And he's a special guy, so for his birthday I made one of his favorites — Gooey Butter Cake.
Brad is from Kansas and I'm from New Jersey, so we had to be very purposeful when deciding to pursue our relationship. And when he permanently moved to Philadelphia five years ago, I knew I was a lucky girl! We've since gotten married and had a beautiful baby girl. He's supported me in amazing ways over those years — most recently as my "labor and delivery support person" (at least that's what the hospital bracelet he had to wear called it). He was so great in the delivery room that the nurses and doctor asked him what birth classes we took (shhh, we didn't take any classes!). And I just love watching him with Katy — she lights up when she hears or sees her daddy!
I could go on and on, but I should probably stop myself and get back to the Gooey Butter Cake. Until I met Brad, I had never heard of this confection, so I think it might be a southern/midwestern phenomenon. But it's something that his mom sometimes makes for family gatherings, which was where I got my first taste of it.
So what's it like? Well, it's sweet, buttery, and delicious! It's got a more dense, cakey bottom layer with a layer of ooey, gooey, sweet goodness on top. The combo is delicious! Brad and I aren't huge fans of traditional cake, so this makes for a nice, slightly unconventional birthday treat.
There are many variations on the web (e.g., pumpkin, chocolate, Nutella), but I stuck with the original for his birthday. K.I.S.S., right? There are also a lot of different ways to make the original version, so I borrowed from several recipes out there to come up with my own concoction. (I began with Paula Deen's recipe but was horrified that it calls for two sticks of butter and 8 oz. of cream cheese!!)
Gooey Butter Cake (makes 1 9x13" cake)
1 box yellow cake mix (I used Pillsbury — pudding in the mix!)
2 extra large eggs
8 tbsp. butter, melted (1 stick)
1 tsp. vanilla
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 extra large eggs
1 tbsp. butter, melted
16 oz. (1 lb) box confectioners sugar (reserve a few tablespoons to sift on top)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9x13 glass dish with cooking spray (or grease with butter).
Mix together the ingredients for the bottom layer. Batter will be fairly thick. Using the palm of your (clean) hand or a spatula, press the mixture into the prepared baking dish in an even layer.
Next mix together the ingredients for the delicious gooey layer, breaking up any lumps in the sugar. Pour this mixture over the bottom layer and spread evenly.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden. Parts of the cake may puff up — this is a good thing!
Let cool completely, and then use a small sieve to dust the top of the cake with the reserved tablespoons of confectioners sugar.