The Best Gooey Butter Cake Recipe (From Scratch)

The Best Gooey Butter Cake Recipe (Similar to Chess Squares and Philadelphia Style Cake) #holidays #christmasSay hello to The Best Gooey Butter Cake Recipe (From Scratch) we’ve ever tried! This is the solution to all your holiday dessert needs.

The Best Gooey Butter Cake Recipe From Scratch (Similar to Chess Squares and Philadelphia Style Cake) #holidays #christmas
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Sticky-sweet ooey gooey butter cake… Ever tried it?

If not, you have been missing out!

Gooey butter cake is a simple two-layered snack cake with a soft sumptuous top layer and a tender crumbly almost shortbread-like layer on the bottom. It originated in St. Louis, Missouri nearly a century ago, and is similar to other regional treats like southern Chess Squares and Philadelphia Style Cake.

I like gooey butter cake the most, if only for its name.

The Best Gooey Butter Cake Recipe From Scratch (Similar to Chess Squares and Philadelphia Style Cake) #holidays #christmas


There are countless recipes on the web for semi-homemade and made-from-scratch Gooey Butter Cake, Chess Squares, and Philadelphia Style Cake.

I’ve tried many of them. So many of them.

In fact, when I decided to make my own Gooey Butter Cake Recipe, I tested the cake-mix version, the scratch-made yeast version, cream cheese and non cream cheese versions, and nut versions… All in the same week.

You could say I get a little obsessive at times.

Best Gooey Butter Cake Recipe From Scratch (Similar to Chess Squares and Philadelphia Style Cake) #holidays #christmas

Honestly, they were all pretty good. However the cake-mix version was definitely missing something, while the scratch-made yeast versions were just too darn lengthy to make.

In the end, I took what I felt were the best elements of each recipe and created my own.

Making The Best Gooey Butter Cake Recipe From Scratch (Similar to Chess Squares and Philadelphia Style Cake) #holidays #christmas

So here it is, The Best Gooey Butter Cake Recipe (From Scratch) we’ve ever tried or made. I’m confident you will think so too.

Our Best Gooey Butter Cake Recipe is the perfect dessert for holiday season. Decadent hand-held treats with massive homey appeal!

Our Best Gooey Butter Cake Recipe From Scratch (Similar to Chess Squares and Philadelphia Style Cake) #holidays #christmas

Serve at Halloween, Thanksgiving, and/or Christmas Dinner. Take them to parties. Wrap and mail as holiday gifts. Mix things up your holiday cookie exchange. The possibilities are endless.

One thing is for sure, no one can resist the Best Gooey Butter Cake Recipe.

Perfect Gooey Butter Cake Recipe From Scratch (Similar to Chess Squares and Philadelphia Style Cake) #holidays #christmas

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The Perfect Gooey Butter Cake Recipe From Scratch (Similar to Chess Squares and Philadelphia Style Cake) #holidays #christmas

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Best-Ever Gooey Butter Cake Recipe From Scratch (Similar to Chess Squares and Philadelphia Style Cake) #holidays #christmas

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The Best Gooey Butter Cake Recipe (From Scratch)

Yield: 40+ pieces

Prep Time:15 minutes

Cook Time:55 minutes

5 / 5 (3 Reviews)
Did you make this recipe?   Leave a review »

Absolutely The BEST Gooey Butter Cake Recipe (From Scratch) we’ve ever tested! Similar to Chess Squares and Philadelphia Style Cake.


For the Bottom Layer:

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds, ground
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 12 tablespoons melted butter

For the Top Layer:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almonds extract (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 X 13 inch baking dish with parchment paper and set aside. Place the almonds in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt to the food processor. Pulse to combine. Then add the eggs and butter. Turn the food processor on low and run until the mixture forms soft crumby dough.
  2. Dump the dough into the prepared pan. Lightly press the dough evenly over the surface of the pan. Don’t pack it down too much. Set aside.
  3. For the top layer, wipe out the food processor bowl and add the cream cheese. Turn on high and whip to soften. Scrape the bowl with a spatula, then add the eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Beat the mixture again until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Scrape the bowl again, and mix one more time to make sure there are no clumps.
  4. Pour the mixture over the bottom layer. Place on the middle rack in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes. The top should be golden and puffed up in the center when it’s done. If the top starts to turn dark before it puffs up, lay a loose piece of foil over the top to stop the browning, and continue baking.
  5. Allow the gooey butter cake to cool completely at room temperature. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

NOTE: For best cutting results, chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before cutting. If you are in a rush, but want pretty pieces, place the pan in the freezer for 30-45 minutes. Then lift the entire cake out of the pan by the edges of the parchment and cut.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 40+ pieces, Serving Size: 1 square

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 170 Calories
  • Total Fat: 6.8g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.7g
  • Cholesterol: 39mg
  • Sodium: 82mg
  • Carbohydrates: 26.1g
  • Fiber: 0.4g
  • Sugar: 19.4g
  • Protein: 2.3g
All images and text ©

Making this recipe? Why not take a quick shot and share it on Instagram! Make sure to tag it #ASpicyPerspective so we can see what you're cooking!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Barn Light Electric. All porcelain-enameled loving opinions are my own. 

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19 comments on “The Best Gooey Butter Cake Recipe (From Scratch)

  1. Jenny Flakeposted October 24, 2016 at 9:09 am Reply

    Ahhhh, butter cake is the best!  So dangerous, lol!!

    Rating: 5
  2. Maria Lichtyposted October 24, 2016 at 9:45 am Reply

    This looks gooey and delicious!

  3. Heather Christoposted October 24, 2016 at 9:58 am Reply

    Um, yesssss. this looks awesome.

  4. nicolthepickleposted October 24, 2016 at 12:00 pm Reply

    Sad this this is US only not for Canada too, because it’s gorgeous. But oh, that butter cake……PERFECTION!

  5. Emily @ Life on Foodposted October 24, 2016 at 3:22 pm Reply

    Why oh why haven’t I tired this before? Drooling over here.

  6. Kevin @ Closet Cookingposted October 24, 2016 at 7:52 pm Reply

    This gooey butter cake looks soo good!

  7. Rebecca {foodie with family}posted October 25, 2016 at 9:07 am Reply

    Oh WOW does this cake look decadent and amazing!

  8. Marla Meridithposted October 25, 2016 at 9:10 pm Reply

    OMG ~ can’t take how amazing this looks!!

  9. Amy Lposted November 3, 2016 at 10:06 am Reply

    The pie in the picture above looks yummy! What kind is it, and is there a recipe link?

    • Sommerposted November 9, 2016 at 6:21 pm Reply

      Hi Amy,

      Sharp Eye… That is Cinnamon Pie and the recipe will be posted next week. :)

  10. Genevieveposted November 22, 2016 at 2:39 am Reply

    Hi Sommer
    Just wondering if six cups of powdered sugar would make the top layer too sweet

    • Sommerposted November 23, 2016 at 7:03 pm Reply

      HI Genevieve,

      These bars are definitely sweet, but we love them! You could add a little less sugar if you like, but may need to bake them a few minutes longer.

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  13. Pingback: a very delicious gooey butter cake – Drizzle & Dip

  14. Pamposted November 18, 2017 at 11:17 am Reply

    Hi. I just saw your recipe. May I ask a substitution for the ground almonds for someone who has nut allergy. Thank you. 

  15. Ainsleyposted April 1, 2018 at 8:44 pm Reply

    I didn’t have almonds, but it still turned out so delicious!

    Rating: 5
  16. Concettaposted May 21, 2018 at 11:43 pm Reply

    This is by far the best version of the gooey butter cake I’ve tried. I think the almonds make a huge difference and NOT using a cake mix. Haven’t tried the yeast version but am curious.

    Rating: 5