This recipe is over the top delicious. This treat goes by many names, including “gooey butter cake” and “chess squares.” A
rose chess square by any other name would taste as sweet.
I realized something strange the first time I made these for my roommates. No one had ever heard of this delicious dessert. Of all of my roommates, I definitely live the farthest south. From that day forward, I made it my personal goal to introduce my roommates to the best food the South has to offer. Chess squares seemed like the absolutely perfect place to start.
People unfamiliar with this southern delicacy often demand I explain this bland-looking dessert. I’ve come up with the best description I can think of: “a vanilla cake base with the consistency of a sugar cookie topped with a cheesecake filling that forms a delicious sugary crunchy crust when baked.” Blank stares normally ensure, and I’m sure people think I’m simply formulating the best possible combination of any desserts known to man in order to get people to try my baking. They reluctantly take a bite and the reaction is always the same. Mmmmm’s followed by silent chewing followed by a request for another square. In all honestly, I have yet to meet anyone who does not like these bars. They are impossible to dislike.
This recipe comes from the queen of all things delicious and Southern – Paula Deen. If you have ever seen her show, looked at any of her recipes, or know anything about the woman, you know that she loves all things fattening, especially butter. With two sticks of butter and an entire box of powdered sugar, I cannot lie and tell you this is a healthy dessert that will make you look super hot in your bikini. To be honest, your bikini may hate you. But your mouth will love you so so much. And everything’s good in moderation – including (especially) chess squares – right?!
So go find a reason to celebrate. Birthday? Anniversary? An entire day without saying anything sassy? Really, make up whatever excuse you need to make these delicious bars. I am positive that your mouth will be so happy you did. (And really, who cares about making that bikini happy anyways?)
Source: Paula Deen
1 box yellow cake mix
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 16 ounce box of powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13×9 glass dish with non-stick spray.
2. Using a stand mixer or a handheld mixer, combine cake mix, 1 stick of unsalted butter, and 1 egg on low speed. This will be the consistency of cookie dough. (One roommate referred to it as “play doh”…not very appetizing, but a good description) Using a rubber spatula, press this mixture into the prepared dish.
3. In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese on medium speed until it is smooth, about 1 minute. Add 2 eggs, 1 stick of unsalted butter, and vanilla extract. Mix until fully incorporated, about 2 minutes.
4. Add half of the box of powdered sugar, mix on low speed until all of the sugar is incorporated. Add remaining powdered sugar and mix. Remember to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Beat on medium speed for about a minute until the mixture is light and fluffy.
5. Pour this mixture on to the cake base layer. Bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes. The cake is finished when the top is a light brown color and the crust has cracked. Cool, slice, and enjoy!