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Apple Gooey Butter Cake is a one of a kind dessert that is rich, creamy and sinfully delicious. It is the perfect dessert recipe for fall and Thanksgiving. Easy to make and always a crowd-pleaser!
I'm going to preface this post by confessing two things.
- This recipe is unique to my blog because the crust is not 100% homemade. Don't hate me! I have good reasons.
- I truly, truly despise the word 'gooey' (eeek) and typing out that word all over this post makes me extremely uncomfortable.
So then, why am I posting this recipe??
This dessert is THAT GOOD.
It's so good that I could honestly care less that it's called gooey whatever, with a semi-homemade crust. This dessert is out of bounds, delicious, sinful, blissful, naughty, all of the above.
You will have a very, very hard time stopping at one piece!
If you haven't had some version of Gooey Butter Cake yet, you are missing out! I know during fall time, pumpkin is an extremely popular flavor for this dessert.
Today I bring you an apple version that is the perfect way to welcome the fall season!
A spiced cake/crust bottom with a thick layer of gooey, sweet, creamy, appley filling. How can you go wrong??
What's In Apple Gooey Butter Cake
Oof, there's the word gooey again! I know, but there really is no other way to describe it! The filling is like a baked custard, but a little different. It doesn't bake as firm and it's not quite dense in the same way a cheesecake or pumpkin pie is.
It's got the elements of a custard, but it's just a little more, well, gooey!
The filling is made with...
- Cream cheese
- Melted butter
- Reduced/thickened applesauce
It is definitely unique, which makes this dessert super craveable.
The filling is poured on top of a semi-homemade crust, and if you guessed it's made with a box of cake mix, you'd be right!
Why You Need Boxed Cake Mix
Most gooey butter cake recipes call for a box of cake mix as the base of the crust. It's classic, it's what makes it.
While I definitely aim to keep all of my recipes 100% from scratch, I just couldn't skip the cake mix here. It's part of the flavor experience of gooey butter cake!
You can definitely venture out, making your own crust with flour and baking powder etc. It wouldn't take much to grab a recipe and I have no doubt it would be tasty. But, there's something about the box mix; it wouldn't be the same without it!
Spice Cake Mix Works Better
Most fall-flavored gooey butter cakes call for yellow cake mix, but today I opted for spice cake mix.
It pairs so well with the light and fragrant apple filling. It's the perfect fall dessert, especially if you're like me and not quite ready for pumpkin season yet!
How to Serve Apple Gooey Butter Cake
I go back and forth on how I best prefer to serve this. I like it all ways!
If you want optimal gooeyness, it's best served slightly warm or at room temp.
I think it's also excellent served chilled. If you can make it a day in advance, it's even better (psst! this is an excellent make ahead dessert for Thanksgiving!)
It's a Great Make Ahead Dessert
If you want to make this recipe ahead of time, simply bake it off and let it cool completely. Cover the top tightly with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge until an hour or so before you want to serve it. That way, you have some time to allow it to come back to room temp.
While this cake is certainly amazing with no toppings, a swirl of whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce makes it all that better. I also like to add a bit of crunch with slivered almonds sprinkled over the top. I love how it looks!
Looking for another great apple recipe? Try my Apple Whoopie Pies!Print
For the Crust
- 1 egg
- 8 tbsp of butter (either salted or unsalted works), melted
- 1 box of spice cake mix
For the Filling
- 8oz of full fat cream cheese, at room temp
- 15 oz reduced, unsweetened applesauce (start with 25 oz of unsweetened applesauce, then reduce it on medium heat in a pot/pan for about 20 min until thickened, see notes)
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 8 tbsp butter (unsalted or salted works), melted
- 3 ½ c of powdered sugar
- 1 ½ tsp cinnamon (I prefer Ceylon Cinnamon)
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- Whipped cream
- Slivered Almonds
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9x13 baking pan with butter or cooking spray.
- Start by making the crust. In a large bowl, combine the egg & butter, then the cake mix using an electric hand mixer. Best to start on low speed and then mix on medium speed until combined.
- Spread the cake mixture into the bottom of the pan evenly. Set aside.
- Next, make the filling. In another large bowl, beat the cream cheese and reduced applesauce. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Add the eggs, vanilla and butter and mix until fully combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Lastly, add the powdered sugar and spices. Mix on low speed until completely combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Pour the filling over the unbaked crust.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the filling is just set. You want to have a little jiggle in the center. Be sure not to overbake as the cake could loose it's famous gooeyness!
- Place on a wire rack and allow to fully cool.
- Store in the fridge until ready to serve. Remove from the fridge one hour before serving to serve at room temp. Top with whipped cream, a caramel drizzle and slivered almonds (toppings optional!)
- Best consumed within 3-4 days.
Recipe by Owlbbaking.com
Adapted from Paula Deen
To make reduced applesauce
Pour 25oz of unsweetened applesauce into a pot or skillet. Cook on medium heat until reduced and thickened, about 25 minutes. The extra water should be evaporated and the applesauce should hold soft peaks when you run your spatula through it. It will equal about 15oz when done (I use a food scale). Allow to cool before adding into the recipe.
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 45
- Category: Cake
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Apple Gooey Butter Cake, Gooey Butter Cake, Fall Dessert, Paula Deen Gooey Butter Cake, Thanksgiving Desserts