Lemon Cakes for Daisy (St. Louis Gooey Butter Bars)

April 28, 2013
Lemon Cakes for Daisy (St. Louis Gooey Butter Bars)

Author Notes:

I was asked "What would you serve for a Great Gatsby party?" We were promoting our St. Margaret's Hospital Guild's Designer Show House and the signature dessert is a "Maggie's Bar". This is a rift on an old St. Louis classic, the gooey butter cake. This isn't Melissa Clarke's NYT recipe--but the version with the packaged cake mix. I took liberties with the Maggie's bar by adding lemon to fit the Gatsby theme and swapping almonds for the pecans in the crust. In the summer, this is a great base for a frozen berry compote with lime zest, cardamon and mint.


Makes: 15 pieces



  • 1 packet yellow cake mix
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup whole almonds, toasted and chopped
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • lemon zest

Gooey Butter Filling

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temp
  • 3 large eggs, room temp
  • 3 meyer lemons, juiced and zested
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
In This Recipe



  1. Combine cake mix, chopped almonds, lemon zest and melted butter. Prep a 9 x 13 pan with non-stick cooking spray or butter and lightly pat mixture into pan.

Gooey Butter Filling

  1. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese on med-hi for 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time until fully incorporated.
  2. Add juice of lemons. If meyer lemons are out of season, use 2 small lemons and 1/2 of an orange or substitute a small box of lemon pudding mix (you are starting with a box cake mix, so get over yourself!)
  3. Lower your mixer speed to stir and add in your powdered sugar. Slowly increase speed to med-hi and beat for 3 minutes.
  4. Pour cream cheese mixture over cake crust mix. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes. The edges will be chewy and puffed, the center will be somewhat soft and gooey.

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