butter cake featured image
Butter Cake is easy to make with a simple box mix shortcut. A chewy butter cake base is topped with a velvety, custard-like cream cheese layer, baked together, then drizzled with butter sauce for serving.
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Ooey gooey Butter Cake recipe is made with a boxed yellow cake mix base that’s covered with a sweet cream cheese layer, baked in the oven until golden brown, and drizzled with a thick butter sauce on top.

This St. Louis-style dessert is buttery, dense, and rich, no matter where you bite, it’s creamy, chewy, sweet, and always delicious.

Butter Cake hero image


Classic Gooey Butter Cake

Our simple Butter Cake recipe is so much easier to make than the classic butter cake that calls for flour, baking powder, and other leavening agents. Why? Because I use a yellow cake mix shortcut that has most of the ingredients already contained in the box.

For this soft butter cake recipe, the bottom cake layer uses just the cake mix (not the other ingredients listed on the box) combined with butter, eggs, and vanilla to form an ultra-buttery batter, then it’s pressed flat in a pan, topped with a smooth, sweet, creamy mixture, and baked into the best butter cake recipe rendition!

Pour a butter sauce over the cream cheese filling and now you have 2 luscious gooey layers that taste like a cross between a yellow sheet cake and a cheesecake bar covered with buttery glaze.

Crisp around the edges like a blondie but soft in the center from a batter that doesn’t fully set, this is the best butter cake recipe because it tastes just like it came from the bakery instead of your own kitchen!

Butter Cake in a baking pan

What is a Butter Cake? The famous Butter Cake fiasco

The first old fashioned butter cake was a bakery mistake! A St. Louis baker reversed the proportions of flour and butter when making the batter and thus, the cake was dense and heavy. He didn’t realize his mistake until after the cake was baked and he was rewarded with a rich, sugary cake with a caramelized crust. But people loved it so it became the best misfortune turned sweet success!

The original Gooey Butter Cake was made with a yeast-raised sweet dough on the bottom, but most recipes today use a cake as the base (or a cake mix for the most basic shortcut!).

Call it a St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake, the Paula Deen Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, or simply Gooey Butter Cake, this no-frills cake consists of two distinct layers: a chewy cake layer and a velvety, custard-like cream cheese layer. It’s now a huge hit and easy to make in your own home!

Why we love Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

  • Quick and easy to make with a cake mix shortcut.
  • Uses a handful of simple ingredients.
  • Sweet and creamy top sits above a chewy butter cake base and served with butter sauce.
  • Ultra buttery batter in every delicious bite!
  • Every forkful is full of sweet butter flavor.
  • Perfect after dinner dessert, snack to serve with coffee or tea, or treat to serve for special occasions or on a brunch buffet.
Butter Cake ingredients

What you’ll need for this Butter Cake Recipe

  • Yellow cake mix
  • Unsalted butter and salted butter
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cream cheese
  • Powdered sugar
  • Granulated sugar
  • Evaporated milk
  • 9×13-inch baking pan
  • Baking spray
  • Hand mixer or stand mixer
  • Saucepan
  • Whisk

Ooey Gooey Butter Cake Recipe substitutions and additions

  • Swap The Butter Sauce: You could alternately top your butter cake with a caramel sauce, whipped cream, fresh fruit, or a dusting of powdered sugar.
  • Make With A Different Mix: You can change the flavor of your cake with a different cake mix. Try angel food cake mix, vanilla lemon, peanut butter, spice cake, chocolate, or any other flavor you choose.
butter cake in a pan

How to make a Butter Cake

  1. Beat The Cake Batter: Beat together the cake mix, butter, eggs, and vanilla and press into the pan.
  2. Make The Cream Cheese Mixture: Beat together the cream cheese, butter, eggs, and vanilla until smooth and fluffy. Add in the powdered sugar and beat until creamy. Spread over the first layer.
  3. Bake: Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes until golden and puffy.
  4. Simmer The Sauce: Simmer the butter, sugar, and evaporated milk for about 5 minutes, whisking regularly, until mixture is golden and thickens. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla extract.
  5. Serve: Pour butter sauce over the cake, either warm or after the cake has cooled, and serve. Enjoy!
Butter Cake collage

Gooey Butter Cake Recipe tips

  • Be sure the eggs (and all ingredients) are at room temperature when mixing the cake layers. This helps them to combine evenly.
  • The bottom cake layer is sticky. If you grease your spatula with a bit of butter or nonstick cooking spray, it will be much easier to press the dough into the pan without it getting stuck to the spatula.
  • Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to keep a close eye on your cake as the suggested baking time approaches.
  • The butter sauce will thicken the longer you cook it. I cooked mine for about 5 minutes, and it was thick enough to hold its shape when poured over the cake. 
  • Use real butter for the best flavor and texture. Most of the flavor in this cake comes from the butter, so don’t use a butter substitute.

How to serve Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

To serve Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, cut it into squares or slices, dust with powdered sugar if desired, and serve warm or at room temperature. It can be enjoyed on its own or paired with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for a delicious treat.

How to store Gooey Butter Cake

  • To Store: Store your butter cake covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  • To Freeze: You can freeze the cake in a freezer safe bag for up to 1 month.
pouring sauce over butter cake

More Easy Cake Recipes

Butter Cake FAQs

Why must the eggs be room temperature?

The eggs should be at room temperature when mixing the cake layers to help them combine evenly. If the eggs are cold, they will harden up the cream cheese while beating it together and cause lumps in the mixture.

What is the difference between a butter cake and a pound cake and Kentucky Butter Cake?

Butter cakes, also known as creamed cakes, have a lighter texture and greater volume than pound cakes. Pound cakes tend to have a denser texture and were originally prepared with one pound each of butter, sugar, eggs and flour. A Kentucky Butter Cake is a moist pound cake with a sweet, buttery sauce that soaks through the cake. The batter is usually baked in a bundt pan and is not layered like a gooey butter cake.

What is another name for ooey gooey butter cake?

Another name for ooey gooey butter cake is “St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake,” as it originated in St. Louis, Missouri.

What nationality is butter cake?

Butter cake does not have a specific nationality as it is a type of cake that is enjoyed in various countries around the world.

What does butter cake taste like?

Butter cake has a rich and buttery flavor with a hint of sweetness. It is moist and tender, with a dense yet soft texture.

Is butter cake the same as yellow cake?

Butter cake is not the same as yellow cake. While both cakes contain butter as an ingredient, yellow cake typically has a lighter and more delicate crumb, while butter cake has a richer and denser texture.

Butter Cake on a plate

Other Easy Desserts

5 from 17 votes
butter cake featured image

Butter Cake Recipe

Serves — 12
Butter Cake is easy to make with a simple box mix shortcut. A chewy butter cake base is topped with a velvety, custard-like cream cheese layer, baked together, then drizzled with butter sauce for serving.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients
  

Cake Layer Ingredients:

  • 1 package yellow cake mix
  • ½ cup unsalted butter melted
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Layer Ingredients:

  • 8 ounce block of cream cheese cut into pieces and softened to room temperature
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter melted
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Butter Sauce Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup salted butter
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13-inch pan with baking spray.
  • Beat together the cake layer ingredients. Press into the prepared pan.
  • Beat cream cheese, butter, eggs, and vanilla until smooth and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add in the powdered sugar and beat until creamy and combined. Spread over the first layer.
  • Bake the butter cake for 40 minutes until golden and puffy.
  • Meanwhile, make a butter sauce by combining butter, sugar, and evaporated milk in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes, whisking regularly, until mixture has turned slightly golden and thickens. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla extract.
  • Pour butter sauce over butter cake (either warm or after the cake has cooled) and serve.

Jenn’s Notes

Storage:
  • To Store: Store your butter cake covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  • To Freeze: You can freeze the cake in a freezer safe bag for up to 1 month.
Tips:
  • Be sure the eggs (and all ingredients) are at room temperature when mixing the cake layers. This helps them to combine evenly.
  • The bottom cake layer is sticky. If you grease your spatula with a bit of butter or nonstick cooking spray, it will be much easier to press the dough into the pan without it getting stuck to the spatula.
  • Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to keep a close eye on your cake as the suggested baking time approaches.
  • The butter sauce will thicken the longer you cook it. I cooked mine for about 5 minutes, and it was thick enough to hold its shape when poured over the cake.
  • Use real butter for the best flavor and texture. Most of the flavor in this cake comes from the butter, so don’t use a butter substitute.

Nutrition Info

Calories: 556kcal | Carbohydrates: 91g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 101mg | Sodium: 511mg | Potassium: 132mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 73g | Vitamin A: 587IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 198mg | Iron: 1mg
Jennifer Fishkind

About Jenn

Jenn is a mom to three beautiful boys, wife to an amazing husband, social influencer and blogger. I love all things easy recipes, easy crafts, all things hacks, traveling EVERYWHERE and feeding my Pinterest addiction!

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Comments

  1. 🤦‍♀️just poured the whole can of evaporated milk… making this during a Super Bowl Party… guess I’m not paying close enough attention… glad I have some ez-gel… add some more butter and sugar… now I have plenty of butter sauce🤷‍♀️otherwise so far so good!

  2. 5 stars
    First time I tried making better cake. It did not disappoint. The recipe was easy to follow and the outcome was fabulous. thanks.

  3. Sounds delicious. Would you please have an option to print the recipe without all the advertisements?

  4. 5 stars
    I cannot wait to try this shortcut to BütterKuchen which is old fashioned traditional German recipe. I’m not sure this Louisiana gentleman created an already much older recipe in existence before America was established?!? We know how Southern Men love to tell extremely exaggerated fish tales 😂 I love this shortcut box cake version 👍

  5. 5 stars
    so far I’ve saved every recipe on this site. I plan to bake them all for my husband. thank you

  6. 5 stars
    I like this recipe because even though it had different layers, it easy to do each layer. I also like the tips to make it easy

  7. 5 stars
    I use too Buy this particular cake from the grocery store and it is expensive but now since I have the recipe I will try too make it myself and save money

    1. This looks amazing! I have a question about the directions tho: the cake part says to add butter, eggs, and vanilla to cake mix- does this mean ALREADY PREPARED cake mix? Different boxed cakes have different directions, some use oil and eggs, some use water and butter, etc. So I’m wondering if we’re supposed to make the cake mix per box directions and then add the butter, vanilla, and additional eggs to the batter? Thanks so much for the assistance and for this sure-to-be-fabulous treat! 🙂

      1. Hi Selene, You are going to just use the cake mix, do not worry about what is on the back of the box. I would suggest using a typical brand, Pillsbury or Duncan Hines rather than an off-brand.