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Gooey Butter Cake in a Bag

Recipe and photography by Bev Davis.


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Posted  December 4, 2017

EDITOR'S NOTE (February 7, 2018):  Updated instructions for clarity.

The delicious yellow cake crust for this recipe is easily mixed together in a zippered freezer bag.  Or, use a bowl and fork.  Easy and efficient. I did use an electric mixer for the cream cheese filling.  This recipe is my creative twist on a classic recipe known as The Original Neiman Marcus Bars and Texas Gold.  Also known as Paula Deen's Ooey Gooey Butter Cake.  Those recipes were far too sweet for me.  So, I created a more suitable version.  Used 2 cups of powdered sugar instead of four, salted butter, and lemon juice.   Awesome results! Salted butter will also work.  I also placed the baked cake under the broiler.  The golden brown color is beautiful and tasty.  No need to sprinkle extra powdered sugar on top.  Pretty and scrumptious!  A nice balance of sweetness and lemony flavor. 

The idea to use a bag came to me after a brainstorming session.  I wanted to do something creative, effective, fun, and interesting.  While looking at store-bought bread in a bag, I got the idea to mix the cake in a freezer bag.  Enjoy!

Used a large tablespoon to create this design. 

Pressed tip face down around edges of crust.

Filling poured into crust.  Ready for the oven.

Cake Crust Ingredients

Zippered bag, cake mix, melted butter, and

one beaten egg. 

Filling Ingredients

Powdered sugar not shown.  Use either unsalted butter (pictured) or salted butter in this recipe. I like salted because it softens the sweetness.


1 quart-sized zippered freezer bag (not sandwich bag)*

1 box yellow cake mix

1 large egg

2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted OR salted butter

   (not margarine)* 

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice from one lemon


Cake Crust

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

2. Pour cake mix into bag.  Add one egg and one stick

(8 tablespoons) of melted/cooled butter.  Smooth bag from bottom up to remove air.  Close bag completely.  Check and make sure it's properly closed before proceeding to the next step.

3.  Massage bag to thoroughly combine ingredients.  Do this for about 10 minutes or until batter is smooth.

4.  Remove batter from bag. If there are any dry crumbs, massage in hands until blended and smooth. 

5.  Press a thin layer of batter evenly around bottom and sides of a lightly buttered a 9x13 baking dish.  Cake crust will thicken while baking.


1.  In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the

softened cream cheese until smooth. 

2.  Add two eggs, vanilla, and one stick (8 tablespoons) melted/cooled butter.  Mix well.  Add powdered sugar.

Stir until thoroughly combined.  Add lemon juice. Stir until thoroughly combined.

3.  Spread filling evenly over top of cake batter.  Smooth with back of spoon or spatula.

4.  Bake 40 to 45 minutes.  Oven temperatures vary.  Decrease to 325 degrees if baking too fast.  Avoid over baking.  Gooey center will jiggle slightly  when done.  Knife inserted in center should come out with a little filling on the blade and a clean tip.  If dough is on the tip, return to oven.  Check every 10 minutes...

by inserting knife to see if it comes out clean.  

5.  Carefully remove from oven.  Brown under broiler for

a minute or two. It browns quickly. Watch closely to prevent burning.  Filling will thicken as it cools.  Delicious served hot (like a pudding).  Or, let stand 30 to 40 minutes until firm.  Slice and serve like cake.

Makes one single-layer.


Use freezer bags because they're sturdy.  Sandwich bags tear easily.  If desired, combine cake crust ingredients in a bowl. Stir with a spoon.  The bag and bowl are perfect substitutes for a stand mixer.   Use unsalted  butter to lessen sweetness.  Or, use salted butter for slightly sweeter results.   I baked and served this dessert from a 10" cake pan.