Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Strawberry Butter Cake Bars

I tried the original Paula Deen "Gooey Butter Cake" recipe first and my family practically inhaled them. I went to look for my camera to take a picture and by the time I found it they were gone. They were scrumptious. Extremely rich (a whole cup of butter), but tasty. Oh, so tasty. I liked them better when they had cooled completely. They had this lovely texture--slightly flaky on top, chewy around the edges and soft and melty in the middle. They are easy to make too which is always a good thing in my opinion. I like cooking, but sometimes you want to just be able to whip something up quick.

After my family scarfed down the first batch, I wanted to make more, but I didn't have another yellow cake mix. Then I had a stroke of inspiration. I had a container of strawberry cream cheese in the fridge that no one seemed to be interested in, so I thought I'd try a strawberry variation on the original.

While the original version received unanimous approval from my clan, the strawberry version received slightly mixed reviews. Tank said they were too strawberry-y.  Stretch said they were really good but he liked the other kind a little better. Monkey said he preferred the strawberry kind. Specs ate them without any complaint. My husband and I both enjoyed them but agreed that the original version was superior. Nevertheless, I've decided to share my variation here because they were still pretty darn good.

Danger: These are not a low calorie food. Consuming two 9x13 pans of them in 48 hours (with the help of your family) will not do your waistline any favors. You'll practically be able to feel your arteries clogging. You have been warned.

Still, sometimes the reward is worth the risk (wink, wink).

You will need:
For the crust:
1 strawberry cake mix
1 egg
1/2 cup butter, melted

For the Filling:
1 8-ounce container of strawberry flavored cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter, melted
1  pound of powdered sugar (about 3 3/4 cups)
Red food coloring (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease a 9x13" pan. This defies logic with all the butter involved in the actual dessert but the sides definitely need at least a light buttering so that the bars come out of the pan cleanly.
1. Combine cake mix, one egg and 1/2 cup melted butter in a large mixing bowl.
2. Mix until well combined.
3. Pat mixture into the 9x13" pan.
4. Wipe out the mixer bowl. Cream the strawberry cream cheese in the mixer.
5. Add in the two eggs one at a time, mixing after each.
6. Add one teaspoon vanilla and continue to mix.
7. Slowly pour melted butter into the mixture.
8. Add two drops of red food coloring (more if you want it darker pink, less if you want it to look kind of orange-ish)
9. Add the powdered sugar a little bit at a time.
10. Continue blending mixture until smooth and well combined.
11. Pour and spread filling over UNbaked cake batter crust.
12. Place in your preheated oven and bake 40 to 50 minutes (I baked mine 45 and they seemed perfect).

Do not over bake. The point here is for the middle to remain slightly gooey. Also you don't want to over-brown the crust because that wouldn't be as good.

There you have it, folks. I dusted mine with powdered sugar before serving because I thought it made them a little prettier. I like the graduated ombré effect from the dark crust to the white powdered sugar topping and all the shades in between. Is that super nerdy of me? I think it's always an added bonus if food can be pretty and tasty.

I'd love to hear if you try these or the original and what you think. Leave me a comment and let me know.


addie said...

I wish I had the ingredients. I need these today. Yes, need. ;) So artery-clogging, so good. Will try soon!

Predilections said...

I'd love to hear what you think if you give them a try. I have those need-sugar-now days myself. :)