January 2, 2010

who's up for a game of chess?

Gooey Butter Cake. Chess Bars. News flash: They're almost one and the same.

Gimme the goo!
Really, I had no idea. Until my brothers requested some chess bars after having them at one of our holiday gatherings, I didn't have a clue what went into them. I was surprised (and thrilled) that, except for one notable exception, the ingredients are exactly the same as those of the decadent gooey butter cake, made most famous by Ms. Paula Deen. That exception? Paula puts another stick of butter into the cream cheese filling. Geez, Paula. Give your arteries a break--the bars are rich enough!

Nope, there's no way you can go wrong with something so simple, containing so few (high quality) components. This treat is quick work to make and even quicker work to consume. My family's attack on the bars was interesting--both of my brothers drifted toward the edge pieces...

Don't get me wrong--I liked the edges too.
(I guess they liked the more cakey aspect of it. A gender thing, perhaps?)

...while my sister-in-law and I preferred the ooey-gooey-gunky center pieces. Yep, it all worked out quite nicely.

Chess Bars (not to be confused with Paula's over-the-top Gooey Butter Cake)
Cake:
1 18 1/4-ounce package yellow cake mix
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling:
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened (I used low-fat, for what it's worth)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 3/4 cups (1 16-ounce box) powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Spread the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13x9-inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, beat the softened cream cheese until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat together. Carefully add the powdered sugar and mix well. Spread this evenly over the cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to over-bake--some of us want the the center to be a little immensely luscious and gooey.

73 comments:

Julie said...

Count me in...yum!

Leslie said...

But wait..butter makes everything better!!!! lol

kat said...

A super simple treat that does look tasty

Mimi said...

This recipe (and the pumpkin variation) is one of the only reasons I buy cake mixes the other is lemon jello cake.
Mimi

Lindsey@pickyeatings said...

I have to admit, I have never heard of either. But, that doesn't mean I'm not intrigued, because I most definitely am.

Ingrid said...

SO what your saying is.....that these are the healthier version of the ooey gooey butter cake? Thanks I'm wanting to eat healthier and these is a great start! :)
~ingrid

LilSis said...

I'd probably go for the edge pieces myself, but the ooey gooey center sounds awesome, too!

Lucie said...

These look amazingly good! They just might replace my usual weekly blondies once in a while--thanks for the recipe!!

The Food Librarian said...

These look like a fun treat. Happy New Year! - mary the food librarian

lisa said...

I too would head to the gooey, lovely center. Looks delicious!

Susan @ SGCC said...

Absolute decadence, pure and simple! These are sooo getting made this weekend.

Happy New Year!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That must taste terrific!

I love your cute kitties. What contorsionists!

Happy New Year!

Cheers,

Rosa

Hungry Dog said...

Very southern, no? I've had chess pie many a time in Kentucky. This looks decadent and delicious. Happy new year, Grace!

pigpigscorner said...

love the ooey-gooey centre...gorgeous!

Dawn said...

damn. seriously. I've heard of that cake before but never made it. but now after seeing you make it, I want, now.

Lori said...

I have never heard of chess pie... bummer for me. Looks ooey gooey and yummy and chewy. I think I would take either the center or the sides- both sound rather tastey to me.

The Teacher Cooks said...

These look delicious. Very similar to my Park Avenue Bars.

Kate said...

I am with you...bring on the ooey, gooey, chewy middle pieces!

kellypea said...

LOVE Chess Pie. LOVE IT. Leave it to you to make it even better. Cream cheese....Mmmm....

culinography said...

I was first introduced to gooey butter cake by my college roomie (so many years pre-Paula Deen I'd really rather not think about it). And I'd HEARD of Chess Pie, but never knew what was in it. And now? Now I must make it. Soon. So much for that New Year's diet. ;)

♥peachkins♥ said...

I prefer the ooey gooey center as well...

Faith said...

I've never heard of chess pie, but I did have Paula's gooey butter cake for the first time about a year ago (I loved it!). I'll have to try your version, it looks phenomenal! I'm all about the gooey center pieces too! :)

Donna-FFW said...

This sounds seductively sinfully delicious. My type of dessert for sure. I love gooiness also!:):)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Yum! I do love Paula'a recipes but they're not exactly light :P But great to have once in a while. I'm convinced her advice to everyone is "just add another stick of butter".

Pam said...

I had printed off a gooey butter cake recipe to try, since it's been ages since I had one. Both gooey butter cake and I are from St. Louis, you know. Maybe that's why I'm so sweet. :)

WizzyTheStick said...

Never heard of these before but they are similar to something I just baked so I know i will love 'em

Barbara said...

I'm drooling on my keyboard, Grace!
Happy New Year to you!

Kate at Serendipity said...

Grace, you're a bad influence, you know that?

How can I thank you?

shaz said...

Ha ha ha ha..great way to start the year Grace. Yes, bring on the butter and sugar, no fear that's what I like to see :) The bars look very more-ish, I'd like some edges please.

Aux délices des gourmets said...

une excellente douceur pour entamer l'année
bonne journée

Foodie with Little Thyme! said...

Yum and so simple!

kimberleyblue said...

Wow, that is some bad-for-you cake. Sounds just perfect! I love the shot of that gooey middle.

Lisa-Marie said...

Grace, this is making my ' I will not eat so many cakes' plan ery difficult already! These look brilliant!

Sophie said...

me,me,me!

MMMMMMM,...that dessert looks great to start the New Year with this GRAND dessert!

Danielle said...

I made gooey butter cake once...YUM! I made a chess pie last week...way YUM! Now I will have to add this and make it a trifecta! :)

Y said...

I've had gooey butter cake. Can just imagine I'd probably like this too. And I say probably because I think it'd be too dangerous if I actually made it! :P

Erica said...

Simple recipe, but delicious! I love that kind of desserts.

TBS said...

Just made them. Just ate about half the pan. Soooo easy and so good. Thanks for sharing!

megan said...

I love the gooey butter cakes, so I bet I would love these. But another stick of butter?? haha no wonder paula's recipes are always so good ;)

Jessica@Foodmayhem said...

Funny how some like edges and some like centers. I'm usually a center piece gal.

Rebeca @All Vegged Out said...

I've never even heard of chess bars but I think I may need them in my life ASAP!

ovenhaven said...

I've never heard of chess bars either, but it definitely sounds intriguing!

Gloria said...

These look fantastic Grace, yummy!! gloria

Mini Baker said...

i hate chess but i LOVE the look of these bars!
-Mini Baker

Teanna said...

That cake is calling my naaaame! Wow I'd love the ooey gooey center, too!

Chef Jeena said...

I am SO up for a game of chess (looks Amazing!) Happy New Year!

noble pig said...

Okay the filling sounds like a yummy little pocket of scrumptiousness!!! Gimmie some.

Nutmeg Nanny said...

Easy, buttery and delicious...I'm game!

Maria said...

Another tasty treat from your oven. Mmmm!

The Blonde Duck said...

I'd be fighting you for the ooey gooey pieces.

Lynda said...

Gooey bars are high on my list of favorite munchy snacks- these look perfect, especially since they contain cream cheese! I've gotta try these!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

These look like a great kick-off for my New Year's diet. ;-) Sign me up for ooey gooey, please.

Bridgett said...

I think I will start eating healthier after I have a large slice of this!

Lynn said...

Yum. What's not to like? :)

Emily said...

Yum yum yum. I've always wanted to make chess pie. These look great, Grace!

Jaime said...

i've had paula's bars and MAN are they rich! they're a heart attack waiting to happen!

Jacque said...

Oooh, I love Paula's gooey butter cake. Too bad it takes 500 hours in the gym to work off all of that deliciousness.

Still, yours look fantastic and I'd have one (or five) if they were sitting here in front of me.

Kerstin said...

These look so rich and decadent! Sounds like you had great team work going on :)

Lisa said...

These are my husband's absolute favorite! His mother used to make them for every special occasion. They are really so easy and elegant and everyone seems to like them.

Really? Paula adds another stick of butter to the cream cheese filling? Wow...

muffinsareuglycupcakes said...

this sounds like another must-make.
mmm.
happy new year, grace :)

Jeanne @ Cooksister! said...

Oh my... I feel my arteries close up a little just thinking about this decadent deliciousness!

Nishant said...

butter makes everything better!!

Work from home India

Carla and Michael said...

Funny I just printed out PD's GooeyButter Cake recipe last week to try. Now I have a better one to try with 1 less stick of calories. Perfect.Looks the same as hers - YUMMY!
Thanks, Carla

Morta Di Fame said...

those cats are delicious!

Char said...

Oh, dear Paula! I love her fetish with butter.

Deborah said...

We call them ooey gooey bars, and I think it is one of the best recipes ever concocted!!

Martha said...

These bars look delightful. I love easy bar cookie recipes that begin with a cake mix.

MJ said...

Wow. Look forward to trying these super easy chess bars real soon.

potrron said...

These are wonderful, thanks for the share

Foodycat said...

Cream cheese filling... mmmmmm! I've never heard of chess bars, but these look wonderful.

Carolyn Jung said...

Butter AND cream cheese??? But then again, Paula can never turn down any cube that's just laying around in the fridge with nothing to do. ;)

Anonymous said...

I was surprised that so many people had never heard of a "chess bar" it must be a southern only thing. (btw, I would consider KY a southern state regardless of its Civil War standing). Many of you have mentioned Chess pie. Chess pie is completely different from Chess bars. Chess pie to me is like the inside of a pecan pie without the nuts. There is no cake mix in chess pie.

Anonymous said...

Try this with Betty Crocker's Chocolate Fudge cake mix and....OMGosh!