert like this, especially with a name like Gooey Butter Bars!

      Reply
  40. Vickie
    December 24, 2012

    Hey these are really good,if you want to like lemon, they are really good with lemon cake mix

    Reply
    • Vickie
      December 24, 2012

      I meant to say if you like lemon

      Reply
  41. Kerie Waller
    December 27, 2012

    I cannot wait to try these, also if I didn’t know this was page was about food I would swear you were all pervs. LOL! Such filthy descriptive mouths! :)

    @Melissa “Your photos make me ACHE for that drippy deliciousness!”

    Reply
  42. Gail
    March 29, 2013

    I made these today and they we so easy to make. Unfortunately due to my oven working hotter than it should they were a little over-cooked and not gooey. Still really good and taste something like cheesecake. I will try again for perfection.

    Reply
  43. Pinterest Wins | with whimsy
    June 6, 2013

    [...] Momofuku’s Butter Cake Bars [...]

    Reply
  44. cathy
    July 8, 2013

    I made these with a lemon cake and lemon extract-they were divine!

    Reply
  45. robin
    October 23, 2013

    Philadelphia gooey butter cake is a completely different recipe. It has a bottom made from scratch not cake mix, and the top does not use cream cheese. Its much better imo. I will post the recipe later.

    Reply
  46. FRAN
    October 23, 2013

    This sounds good, have you ever made it with chocolate?? Everyone I know always wants only chocolate cake.

    Reply
  47. Birthday Cake Bars | with lovely,with lovely,
    November 4, 2013

    […] Adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar via Some Kitchen Stories […]

    Reply
  48. bekka
    November 13, 2013

    This is Paula Deen’s Gooey Butter cake recipe. I made it for my mom’s birthday. You only changed it to bars. Give credit.

    Reply
  49. Momofuku’s Butter Cake Bars | Food and Everything Else
    December 4, 2013

    […] Directions@ Some Kitchen Stories <CLICK HERE […]

    Reply
  50. Judy
    January 19, 2014

    I made this in a 13×9 pan and I cut the baking time to 30 minutes. This does not last long. It doesn’t even make a day. I use other cake mixes too. Chocolate, lemon, pound cake. This is my son’s favorite recipe.

    Reply
  51. Bob Marley
    February 16, 2014

    I made these, got really stoned and ate the whole batch.

    Reply
  52. Diana
    April 4, 2014

    Just made these bars – they are delicious!! I baked them in an 8×8 pan as directed, but they did end up baking for ~55 minutes instead of the 45 min in the directions. I waited until the center kind of puffed up and started to get light brown spots. They were perfect after that. Would recommend cutting down on the 1 lb of sugar though…I used maybe 2/3 lbs and it was still really sweet (but delicious).

    Reply
  53. Bethenia
    April 15, 2014

    I’ve had this on my Food and Beverage Pinterest board for a while and just now came to see the recipe. I had my hopes up on making this because it looked so good but I’m disappointed to see that it’s made with boxed cake mix, instead of being a real made-from-scratch recipe. If I wanted to make something from a box, I’d just get the whole desert bar in a box mix!

    Reply

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