Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake

[Photographs and original illustrations: Cakespy]

Recipes for traditional St. Louis gooey butter cake always call for a cake mix, but this one twists the tradition slightly, using a chocolate cake mix instead of the usual yellow, and employs cocoa in the filling.

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake

About This Recipe

Yield:20 bars
Active time:30 minutes
Total time:1 hour
Special equipment:9x13-inch baking pan
This recipe appears in: Cakespy: Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake


  • 1 box (18.25 ounces) chocolate cake mix
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla, divided
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup nuts or chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder


  1. 1

    Grease a 9x13-inch pan and set aside. Preheat your oven to 350 F.

  2. 2

    In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the cake mix, melted butter, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 2 of the eggs on medium speed until it forms a soft, cohesive dough. If you'd like, you can add 1/4 cup of nuts or chocolate chips to add a little flavor and texture contrast.

  3. 3

    Remove the dough from the mixer; you don't need to clean the bowl or the beater, you can just re-use for the filling. Pat the dough into the prepared pan, with a slight "lip" on the sides of about half an inch to accommodate the cream cheese batter, which will be poured on top of this crust.

  4. 4

    Sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder; set to the side for the moment.

  5. 5

    Back at the mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese until fluffy, about 2 minutes on medium speed. Add the remaining 2 eggs and the remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and continue mixing on medium speed until incorporated, about a minute more.

  6. 6

    Add the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder bit by bit, pausing occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, until it has all been added and the mixture is smooth and creamy.

  7. 7

    Pour this batter into the waiting crust. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the top has a dull finish (if a few cracks have formed on top, it's OK. Just top it with some whipped cream or confectioners' sugar. It will still taste fine).

  8. 8

    Transfer the entire pan to a wire rack to cool (do not remove the cake from the baking pan). Let cool completely, then cut into squares to serve.


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