Now I know, there are those few (not mentioning any names here Paul) who love the flavor of lemon, but not in a dessert. But for many people, myself included, any type of lemon dessert is just about as good as it gets. I adore lemon meringue pie, lemon cookies (see Glazed Italian Lemon Cookies on this blog) and of course – lemon gelato. So for our last JazzVox pre-concert meal, I decided to give in to my lemon cravings and prepare a very unusual sweet for my guests. 

Now I had baked gooey butter cakes before, so I knew that they were not only delicious, but different. So with lemon in mind, I went on line and found this marvelous recipe for a lemon gooey butter cake on the “go bold with butter” site.  So last weekend I made a double batch of this cake for our JazzVox guests.

All thoughts of lemon gelato and even lemon meringue pie disappeared after my first bite. The crust was crisp and slightly chewy, and the filling super gooey, lemony, and heavenly.   

Now something you should know. Gooey butter cakes are about as much like a standard cake as tap water is to vodka! A regular cake (let’s take a homemade white cake as an example) usually has a rich, moist, fine crumb (the individual particles of cake), and a “melt in your mouth” sensation when you eat it. This cake is much more like a lemon bar on steroids! But since this dessert is classified as a “cake”, who am I to rock the apple cart and call it anything but its given name?!?!

Ease of preparation and availability of ingredients are also aspects of this recipe which make it a pleasure to prepare and serve to your family and friends.

So next time you want to build a unique dessert that absolutely everyone will love (except Paul, of course), bake this butter cake. As I always say – vive la différence. And never more so than with this “cake” which is really more of a bar/pudding with crust/whatever!! Enjoy

  • 2 c. cake flour
  • 1½ c. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 small egg, room temperature
  • ½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 T. whole milk
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 4 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 3¾ c. powdered sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • ½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Blend the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and kosher salt together with an electric mixer. Add the small egg, ½ cup melted butter, and milk. Beat on low speed for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. The batter should come together into a loose ball. Pat the batter evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 9×13 pan. (Use glass if possible.) Set the pan aside.

Using the same mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the 3 large eggs, and beat until smooth. Pour in vanilla extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice, beating until combined. Add the powdered sugar and beat well. Finally, slowly add the last ½ cup of melted butter, mixing well to combine.

Pour the batter on top of the bottom layer and spread evenly over the entire crust.

Bake in a pre-heated 325 degree oven (glass) or 350 degree (metal) for 50-60 minutes, or just until set. Do not over-bake. The outer edges of the cake should be brown, but the center should still jiggle when the pan is shaken.

Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool before cutting into serving sized pieces. Before serving, lightly sprinkle powdered sugar on each piece. (To sprinkle, place powdered sugar in a fine mesh wire strainer. Then gently shake the strainer until desired amount is achieved.)

Please note: This cake can be made a day or two ahead. The crust stays crisp and the filling does not get watery even after 2 or 3 days. Perfect.

My “muse” Miles –  sleeping on the job! Again!


Please let me know if you like this recipe. Thanks