Easy Gooey Butter Cookies

Sorry to anyone on a diet this month … my bad. But it’s cold, and I’m in the mood to bake some cookies. These are inspired by gooey butter cake, a truly delicious dessert that happens to be from St. Louis, Missouri—not too far from where I live. If you’ve never had gooey butter cake before, take a minute to google it (unless you’re on a diet, then don’t!) and marvel at the goodness. I think it’s a really cute, although pretty unassuming cake. It’s certainly not a fancy layer cake or anything, more like a slab cake or cookie bars. But it’s SO delicious. I shared a pineapple upside-down version last year if you’re interested.
Gooey butter cake usually starts with a box of yellow cake mix. And so do these cookies. Then you just need five other ingredients and BOOM—delicious cookies. These are soft and, yes, almost gooey (in a good way).
No, those are not marshmallows. I really wanted this cookie recipe to have some variation in texture. Gooey butter cake is really two layers with a kind of crust and then an almost-custard on top. I was aiming for more a soft and cake-like cookie, but I did want some variation of texture since these are inspired by the cake version. So, one thing I tried (and ended up really liking) was stirring in some cold cream cheese cubes before baking. These leaves little pockets of soft and gooey cream cheese throughout the cookies; almost cheesecake like.
Figured I’d better explain that since they do really look like marshmallows.
You can use any brand of yellow cake you like or have in your pantry already, or a vanilla cake mix would work in a pinch, too.
These are so easy to throw together and truly delicious! I hope you enjoy them. But, if you’re looking to bake some cookies but wishing for something with chocolate, might I recommend chocolate snowcap mountain cookies or chocolate flecked slice and bake cookies. xo. Emma

Gooey Butter Cookies

  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (divided)
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the yellow cake mix, 4 ounces cream cheese (softened), the softened butter, vanilla extract, and the egg. Stir until well combined, into a soft dough. Cube the remaining (cold) cream cheese and fold in. Some may mix but you don’t want the pieces to completely mix in, you want them to remain small cubes as much as possible.
  2. Spoon onto a baking sheet lined with a baking mat or parchment paper. Bake at 325°F for 10-11 minutes. These should still be very soft in the center. Remove to a cooling rack and dust with powdered sugar.