February 10, 2011

Chess Squares

Chess Squares Recipe with Photos

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When I was in New York a few weeks ago we stopped by one of the most unique bakeries I’ve ever visited, Momofuku Milk Bar. Noted for their unusual concoctions like cookies made with potato chips, birthday cake truffles, and cereal milk ice cream, I’d been wanting to visit Momofuku’s and try a slice of their famous Crack Pie since I came across the recipe in the LA Times last year.

The thought did cross my mind that I could actually, you know, make the recipe myself, but one thing kept stopping me. It’s decidedly fussy.

With 22 ingredients (including 8 egg yolks, ugh) and the advertised one-and-a-half hours of labor-intensive preparation, I just kept putting the whole thing off.

Chess Squares Recipe with Photos

When I did finally get the chance to taste it two weeks ago, I immediately flashed back to my college days when my girlfriends and I would flounce around in the kitchen, throwing dinner parties for our boyfriends, and making sinfully sweet treats for church Bible studies. Crack Pie reminded me of one of my old standbys, Chess Squares, an unbelievably indulgent southern dessert staple and one of the first desserts I remember making on my own.

I proclaimed this revelation to my foodie friends (except I was really thinking that chess squares are so much better), but all I received were blank stares. They’d never heard of chess squares. Chalking it up to being a “southern thing”, I knew as soon as I got home I had to share this ridiculously delicious recipe with you guys.

Chess Squares Recipe with Photos

The best part is, chess squares couldn’t be easier to make. Just five simple ingredients here.

If this is looking familiar to you, you’re doing better than I was at this point. More on that in a minute.

Chess Squares Recipe with Photos

You start by mixing a yellow cake mix with melted butter and one egg to form a soft dough .

Chess Squares Recipe with Photos

It was at this point that I started to think myself, Huh. This seems a little familiar.

But I pushed the thought out of my head and carried on.

Chess Squares Recipe with Photos

You then mix a pound of powdered sugar with softened cream cheese and the remaining two eggs to create a decadent gooey filling. No wonder they’re so good!

But… Haven’t I seen this recipe somewhere before… recently?

Chess Squares Recipe with Photos

Oh right. That’s when it dawned on me. It’s almost the exact recipe for…

Chess Squares Recipe with Photos

Gooey Butter Cake.

Chess Squares Recipe with Photos


How did I not realize that my beloved chess squares were also masquerading under the famous Paula Deen recipe until… just now?

Chess Squares Recipe with Photos

Doh. Again. I wrestled with myself whether or not I should even post the recipe, scolding myself that you’ve all surely heard of gooey butter cake.

Chess Squares Recipe with Photos

But I ultimately decided that no matter what you call them, this delicious dessert definitely deserves a second look.

Chess Squares Recipe with Photos

From its decadent, chewy crust…

Chess Squares Recipe with Photos

To its rich, gooey filling…

Chess Squares Recipe with Photos

To the flaky, sugary, satisfyingly crispy crust…

Chess Squares Recipe with Photos

To the way it makes your whole house smell so divinely sweet and buttery.

If you’ve never made chess squares or gooey butter cake… Give these a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Chess Squares Recipe with Photos

Chess Squares
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 4 cups (1 lb) powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 300 and generously coat a 9x13-inch dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Mix cake mix, melted butter and one egg to a soft dough. Press into the bottom of the pan.
  3. Mix powdered sugar, softened cream cheese and remaining two eggs until smooth, about 1-2 mins. Pour on top of crust.
  4. Bake at 300 for 40-50 minutes until top is golden brown.

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Nicole B February 10, 2011 at 2:41 am

i heart cream cheese! i cannot wait to try this! thanks :D


Amanda Ashley-Jones February 10, 2011 at 2:42 am

These are an all time favorite in my family as well. We actually call them Chess Bars, so not to far from what you call them. But like you said call it what you may they are absolutely delicious.


Liz Hamrick April 15, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Going to make these and put some lemon juice and grated rind in the filling…think it will be all right…just saying. Thanks for the recipes.

5stareasyrecipes.com April 5, 2015 at 9:43 pm

To: Amanda Ashley-Jones, I agree with everything you said.

To: Kevin & Amanda, I just thought you should know I featured these bars on my blog in a list called “TOP 20 BEST: Easy Dessert Bar Recipes (5 INGREDIENTS, or Less–As always)”.

Your Chess Squares truly are the best, and really are easy and delicious.

Anyways, I’m proud to have ‘em on my list! It’s at:


disneypal February 10, 2011 at 3:30 am

I make that sometimes too – we call it a Gooey Butter Cake :-)


Anne June 24, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Yep. This is a St. Louis tradition. Gooey Butter Cake.

Marie February 10, 2011 at 3:40 am

Hello Amanda,

I love your place here. I hope you dont mind I nominated you to the Stylish Blogger Award.

I will be your regular visitor here. Marie

Check it out here:



Beverly - Green Gracie Home February 10, 2011 at 4:41 am

I love gooey butter cake (but I am from Texas, blueberry dump cake is a staple in our house) and I cannot wait to try your recipe. YUM!


Brandi s December 18, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Beverly, Thank you for saying this! I wast trying to remember the name. I had this at a few brunches this year and wanna add it to Christmas brunch

Donna January 21, 2013 at 10:43 am

would love to try your blueberry dump cake recipe …Thanks

Ashley July 20, 2013 at 12:52 pm

What is your recipe for Blueberry Dumpcake? I have one but I love to compare and then sometimes I take mine and someone elses and combine and do my own thing!

Hi, I'm Suz February 10, 2011 at 5:25 am

I know it as Gooey Butter Cake! And sometimes I use Devils Food cake mix!! Ssooo yummy either way!!

I love your blog!

Hugs ~~ Suz


Paulette February 10, 2011 at 5:27 am

Well you got me hook, line, and sinker (is that the expression) Oh well I think I will put a slight tint of pink food coloring in the cream cheese and low and behold Valentines dessert. Thanks. Paulette


Martha S. February 10, 2011 at 5:47 am

Oh, yes! These are delicious!! My grandmother used to make these from scratch and she called them chess bars. Then I found a recipe using the cake mix and the recipe’s called Gooey Butter Cake.

Either way, as others have said, they are DELISH! Kinda wish these were on the menu instead of the brownies and cupcakes my kids have requested for their birthday!


Julie February 10, 2011 at 6:48 am

I made something just like this years ago but we added chocolate chips to it. I haven’t made it in forever and this recipe might be easier. Can’t wait to try it again. Maybe I will do 1/2 plain and 1/2 chocolate chips. :)


Victoria February 10, 2011 at 6:49 am



Maria Ortiz-Cintron February 10, 2011 at 7:04 am

How funny that you post this recipe, just a few days ago I was thinking about Paula’s Gooey Butter Cake…I’ve never heard of Chess Squares (learned something new). The cake looks scrumptious, will try soon (like maybe TODAY!!).


Lisa February 10, 2011 at 7:29 am

That cake needs to get in my belly stat.


Mandy February 10, 2011 at 7:49 am

This reminds me of a dessert a friend of mine makes all the time. I was at her house one day and watched her make it…same thing only for the crust she rolled out crescent rolls and put them in the bottom of the pan. The filling is the same. I said “Oh it’s like gooey butter cake kind of but with crescent rolls instead of the cake part” She looked at me like I had three heads. I think gooey butter cake is a southern thing too :) Have you ever heard of transparent pie? Lol. Apparently in the North it’s called Chess Pie. Who knew?


Kelly Lundblad May 25, 2012 at 10:55 am

When I lived in Tennessee we called it Chess Pie….Oh my goodness sakes!

Mary July 19, 2012 at 5:27 pm

When you use the crescent rolls as the crust, do you skip the one egg and melted butter (1st direction in the recipe using cake mix)? I’m not quite sure what to do there. Please let me know!

Gigikay February 10, 2011 at 8:00 am

I need a baked sweet for next week and was playing around in my head with what to take this month. Yea!!! This will be it. Thanks so much.


Sarah February 10, 2011 at 8:15 am

Yay! I’ve heard of Chess Squares! Score one for me! My stepmother is southern and moved from Georgia to Alabama to the panhandle of Florida when she was a child and she always talks about her southern dishes that her grandmother (mema) used to make! She hasn’t made any of the desserts, but she makes an Okra and Tomato dish to die for! And, btw, I can’t ever, ever get my cream cheese fillings to look like that–all liquidy and good…how did you do that??? What am I doing wrong???


Mary Beth March 5, 2013 at 3:30 pm

I mix slightly softened cream cheese & the eggs with the electic mixer for a minute or two and then I gradually add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Hope this helps you.

Suzanne W. February 10, 2011 at 8:15 am

That’s gotta be some kind of oxymoron, “sinfully sweet treats for church Bible studies!” ;) Looks amazing!


Amanda M. February 10, 2011 at 8:16 am

This is my Mom’s staple dessert that everyone requests, but we know it as Chess Cake! I’ve been sneaking the middle pieces only since I was about 2! LOL! :)


Amy February 10, 2011 at 8:17 am

I love chess squares. I add pecan or walnut pieces to my crust and they are so yummy!


Lara February 10, 2011 at 8:17 am

These are yummy..and so easy to make! My friend has a similar recipe but calls them gooey bars and puts a lemon twist on it..she uses lemon cake mix and adds some lemon extract to the cream cheese mix…delicious!


Kristin February 28, 2013 at 6:41 pm

I was reading all of these comments looking for someone who had tried lemon! Because when I read this I thought the whole recipe would sound better to me with a twist. Going to try it now!

Southern Gal February 10, 2011 at 8:18 am

I love Chess Pie, but had never heard of Chess Squares. My next dessert!


Tami February 10, 2011 at 8:22 am

I am a HUGE fan of gooey butter cake, yum! The book “The Cake Doctor” has some great variations on this as well (great dessert idea book). :)


Suzi Wilson February 10, 2011 at 8:26 am

We love Gooey Butter Cake in St. Louis. There is even a bakery called Gooey Louies that sells only gooey butter cakes but they come in a variety of flavors. Yummmmm! They are fantastic!


Alisha February 10, 2011 at 8:37 am

I LOVE Chess Squares! There are so many folks who have never heard of them, so I have made it a mission of mine to spread the good news. Of Chess Squares. And Jesus. Anyway, I love that you did a blog about them – this will help me get the word out faster!


Sara February 10, 2011 at 8:38 am

These actually look very delish! I really want to try making them! I am sooooo in the mood to bake!
I wonder how they would taste with a chocolate cake mix?! Do you think I should try it?!

By the way, where did the name come from…”Chess Pie/Squares/Cake”?


Naomi A. February 10, 2011 at 9:02 am

These definitely look yummy…will have to try!


Families are Forever February 10, 2011 at 9:03 am

Just wanted to say that I love your blog. Your photography is amazing!


Barb in FL February 10, 2011 at 9:11 am

These look yummy! Can’t wait to make them!!! Thanks for sharing!! :D


Julie February 10, 2011 at 9:12 am

I’d never heard of either. This looks like my kind of recipe. Plus I usually have all of these ingredients on hand. I’ll be making it this weekend!


Angela L. February 10, 2011 at 9:21 am

Oooohhh – I grew up in St.Louis where gooey butter cake abounds! Believe it or not, it was always a breakfast treat in our house! I haven’t had one since I moved over 7 years ago, and never thought of making one of my own – duh! Thanks for the inspiration, yum!!


Steffi February 10, 2011 at 9:48 am

Good bye diet…again! I think I am going to make this for our monthly coworker birthday potluck next Wednesday! Thanks!


Teaque February 10, 2011 at 9:55 am

I’m from KY and that is one of our most favorite desserts! On another note, I’m thinking I may have to quit reading your blog LOL I gave up sugar a couple months ago and your blog makes me want to say to heck with it all – GIVE – ME – JUNK!! If it weren’t for your great posts and photography I might actually unsubscribe (just can’t take the temptation). But well… here I am and I just tell my self it’s my daily dose of will-power practice. :)


Kay Crider February 10, 2011 at 9:57 am

This is like my cheesecake brownie recipe. They are like the cheesecake brownies from the Great American Cookie Company @ the mall. LOVE THIS! Thanks for reminding me of them. Will be baking some very soon! Maybe even tonight!! LOL!


Shelly H February 10, 2011 at 10:07 am

I just <3 gooey butter cake and make it often! My favorite thing to do is make it different flavors and have found that pumpkin is my absolute favorite way! :)


Candace February 11, 2011 at 9:00 am

Pumpkin gooey butter cake is my absolute favorite. I would take it over pumpkin pie anyday!

H February 18, 2011 at 10:12 am

How do you make pumpkin???? I am in love with pumpkin!!!

Laura February 10, 2011 at 10:18 am

Thanks! Cannot wait to make this! Never hesitate to repost a recipe…I have never seen this one and would have missed out if you didn’t repost!


Esther February 10, 2011 at 10:22 am

Wow, these look moth watering good. I have never heard of them, but I am going to make some right away!
Thanks for sharing!!


Esther February 10, 2011 at 10:23 am

sorry :( I meant Mouth Watering

Jane February 10, 2011 at 11:04 am

I grew up in Arizona, and have spent the last 40 years in Hawaii. Never heard of this til today! Looks wonderful – we’ll try it! Thanks for your fun website!!


Erika February 10, 2011 at 11:12 am

YUMMM!! The recipe for the cake HAS to be yummy! A friend of mine told me about Ooey Gooey Butter Cookies & they are a little piece of heaven. Here’s the recipe…same ingredients too.



LindsayL. February 10, 2011 at 11:15 am

I was so excited to try the Gooey Butter Cake at Lady and Son’s, then they bring me out a chess square and I though, surely this isn’t it?? But, it was! My mom and grandmother had a bakery when I was growing up, so these have been around my whole life!

You can also make them strawberry, chocolate, or lemon! The possibilities are endless!


BECKY February 10, 2011 at 11:31 am

I make something like this called “Easy Cheesies” but my recipe has a can of lemon icing instead of powdered sugar but boy are they good. I will have to try this recipe because I love anything made using cake mixes that is delish as well as easy. Now the big question – I want to know how you eat all of these goodies you make and stay so slim & trim. Hugs, Becky


Amanda February 10, 2011 at 11:40 am

lol, Becky, can you believe I only got ONE of these bad boys?? :) I sent them with Kevin to an agility club meeting and he came back with an empty plate! I was hoping to keep them around for at least a few more days. :) Looks like I’ll have to try it with the chocolate cake mix next!

Demetria February 10, 2011 at 11:34 am

These are awesome!!! My family especially my Uncle loves the one I make that has 1/2 to 1 cup of chopped pecans and 1/2 to 1 cup of flaked sweetened Coconuts


Thanks for the recipe and photos



Kathy M. February 10, 2011 at 11:39 am

As a kid growing up in Kentucky, we called it Chess Cake. Same great taste!!


Melanie @ Whimsical Creations February 10, 2011 at 11:56 am

I just made it. I knew when I opened my e-mail this morning I would have to try it. I only had a chocolate cake mix, so I made it with that. My house smells soooo good…I couldn’t wait until later to try it. DELICIOUS! Can not wait to make it with yellow cake. Thank you :)


EatLiveRun February 10, 2011 at 12:02 pm

I’m from the South and have never had this! I’ve heard of it but never actually tried it (I know, crazy huh?!). I’m totally making it soon though–it looks fabulous and so easy!


Lisa Shaw February 10, 2011 at 12:12 pm

We make Chess Pie here in Texas… but chess squares look scrumptious.. I will have to make for our next family gathering! Thanks for sharing!


Lisa February 10, 2011 at 12:36 pm

I have been making Chess Cake for years and my 12 year old daughter has now started making it. It’s my ‘go-to’ recipe whenever I need to make something quick that everyone will like. Very inexpensive and everyone who tries it loves it. My daughter calls is Sugar Shock because when you eat it, that’s pretty much what happens! oh btw…..you can also cook this at 350 for 20-25 minutes and it’s not as barlike. More of a rice gooey cake-like desert. Either way, it’s HEAVENLY!! lol


Jen AKA Jupiter February 10, 2011 at 1:24 pm

You have to try this recipe with lemon cake mix instead of the yellow. FOR SERIOUS! The best lemon bars EVER or at least my Aunt Baby and I think so.


Cathy February 10, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Love it! I shall be making this for dessert on Sunday!


Jen February 10, 2011 at 1:40 pm

I LOVE those things! In my little corner of KY, I’ve heard them called Magic Bars, and I’ve also heard them called Yum Yum Bars. No wonder…they are yummy!


Melissa in MI February 10, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Evidently I’ve been living under a rock as this is my first introduction to this recipe… it sounds absolutely delectable! Can not wait to try these this weekend. Thank you for deciding to share! Quick question for you though… I used to be able to print a printer friendly version (without so many pictures) of your recipes, but I’m finding that more difficult now. Have you changed something, or is this a user error problem? :-)


Lisa @All That and a Box of Rocks February 10, 2011 at 2:21 pm

This is my first visit to your blog and I’m not really sure how I got here! lol This chess squares recipe is my mom’s go-to Potluck recipe. Everyone raves about it!


Laura February 10, 2011 at 2:56 pm

My husband makes these every year for Christmas. They are always a huge hit.

Laura’s Last Post: Random Thursday: Next Year’s Half-Time Show


Heather :) :) :) February 10, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Oh, mercy me, that looks sinfully delicious ;) :) :) I LOVE cheesecake and ch eesecake-type desserts :) :) :) Yummy!!! Thanks for posting this :) :) Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :) :)


Catherine February 10, 2011 at 3:58 pm

i am going to make these for Giles’ teachers for Valentines day, thanks for the idea!!!


Robin S February 10, 2011 at 4:33 pm

I’ve always made Gooey Butter Cake in a bundt pan, but I really like the idea of making it as a bar cookie. Much easier to eat!


Sara February 10, 2011 at 4:43 pm

These are a St. Louis Classic…but we call them Gooey Butter Cake. I’ve been eating them since I was a toddler, so delicious.


Lori Register February 10, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Being a Southerner myself (Alabaman via Florida), my grandmother used to make chess pie all the time….this is almost the exact recipe we used!! Love it….and so much easier than the crack pie!! Thanks for sharing!!


Tamara Follett February 10, 2011 at 5:39 pm

I grew up in the Midwest where it went by “gooey butter cake” like you said. Yum. I love it! Gooey Butter Cookies (from allrecipes.com) are also delicious!


Katie February 10, 2011 at 5:57 pm

I make this with a lemon cake mix instead of the yellow. Talk about DELISH! The best lemon bars ever!


Meredith February 10, 2011 at 6:15 pm

I have never heard of either… so I am glad you shared! These look just delicious, and I have a baby shower coming up that these might be perfect for! Thanks!!


Tara @ Tara Being Tara February 10, 2011 at 7:22 pm

I love chess squares! You aren’t the only one who has heard of them… but then again, I learned to love them while living in KY, so maybe they are just a Southern thing!


Cyn Hunt February 10, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Ok, this is on the dessert menu for Sunday dinner.
I will check back with you and let you know what a hit it was!


Shelly Stevenson February 10, 2011 at 8:00 pm

I got my recipe for Gooey Butter Cake from Kingsley Inn in Iowa. We love it topped with cherry pie filling!!!! Delicious!


Amanda February 10, 2011 at 8:12 pm

My mom made this all the time while I was growing up. It is a family favorite. We called it butter gooey cake. Isn’t it divine?!!!


Aimee February 10, 2011 at 9:09 pm

You make it really, really difficult to stick to plan, you know! ;) They look scrumptious. Maybe I’ll make them in another 60 pounds or so…


Molly in MN February 10, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Serious? How had I never heard of these?!

After I read the post at work, I dreamed of them all day!! I made them up tonight and could not even wait for them to cool all the way. I just about melted into a puddle when I started eating the ooooeey gooey warm yummy-ness! Oh and I’m so trying them with a lemon cake mix!! mmm – definitely dangerous for the pregnant woman who craves sweets!

I’m going to assume these should be stored in the refrigerator? Anyone want to fill me in?


Sara E February 11, 2011 at 1:14 am

I’m glad you finally mentioned Gooey Butter Cake towards the end because I was thinking that the entire time


Kristen@PrettySweet February 11, 2011 at 3:39 am

Love this recipe! I’ve heard it as gooey butter cake or chess squares or even Neiman Marcus cake. Whatever you call it, it’s delicious – and always has a quick disappearing act. =)


Christine February 11, 2011 at 4:36 am

I tried these last night and they are SOOOO yummy!
My family (and I) have almost devoured them.

Thanks for the recipe!


Amanda February 11, 2011 at 1:27 pm

It’s funny because I was talking about making chess squares just the other day and my husband had NEVER heard of them. I was shocked because I thought everyone had. But then again I am a southern girl born and raised, and chess pie was served at every holiday!


Valerie February 11, 2011 at 1:41 pm

I must live under a rock…because I’ve never heard of either recipe!
Looks so yummy though, I’m gonna try it!!!


Catherine Kenner February 11, 2011 at 2:55 pm

I love your blog and I just wanted you to know that the recipe for Gooey Butter Cake, Neiman Marcus bars, Chess cake (whatever you want to call it) has been around a lot long than Paula Deen. I actually LOVE her and her cooking, but my grandmother was making this recipe in the 1960’s. So, FYI, like Ecclesiates says in the Bible “There’s nothing new under the sun” By the way, my grandmother would’ve been past 100.


shannon marie February 11, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Here’s another name for ya, Ugly Cake. Yup, my MIL calls it Ugly Cake.
I’m with ya though, the smell of your house after you have baked this heavenly dessert is divine!


Julie February 12, 2011 at 7:24 am

Chess squares just sound much better than Gooey Butter Cake!


Katherine Lee February 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm

I have never heard of either one, but chess squares just sounds so much better to me thank gooey butter cake, I am going to make these they look delicious. I think they would be really good with the chocolate cake mix too like one reader said.


Kristen February 12, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Welp, it’s decided… I’m making these tomorrow and bringing them into work for Valentine’s on Monday :) I’ve never heard of Chess Squares/Gooey Butter Cake/or any of the above but your divine photography captured it’s delicious decadence and therefore I’m SOLD! Thanks for posting the recipe!!!


Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) February 12, 2011 at 8:06 pm

I have never heard of Chess Squares or of Paula’s butter cake…but…

anything with all that butter and a POUND of powdered sugar has got to be over the moon good!

And totally fat-free and calorie-free, right? :)


Ashley February 12, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Gooey Cake! My favorite!


Amanda H February 13, 2011 at 9:22 am

Oh these one of my all time favorites but we call it cream cheese cookies!! My mom used to make and send them to me every summer at camp!


Christine February 13, 2011 at 9:25 am

WOW! Looks so YUMMY! I’m going to try these! Thanks…LOVE YOUR BLOG BY THE WAY! :)


Katy Lunsford February 13, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Thanks, I will be making these the next chance I get!


Ann February 13, 2011 at 6:51 pm

I’m going to have to try this. I’ve had the milk powder in my pantry since the Crack Pie recipe was in our newspaper!


Kay February 14, 2011 at 7:55 am

I used this recipe for a party this past weekend. They were a huge hit, everyone loved them. Also they were so simple to make!!


Rebecca February 14, 2011 at 9:08 am

I am making these for my Valentine (they are in the oven as I type). Thanks for sharing such an easy, beautiful (and probably decadently delicious) recipe!


Laura February 14, 2011 at 1:14 pm


I was wondering could you use chocolate cake mix in place of the yellow mix?



Cookin' Canuck February 14, 2011 at 10:51 pm

These look fantastic. What a sweet, gooey treat!


Julie February 16, 2011 at 10:18 pm

We made these for Family Night this week and everyone LOVED them!! Thanks so much for sharing.


Gigikay February 17, 2011 at 11:34 am

Making these this morning for a group of friends. So glad you posted this as I had never heard of them or even Paula’s Gooy butter cake. Thanks.


Kris February 17, 2011 at 8:18 pm

I’m another person from St. Louis who loves this..although since it was created here…don’t like you pointing out Paula Dean’s recipe. lol!


Melissa R February 18, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Amazing! I made these last night and they were a huge hit. I cannot wait to attempt to make some other varieties.


Heidi W. February 19, 2011 at 7:54 am

I love these too! I have always known it as Paula Deen’s Gooey Butter Cake recipe.


Paula April 21, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Paula Deen is a great chef; but please don’t give her credit for these. We have been making this dessert in Mississippi since the 80’s. We use Duncan Hines Butter Recipe instead of Yellow Cake Mix. It makes it taste a lot better; and always cook until golden brown.

heather5018 February 19, 2011 at 9:40 am

Thanks, Amanda! I made these last night for dessert on a rainy Friday night at home with my husband and the kids. It was our first experience with this dessert (we’re in CA) and WOW – very good!


Julia February 20, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Those look really good. I have never heard of them before! I’m going to put them on my *to bake soon* list. :)


Susan - Era Art Jewelry February 21, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Oh. My mouth just filled up with saliva… in a good way! I must make these. Thank you for the very easy to follow instructions and stunning photos. They’re gorgeous! Love your blog. You two are happy and very cute!


Cathy March 6, 2011 at 11:48 am

Making this today for the second time since you posted the recipe! I’ve used lemon cake mix both times (as a commenter suggested). So yummy! It’s a favorite now for sure!


Jaimie March 10, 2011 at 2:57 pm

I heart chess squares. It’s my new favorite treat to make. It’s easy, simple, a crowd pleaser and everyone wants the recipe. (that’s when you know it’s good stuff) I’ve changed the name to Crackle Chewy Crunch cuz I think it’s better tells you what you’re getting than chess squares. I also love to take a recipe and change it. I’ve made this using a chocolate cake mix and added a couple tablespoons of cocoa to the powder sugar. Last week I made this using a red velvet cake mix and mixed in mini chocolate chips. YUMMY! It was by far my favorite. Next week I’m going to use a butter pecan cake mix and add Hershey’s Heath Toffee bits to the top. Thanks for the recipe. It has changed my life. Ü


brillke March 29, 2011 at 7:55 pm

I just made this cake and it was a hit! I live just outside of the STL area, the birthplace of Gooey Butter Cake, and I give this recipe two thumbs up!


Leslie April 11, 2011 at 3:52 pm

I am making these right now for a dear friend who just had her first baby! Don’t tell, but i’m keeping half for our house…they look too yummy to give all away! Oh and I love your blog, you have some amazing talent!


Jennifer July 27, 2011 at 9:16 pm

I’m not very experienced with baking and I’m confused. Is it 1 box of powdered sugar? I thought 4 cups would be 32 oz or 2 lbs. Am I mixed up? Sorry. But, I would like to try your recipe and I don’t want to mess it up.



barbara August 2, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Jennifer, no thats not silly question because my measuring cup says that 16oz is a lb also, four cups measures out to be 32oz on my measurement cup 16oz is 2 cups 32 oz is four cups anyone am i not right or am i wrong????

Mary Beth March 5, 2013 at 3:56 pm

I used 4 cups, & worked great. 4 cups = 1 lb of powdered suger. I also used lemon cake mix and everyone it was AWEsome!

Laura January 17, 2015 at 9:11 pm

This can seem confusing to any of us. The measurement of 16 oz = 2 cups is probably on your “liquid” measuring cup; liquid measurement is 8 liquid oz = 1 cup. But dry items (sugar, flour, powdered sugar, etc.) are usually lighter in weight and will vary from one ingredient to another. For powdered sugar, the measurement can vary depending on whether you are measuring sifted sugar or “straight out of the package” sugar. In a recipe like this, I find it much easier to just buy a 1 pound box of powdered sugar instead of measuring 4 cups from a 2 pound bag. Whichever package you use, I would strongly recommend sifting the powdered sugar before adding it to the recipe.

Jennifer July 27, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Oops sorry. I figured out my silly question.


Wendy July 27, 2011 at 10:33 pm

I am so glad you posted this recipe! I have been wanting to try chess pie (which I assume is the round version of chess squares) for years, but have never gotten around to it. Also, I just got back from St. Louis the day before reading this post. I saw signs advertising gooey butter cake everywhere, but we never got to try any. I am baking this recipe tonight though! I am so excited to try it!


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