There are all kinds of desserts out there – fudgy, creamy, crunchy – but the gooey variety don’t seem to get quite the attention they deserve. And why not? Eating something with a custardy smoosh is always so satisfying. These easy bars are based on the ever-wonderful Gooey Butter Cake (which really celebrates the greatness of ooey-gooeyness) but with some maple-flavored flair. They’re rich and indulgent, but they still make it pretty hard to stop at just one.
Their base is a dense pecan-studded layer that’s fashioned from cake mix, butter, and an egg. It’s a hearty crusty layer that stands up to the ooey-gooeyness that’ll top it. The next layer is much more pourable – a mixture of cream cheese, eggs, maple syrup, and powdered sugar.
As they bake, the cream cheese layer sets up a bit – but not completely – so when they emerge from the oven there’s still a jiggle going on.
Which means that when you bite into one of these bars, you are greeted not just with the crunch of pecans and a cookie crust but also with a gentle gush of buttery, custardy maple. They prove the point that gooey desserts deserve just as much acclaim as their fudgy, crunchy, creamy cousins.
Maple Gooey Butter Bars
- 1 box yellow cake mix
- 4 tablespoons pecans, finely ground
- 3 tablespoons salted butter, melted
- 3 eggs, divided
- 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 (16 oz) bag powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F and grease and line a 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang on each side.
- In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, pecans, butter, and 1 egg until thoroughly combined. Press mixture firmly into bottom of prepared pan.
- In a clean bowl, mix together the cream cheese, remaining 2 eggs, maple syrup, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until well combined. Pour over cake mix layer and spread out evenly with a spatula if needed.
- Bake until edges are lightly golden and center jiggles slightly, about 30 minutes.
- Cool completely in pan. Lift bars out using parchment paper and slice into squares. Dust lightly with powdered sugar and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Bakers Royale.