|Wash Day Cake, or Gooey Butter Cake as it is more well known, is a simple cake using cake mix to form a crust and topped with a powdered sugar and cream cheese filling.|
Wash Day Gooey Butter CakeMost people associate Gooey Butter Cake with Paula Deen, because it was brought to the forefront of everybody's attention and became famously associated with the Queen Deen, who added a multitude of variations to it.
More of a bar cookie than a cake really, the truth is, it's a recipe that has been around a very long time, even before The Bag Lady lunch delivery, Lady & Son's, or Paula's thrust into fame via Food Network. It is often referred to as a 'Wash Day Cake,' due to its simplicity. This recipe is a tiny bit different from Paula Deen's, with a little less butter, and including a little coconut and nut in the cake crust. You may certainly omit them both if you prefer.
Most of y'all know that I'm not a huge dessert eater which is why you don't see as many sugary treats on my site as you generally will on other southern recipe sites. My taste buds lean more toward the savory side of foods, so for me desserts are not a regular indulgence, but more of an occasional treat. This would be one that should be considered in that category. This cake is as rich and sweet as the day is long, so don't be tempted to frost it, or add any kind of a glaze or sweetened fruit topping because it's just too much. I highly suggest taking this cake to a potluck, church supper or bible study, or any other gathering where there are plenty of folks to share it with. Seriously.
Here's how to make it.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with non-stick spray; set aside. Whisk together the cake mix, coconut and pecan. Add one stick of melted butter and 1 egg and mix together.
Pat into the prepared pan and slightly up the sides.
Beat together the cream cheese - I used the lower fat neufchatel cheese here, not because I was trying to save fat, but because that's what I had in the fridge, so either will work - powdered sugar and the remaining two eggs.
Add the vanilla and the remaining melted butter, blend everything well and add to the top of the cake batter.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 to 45 minutes. Center will still appear a little gooey looking but if you stick a toothpick in the middle, it should come back with just a tad bit of crumb to it. Set aside to cool. Cut into small squares for serving.
Adapted from Best of the Best from the Deep South Cookbook
Recipe: Wash Day Cake©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 45 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings
For the Crust:
For the Filling:
- 1 (2 layer size) yellow cake mix
- 1/2 cup of grated fresh or frozen coconut, thawed
- 3/4 cup of chopped pecan
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 large egg
- 1 (8 ounce) block of cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 (1 pound) box of powdered sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with non-stick spray; set aside.
For the crust, whisk together the cake mix, coconut and pecan; add 1 stick of melted butter and 1 egg and blend in. Pat into the prepared pan and slightly up the sides. For the filling, beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar and remaining two eggs, until well blended; add the vanilla and remaining half stick of melted butter. Blend together and add to the top of the cake batter. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 to 45 minutes, taking care not to overbake. The center should still be a little gooey and a toothpick will come out with just a bit of crumb on it. Set aside to cool. Cut into small squares for serving.
Cook's Notes: I used Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Butter Golden cake mix. Okay to omit the coconut and nuts, and substitute shelf stable coconut, but be aware that is generally highly sweetened.
Pumpkin Gooey: Use a yellow cake mix or substitute spice cake. Omit coconut, adding a 15-ounce can of pumpkin to the cream cheese filling. Add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to the cake. Garnish top of dessert with whole pecan halves, if desired, one for each serving square and serve with a dollop of freshly whipped cream to top. Grate fresh nutmeg over each serving.
Pineapple Gooey: Omit coconut, adding a 20-ounce can of well drained, crushed pineapple to the cream cheese filling.
Lemon Gooey: Use a yellow or lemon cake mix. Omit coconut and pecan. Add the juice and zest of 1 lemon to the cream cheese filling.
Carrot Cake Gooey: Omit coconut. Use a spice cake or carrot cake mix, and add 1 cup of finely grated carrots to the cream cheese filling.
Peanut Butter Gooey: Use a white, yellow or chocolate cake mix. Omit coconut and substitute peanuts in the crust or omit. Add 1 cup of creamy peanut butter to the cream cheese filling. Garnish top lightly with chopped peanuts, if desired.
Chocolate Chip Gooey: Use white, yellow or chocolate cake mix. Omit coconut. Sprinkle 3/4 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup chopped nuts on top of filling before baking.
Fruit Gooey: Use a white or yellow cake mix. Omit coconut and pecans, if desired. Add 1 ripe mashed banana, or 1 small can of well drained mandarin oranges, or 1 cup of blueberries, or sliced strawberries, drained if frozen.
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©Deep South Dish
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