Paula Deen’s Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

Five ingredients are all it takes to make a clone of the famous Paula Deen’s Ooey Gooey Butter Cake that you will find served at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. Two delicious layers combine to make one fantastic dessert! The bottom layer is a delicious buttery yellow cake topped with a sweet gooey cream cheese layer.

Slice of ooey gooey butter cake on a white dessert plate.

You might know this cake by some of its other names, such as Chess Cake, Chess Squares, Texas Gold Bars, St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake, or Cream Cheese Squares. No matter what it’s called, it’s outright delicious!

What you’ll love about this recipe:

  • The base of the cake is made with a box of store-bought cake mix and everyday kitchen staples.
  • It’s easy to make!
  • Cheesecake lovers will love the delightful flavor of the sweet and creamy top layer.
  • It’s a delicious dessert to take to potlucks or work and it’s perfect for serving to company.


For this cream cheese cake recipe that is nearly identical to Paula Deen’s Ooey Gooey Butter Cake recipe, you need the following ingredients:

  • box yellow cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 (8-ounce) block of cream cheese softened
  • 3 ½ cups powdered sugar (a 16-ounce box of confectioners’ sugar)

How To Make Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

To make it, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Place the cake mix, 1 egg, and the butter into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment and beat for 1 minute at medium speed until it becomes a soft dough. Spread the cake mixture evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

Combine the remaining eggs, cream cheese, and powdered sugar in the mixer bowl and beat until smooth. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the cake batter.

Baking Time

Bake on the center rack for 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Allow the cake to cool completely before cutting.

Slice of chess cake.

Butter Cake Variations

With a simple change of cake mix, you can change the flavor profile of butter cake. To spice things up, feel free to swap out the box of yellow cake mix for one listed below:

Does butter cake need to be refrigerated?

No. This cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days. Be sure to store it in an airtight container or use aluminum foil or plastic wrap to help keep it from drying out.

How many calories are in a slice of cake?

Nutrition information will vary slightly depending on the brand of cake mix that you use, but a ballpark figure for calories is 340 calories per slice (assuming that you get 16 equally sized slices of cake per pan).

Homemade Butter Cake vs. Paula Deen’s 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.

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.

Slice of 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.
Box of Paula Deen Butter 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.

Contents of Paula Deen's Ooey Gooey Butter Cake mix box.

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

Baked Ooey Gooey Cake in a square baking dish.

They look pretty good, don’t they?

Paula Deen's Ooey Gooey Butter Cake (clone recipe) in a glass baking dish.

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.

Ooey gooey butter cake in a metal baking pan.

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 on a table.

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 in a glass baking dish.

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.

Fork cutting into a slice of butter cake.

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

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.
  • Kentucky Butter Cake – Moist and rich, this sweet cake is like a glazed donut and is great for serving at a brunch.
slice of butter cake

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.  
4.62 from 123 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 16
Calories: 340kcal


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


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  • Place cake mix, 1 egg, and stick of butter into the bowl of mixer and beat for 1 minute until it becomes a soft dough.
  •  Spread mixture evenly over bottom baking dish.
  • Combine remaining eggs, cream cheese, and powdered sugar in mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
  • Spread cream cheese mixture over cake batter and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown.
  • 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.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 340kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 3g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 293mg | Sugar: 42g
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  1. I noticed on your list of ingredients you did not have half of the butter content listed under filling ingredients, but yet in the instructions, you did divide the 18 tablespoons of butter for cake and filling. Just wondering if butter is supposed to be in the filling like you have, because in other gooey butter cake recipes they do not have butter in the filling.

    1. Hi!

      There is only 1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons) that is used in this recipe and it is ALL used in the cake portion. Give it a try and come back and tell us what you think.

      Happy baking!

  2. 4 stars
    This is really good, but I should have cut back on the sugar. Two cups would have been plenty. Easy recipe and quick to make.

  3. I made this and took it to a Red Hat potluck. I received rave reviews, even from people that did not usually eat sweets. Everyone wanted the recipe. I had tried a couple of different recipes but this is the best by far. This has become a family favorite.

  4. My sister-in-law makes this recipe, adding a 15 ounce can of pumpkin with the top layer for “ooey gooey pumpkin bars.” This is a delicious variation that we eat at family gatherings in the fall and winter.

  5. 5 stars
    Great recipe. I love lemon; has anyone tried flavoring one lemon? How would I make adjustments if I added lemon juice?

  6. I’ve made this a bunch of times and the top never gets that crackled look to it, what am I doing wrong? I’ve followed the recipe exactly

    1. Have you checked your oven to see if it is heating up to the correct temperature? If not, buy an oven thermometer and heat your oven to 350 degrees. Once it indicates that it is at that temperature, check the thermometer for accuracy.

  7. 3 stars
    I have tried this twice and after baking for 40-50 minutes, it’s still really wet. I can stick a fork in and it comes out wet kinda. Any advice?

  8. We got this recipe over 35 years ago from a sweet little lady in Virginia. Her name was Mrs prather. So our kids grew up calling this Mrs prather’s cheese bars. It is one of our family favorites. St Louis takes credit for this yummy bar but it is all over the South. So who knows where it originated. Doesn’t really matter it’s the best thing I ever put in my mouth!

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