Butter Cake

It’s been a while, I know, since I posted a recipe. There has been lots of travels (last trip was Scandinavia with my youngest sister) and lots of eating out and ordering in. There has been lots of late nights and working during the weekend. There has been lots of get togethers and Netflix TV shows. And now, there is a lot of Butter Cake.

How fitting that I’m posting my most decadent recipe of the year (to date) at the beginning of the most festive month. I love the holidays, with all the twinkling lights and frantic shopping and hot chocolate. Long time readers know that I usually tend to go a little crazy with baking at this time.¬†And this Butter Cake is the sweetest way to celebrate the start of my favorite season.

It may look simple, but this is one of the richest things that has come out of my kitchen. Chewy, buttery crust, topped with a creamy, ooey-gooey layer that’s brightened with the subtlest taste of lemon, crowned with a crackly top. Each bite is pure decadence. Even I can’t finish one of those regular sized squares at one go, so it’s best to cut into little 1×1 inch pieces and think of serving it like fudge.

I remember seeing a recipe for ooey gooey butter cake recipe a while back, and I went down a rabbit hole of looking at recipe upon recipe. I debated making everything from scratch but decided to go with what many people know and love: using boxed cake mix as the base. That’s right, boxed cake mix! Plus a lot of sugar, a lot of butter, a log of cream cheese, eggs, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Pretty simple ingredients that resulted in a very delicious cake.

Happy holidays to all! May your days be filled with loved ones and your favorite treats.

Yield: 12 bars

Butter Cake

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour


1 package yellow cake mix (I used Trader Joe's 16 vanilla cake mix)
3 eggs
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted, plus more for buttering pan
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 cups (16 oz) confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Butter a 11x7 baking pan, set aside.
  3. Make the crust. In a large bowl, add cake mix, 1 egg, and 1/2 cup melted butter. Mix until well blended and forms a dough. Press into pan.
  4. Make the topping. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, remaining eggs, and remaining butter until blended. Gradually add in sugar and continue mixing in low speed until blended. Add lemon juice and lemon zest and mix until smooth. Pour on top of cake mixture in pan.
  5. Bake 40 - 50 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and center jiggles slightly. Be careful not to overbake.
  6. Let cool completely. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

You can also use a 13x9 baking pan for flatter bars.