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Sunshine Bars {Citrus Gooey Butter Cake}

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Food blogging can be rough on a girl’s diet.  I told you that I didn’t have any Easter-ish recipes and gave you what I could, and yet I still felt the pressure of posting one before the holiday.  And so I got to work in the kitchen and came up with something so delicious that sampling it when it came out of the oven at 1 AM, and having more for breakfast this morning (the breakfast of champions!) has completely depleted all my Weight Watchers Points Plus for the day.  And then some.  Oi.  But a dedicated food blogger owes it to her readers to sacrifice valuable points for the sake of their holiday enjoyment, right?  Yeah, that’s right.  I did it all for you.  Because I so wouldn’t have eaten all that tart-sweet gooey butter cake without my readers as motivation.

What?  You don’t believe me?  OK, fine.  I so totally would have made and eaten this regardless, but I’m rushing to post this recipe before work so you can make it for Easter and that’s all for you.  You’re welcome.  :)

I really love gooey butter cake, and in fact I was already planning to do a few posts on the basic recipe and the chocolate version since I made both almost two years ago and never got around to blogging them.  It reminds me of a different form of cheesecake, sort of like cheesecake bars, but muuuuuch more buttery.  The crust layer is soft, yet firm enough to hold the bars together, somewhere between cookie and cake, while the filling is creamy & gooey.  In this springtime version, I used an orange cake mix for the base (though lemon or even yellow would be great), and used up the rest of my lemon curd in the filling.  I had no idea how it would turn out and was greatly relieved to be rewarded with something I can proudly share with my husband’s family this weekend.  Well.  I mean.  What’s left of it.

Sunshine Bars 

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Crust:
1 (18.25 oz) orange or lemon cake mix
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
1 egg

Filling:
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup lemon curd
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 eggs
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
1 lb (4 cups) powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with rack in center of oven. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with oil and set aside. In a large bowl, mix the cake mix, egg, and butter with an electric mixer until well combined. Press the dough into the prepared pan and set aside. Wipe out the bowl and clean off the beaters, then cream together the cream cheese and lemon curd until well combined. Mix in the lemon juice, then the eggs until incorporated. Add the butter and powdered sugar and mix until well combined. Spread over the crust layer and smooth the top with spatula. Bake in preheated oven for 45-47 minutes, or until browned on top but still jiggly in the middle. Cool on wire rack until completely cool, about two hours, before cutting and serving. Can also be served cold, depending on your preference.

Recipe source: adapted from Paula Deen’s Gooey Butter Cake recipe.

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About Veronica

I have a kitchen addiction and love to collect & share recipes. My passion is baking but I love to cook as well. The only thing I don't like to do in the kitchen is wash dishes, but my husband generally does them for me in exchange for his dinner.

18 responses »

  1. Sounds yummy! I’d rather have the pinwheels though :)

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  2. I so know what you mean about baking and dieting. I made Oreo cookies today and holy cow did I eat way too many. Actually, the dough was better than the cookies! These look awesome! I’m saving these and will most likely gain 2 lbs when I make them!

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  3. These do sound yummy! I have never gotten an orange cake mix, but am sure game. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Oh I would love some gooey butter cake immediately!

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  5. GASP. Cake mix from a cake connoisseur! Haha, that makes me feel better about the two boxes of cake mix I have right now…
    Do you think these are good enough to send as a mail? I want to send these to my brother for his graduation package…

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    • Girl, there is NO shame in using cake mix. I use it almost exclusively. Yes, they are good enough but they have cream cheese in them so you’d want to ship them Priority or overnight so they don’t go bad in the mail.

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  6. I want some of this… I can feel my arteries clogging already. And I love it.

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  7. Haha not gonna lie, I definitely use blogging as an excuse to make decadent things…and then I HAVE to eat them for taste testing purposes! Obviously :P

    These sunshine bars would definitely bring some much-needed sunshine into my life!

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  8. I love love goey bars.. i really like how you used the lemon cake and the curd. I will def have to try this one!
    I didn’t do any Easter posts, at least you got one in.
    :)
    Hope you had a wonderful day today!

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  9. I agree that food blogging can be hard on a girl’s diet, lol! I’m glad you made (and shared!) these though…we have to do what we have to do, right? ;) I’m a fan of gooey butter cake too and I would definitely be all over these!

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  10. I agree about the dieting and food blogging….it’s not a good mix. However, these bars looks amazing. I would gladly eat one…or two…or three…

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  11. Looks awesome.Thanks for recipe.

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  12. I hear you about the whole blogging is not good for the diet thing!! No kidding!!! Oh well, sometimes you have to take one for the team. :)
    Those bars look delicious. I have that Paula Deen recipe on my list of things to try. She can do no wrong. :)

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  13. oh these look sooo good…

    lol @ the stuff about the diet and points….oh my gosh, I have soooo been there….yes…it is true…we food bloggers sacrifice when it is neccessary….lol

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  14. Pingback: Tuesday Thanksgivings #23 | Going Down

  15. Pingback: Lemon Meringue Pie | Veronica's Cornucopia

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