A Spicy Perspective

The Best Gooey Butter Cake Recipe (From Scratch)

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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.

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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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The Best Gooey Butter Cake Recipe From Scratch (Similar to Chess Squares and Philadelphia Style Cake) #holidays #christmas
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5 from 21 votes
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The Best Gooey Butter Cake Recipe (From Scratch)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Absolutely The BEST Gooey Butter Cake Recipe (From Scratch) we've ever tested! Similar to Chess Squares and Philadelphia Style Cake.
Servings: 40 pieces


For the Bottom Layer:

For the Top Layer:


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Serving: 2squares, Calories: 172kcal, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 35mg, Sodium: 85mg, Potassium: 67mg, Fiber: 0g, Sugar: 19g, Vitamin A: 210IU, Calcium: 29mg, Iron: 0.6mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Sommer Collier

Making this recipe? Follow us on Instagram and tag @ASpicyPerspective so we can share 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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51 comments on “The Best Gooey Butter Cake Recipe (From Scratch)”

  1. Pingback: 8 Gooey Bar Recipes You'll Love - Your Recipe Box

  2. Can this recipe have additional flavors added to it? Like apple or pumpkin, maybe chocolate?

    • Hi Samantha,

      If you are using spice blends (like apple pie spice) or extracts you can definitely add in flavors. However, I’m not sure how real fruit or chocolate will change the texture. Hope this helps! :)

  3. I have a question for making the night before what would be the best way to store it so it’s still keeps its flavor and freshness and texture?

  4. Hey there,

    I’m interested in making this for my boyfriends birthday. We now live in Colorado, and I am still trying to get used to baking in high altitudes…any advice on baking at a higher elevation?

  5. Hi! I am very interested in trying this for the first time, however,  I am allergic to nuts. Can I just leave out the almonds and do I have to make any adjustments if I do?

  6. This is great recipe. Everyone whose tried it loves it. Even had one person from St Louis say its the best they had. Great texture. I think the ground almonds are the key but with butter, cream cheese and sugar its all good!

  7. I just made this a second time to make sure that the first time wasn’t a fluke. Nope, this is the best gooey butter cake that I or my family and acquaintances have eaten, and we all grew up in. St. Louis . I was forced to exchange the flour for Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 gluten free flour blend because of recent medical issues. Nobody, and I mean nobody knew the difference. Thanks Sommer for not only meeting a need, but exceeding it.

  8. Hello,

    Is there a difference if i mix it in the mixer than in the food processor? Considering the almonds are already grounded of course.
    Thanks :)

  9. So rich and delicious! YUM!

  10. I am so excited to make this recipe! My mother used to make something similar growing up. Saving this one for sure!

  11. Being a St. Louis native, I always love comparing gooey butter cake recipes! This is great!

  12. I love making cookies from scratch! This was really amazing!

  13. I LOVE Butter Cake, but have never seen it done like this! So, I had to try it! IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT! Thank you!

  14. Hi, 
    Can you make with Almond flour or Coconut Flour instead of All-Purpose Flour?

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  17. Hi – can I replace the ground almonds with Almond Flour? Can’t wait to try this recipe 😊

  18. I’ve made this cake twice so far. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe, it tastes incredible! The only issue I’m having with it is the appearance. There are different sized bubbles and cracks on the surface. Any ideas how to make a smoother looking cake?

    • I haven’t made this yet, but when I bake cheesecakes I also put in a pan of water on the bottom rack. the moisture helps keep the cheesecake from cracking on the surface. bet it would work with this too – will be trying it today

  19. Hi Sommer,

    My friend’s birthday is coming soon, and she likes these Ooey Gooey Butter Cakes by Prairie City Bakery that are typically available in convenience stores. To surprise her I’d like to make one of these cakes from scratch, and your recipe is exactly what I was looking for! My question is, if I wanted to give the top layer a lemon flavor (her favorite), how much fresh squeezed lemon juice would I have to add? Also, if I wanted the top layer to have a peanut butter flavor (my favorite), how much peanut butter would I have to add in that case?
    Thank you so much for posting this recipe!

    • Hi Chris,

      Without testing the recipe with these ingredients, it’s hard to say. I might swap the almond extract for lemon extract, instead of juice, because it’s stronger. As for adding peanut butter, it will definitely change the texture of the top. I would start by swapping some of the cream cheese for creamy peanut butter. Maybe 1/3 to 1/2? Hope this helps!

  20. Made this amazing cake many times but still don’t know how to test for doneness. Anybody know? It’s always a guessing game because it’s so gooey.

  21. Pingback: Gooey Butter Cake (from scratch) - Feeding a large family with little time

  22. 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.

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

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

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

  26. Pingback: A very delicious gooey butter cake recipe | Drizzle and Dip

  27. Pingback: How To Care for Porcelain Enamelware | Blog | BarnLightElectric.com

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

    • 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.

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

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

  31. Oh WOW does this cake look decadent and amazing!

  32. This gooey butter cake looks soo good!

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

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

  35. Um, yesssss. this looks awesome.

  36. This looks gooey and delicious!

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