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Paula Deen’s Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

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Five ingredients are all it takes to make a clone of the famous Paula Deen’s Ooey Gooey Butter Cake that you will find at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen.

fork cutting into a slice of ooey gooey butter cake

When I dined at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen in Pigeon Forge, I tried the Queen of Southern Cooking’s Ooey Gooey Butter Cake.  You might know it by some of its other names, such as Chess Cake, Chess Squares, or Cream Cheese Squares.

Paula Deen's Ooey Gooey Butter Cake at her restaurant in Pigeon Forge Slice of Ooey Gooey Butter Cake at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Before leaving the store, I purchased a box of the mix so that I could make a batch at home and see how it compared to the Cream Cheese Squares that my husband has been making for years.

Box of Paula Deen Cake Mix

The box indicates that it is 20 ounces, but I wanted to know how much each of the packets weighed so I placed them individually on my kitchen scale.  The Gooey Filling Mix weighed 8 ounces and the Ooey Cake Mix was 12 ounces.

Inside Box

I made them following the directions on the box and this is how they turned out:

Baked Ooey Gooey Cake

They look pretty good, don’t they?

Paula Deen's Ooey Gooey Butter Cake (clone recipe)

The funny thing, though, is that they didn’t look like the Ooey Gooey Butter Cake that I had at the restaurant.  (See the 2nd picture above in this post.)  

To me, the restaurant’s version was nearly identical to the recipe for Cream Cheese Squares.  To prove my point, I made a batch – see below.

Pan of Cream Cheese Squares

I went one step further and decided to conduct a little taste test among friends.  Granted, they did not dine with us at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen and had not tried either recipe before the taste test.

Plate of Cream Cheese Squares

While they enjoyed both, the winner of the taste test ended up being the boxed mix of Paula Deen’s Ooey Gooey Butter Cake.  I admit to being a little disappointed, hoping that the Cream Cheese Square would be the winner.

I decided to figure out how to recreate the box mix version.   Since I knew the weight of the ingredients in the box of Paula’s cake mix, I felt confident that it would be easy to make using a regular cake mix that one could pick up at most grocery stores.

Being a “butter cake,” I purchased a box of Duncan Hines Butter Golden cake mix.  Since there were more than 12 ounces in the mix, I used my kitchen scale to figure out the unsifted volume to use.  It came out to approximately 2.25 cups of cake mix.

The amount of powdered sugar in the original was 8 ounces.  The weighted, unsifted volume on my scale came out to approximately 1 3/4 cups.  I followed the directions on the box of Paula’s mix using Duncan Hines mix and they turned out very much like Paula Deen’s Ooey Gooey Butter Cake (from the box, not the restaurant).

Homemade Butter Cake

While the clone version of the box of Ooey Gooey Butter Cake is good, I think the recipe for cream cheese squares is a near-perfect match of the same dessert served in Paula Deen’s restaurants.

Paula Deen’s Ooey Gooey Butter Cake Recipe Clone

slice of chess cake

Yield: 16

Paula Deen's Ooey Gooey Butter Cake (Clone)

Paula Deen's Ooey Gooey Butter Cake (Clone)

A box of cake mix, powdered sugar, cream cheese, and butter are the star ingredients in this simple homemade version of Paula Deen's Ooey Gooey Butter Cake.  

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 1 box butter cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 stick butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 16 ounces powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Place cake mix, 1 egg, and stick of butter (melted) into bowl of mixer and beat for 1 minute until it becomes a soft dough.
  3.  Spread mixture evenly over bottom baking dish.
  4. Combine remaining eggs, cream cheese, and powder sugar in mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
  5. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake batter and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Allow to cool completely before cutting.


If the batter is too stiff to spread with a spatula, lightly moisten your hands and spread the dough until the bottom of the pan is covered.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 340Saturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 293mgCarbohydrates: 55gSugar: 42gProtein: 3g

Did you make this recipe?

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slice of ooey gooey butter cake


Warning:  These treats are loaded with sugar and are highly addictive.

Here’s a little taste of Pigeon Forge:

Other delicious desserts you will want to sink your teeth into:

  • Easy Peach Cobbler – With a few simple ingredients, you can make this dessert that tastes like summer in a bowl.
  • Mini S’mores Pies – These little pies are not only adorable but also delicious!  There’s no need for a campfire to make these cuties.

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Monday 30th of November 2020

Can I reduce the amount of sugar? Too sweet.


Monday 30th of November 2020

I really don't know. If you do reduce the amount of sugar, please come back and let me know how it turned out.


Tuesday 24th of November 2020

Does this Ooey gooey butter cake need to be refrigerated?


Wednesday 25th of November 2020

I am not sure. We have never had it last long enough to find out. Seriously, though, I would imagine that it should be okay unrefrigerated for a day or two at least.

According to, "...Cake may be stored, covered in aluminum foil, at room temperature for up to 4 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. It may be frozen for up to 6 months."

Margaret M.

Wednesday 4th of November 2020

I made this today and it came out perfect. It was Paula's recipe and there was a stick of butter in the batter and in the topping. It is rich but oh so yummy! :)


Thursday 29th of October 2020

Just looked it up... These are Chess Bars, or Chess Squares, or Chess Cake. There's a lot of names for them. They're definitely good and a lot of people really like them.

Paula Deen's version calls for another stick of butter in the batter. Try it out. I've had both and Paula's Gooey Butter Cake is next level. Then you can write another blog post about it. :) I apologize for my earlier comment. I read back over it and it seemed a bit mean. I didn't intend it that way. Tone is hard to convey in text.

I first encountered what Paula calls Gooey Butter Cake in a restaurant (they call them ooey gooey butter bars, which I like better because they're more bar then cake when sliced) and then went looking for the recipe. I've been making the Paula Deen recipe ever since, which has been a pretty long time. I only make them if I'm taking the to an event or have company coming over because my husband can eat a whole tray of them and that just isn't a good idea for anyone. lol But they're a great special occasion dessert!

If you haven't already, I also highly recommend Paula Deen's "Not Yo Mamma's Banana Pudding". I think that's a silly name, but the recipe is undeniably delicious. I'm a big banana pudding fan and couldn't pick a favorite, but that one is unlike any other banana pudding I've ever had. And, because it's Paula, I'm sure you know it's decadent and another one of those "take to a potluck" or "make when guests a coming over" or "for the love of all that's good don't make this at home except on very special occasions". lol


Wednesday 28th of October 2020

This is not the correct Paula Deen recipe. Sorry to be blunt. I just like to get to the point. There should be another melted stick of butter added to the filling. It makes them much better. Like a warm, gooey sugar cooking and a hug. Also, yours are slightly over cooked for my liking. They should be cooked until they have very little to no wobble in the center. If you cook them past that point they are no longer as ooey, gooey, and delicious, in my opinion.