Time for another recipe that was ruthlessly cut from the final draft of Grace Group. This one is one of my all time favorites, and the dessert I am most likely to bring to anything I’m invited to (assuming my kids don’t get sick or I don’t get an attack of introvert-itus and just no show). I wasn’t sure which character should get to bring the amazingly awesome Ooey Gooey cake. I kind of thought Lydia, since she’s a mother/grandmotherly type, but I’m not sure she’s worthy. Michael on the other hand, perfect, dreamy, handsome, wonderful Michael (who is apparently too good for Holly, according to one reviewer, but I’m not sure I agree) is just the sort of hunky guy who’d bring Ooey Gooey. If he baked. Fortunately, it’s all in my control so he does, and here it is.
Michael’s Ooey Gooey Cake
This is like cake and cheesecake all rolled into one. The original recipe was garnered out of a simply ingenious book called ‘The Cake Mix Doctor’ (Volume 1) that my super cool friend Tara, a forensic CSI who also is a terrific baker, told me about. The best thing about this recipe is that it’s extremely versatile in that you can start with a base and basically add anything to it. I’ve topped this with cherries, blueberries and even made a pumpkin version. I’m not crazy about the chocolate version…but I bet it would be great if you used a chocolate cake base. Just sayin’. Anyway, here’s the basics.
1 package of vanilla or golden cake mix
½ cup butter
Beat together until it forms a big sticky glob. Smoosh it into a 9×11 cake pan. Don’t bother washing the bowl or beaters, it’s fine.
8 oz softened cream cheese
½ cup butter (I know, I know)
Vanilla (paste or liquid) – about 2 tsp
3 ¾ cup icing sugar
Whip the cream cheese until really fluffy. If you slack off here, you’ll have little lump of cream cheese in the final product which doesn’t taste bad but doesn’t look as pretty. Add butter, then eggs & vanilla, then the icing sugar.
Bake at 350 for 50 minutes. It should be golden brown, but will be jiggly when you take it out of the oven, so don’t worry.
Variations: You can add pecans or slivered almonds to the crust. If you’re adding almonds, try a bit of almond extract in the filling as well.
I like the almond one by itself, or topped with cherry pie filling. You can also add lemon if you like lemon-y things (Michael and I don’t, but it’s up to you). For the pumpkin one, I used carrot cake for the base, and mixed in about 1 cup of pureed pumpkin and all the pumpkin pie seasonings to taste. It was really good. If you really want to try the chocolate marble version, you just reserve a cup of the filling, melt about 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave, blend it with the reserved filling and drizzle it over the rest of the filling that’s on the crust already, using your knife to make the beautiful patterns that never work for me, but maybe you’ll have better luck. Like I said, I think the chocolate is overkill and overwhelms the cheesecake-y awesomeness, but that’s me. It might work better with a chocolate crust, but I’ve never tried.
If you try this, please email or comment on any yummy variations you try! I would love to hear from you.
PS I’ve written, 10 tips on dealing with multiple (conflicting) priorities. If you’d like a free copy, just click here!