Monday, February 25, 2008

An Explosion in My Oven

I had an unexpectedly exciting day.

My intent was to share with you a yummy dinner from this weekend. I was going to write about a beautiful beef tenderloin that I served with a Port-Cherry Reduction sauce. The sauce was very decadent. But, my day derailed that plan.  I promise - I will share that recipe with you at a later date.

Instead, I'm going to tell you about the day that I had. I had a very easy project. I needed to bring a dessert to a meeting that I was attending this evening. Really, baking a dessert is an ordinary thing to do. But, then the extraordinary happened. I decided to bake an old standby, Gooey Butter Cakes made famous by Paula Deen. Gooey Butter Cakes are baked like you would bake brownies.  You bake them in a pan and then cut them into individual bars. I chose a new Pyrex casserole dish. I popped them into my preheated oven and proceeded to clean up the kitchen.

About 10 minutes later, I heard a crashing noise.  It startled me.  I looked around, and thought, "what was that?" It sounded like it came from my oven.  I tentatively opened the oven door.  I couldn't believe my eyes. The pyrex dish had EXPLODED! It didn't just crack, it exploded into a thousand pieces. Shattered glass was everywhere. Do you want to know what the best part is?  The very best part is that the gooey butter cakes were still very much gooey. Imagine gooey butter cake filling dripping through the oven racks. The sugar filling was dripping and burning on the bottom of the oven. It was a hot mess!

I quickly turned the oven off, but everything was so hot. I had to wait a bit for it to cool before I could remove it. It took me about an hour to clean that oven. And, I still needed to bake a dessert. Time was of the essence.  Thank goodness this recipe is so quick and easy to make.  I whipped up a new one and stuck in the oven.  Unfortunately, I completely missed the opportunity to take pictures. Where was my camera when I needed it? I wasn't even thinking about Cafe Nay Nay during this ordeal.  The picture of the exploded Pyrex in the oven would have been priceless.

The good news is that the second version made it through the baking process without any explosions. So after this experience, I knew I would have to share Gooey Butter Cakes with you. Now, about the dessert....

If you've ever watched Paula Deen, you may have seen her make these little gems. She actually serves them in her restaurant, The Lady & Sons, in Savannah, Georgia. I grew up in Savannah, so I have a special place in my heart for Paula. And, if you've ever tasted these sweet treats, you will be hooked. It is probably one of my most requested dishes. The beauty of Gooey Butter Cakes is that you can make many different variations. One word of caution, this recipe is full of butter and sugar. 

What to Drink:  When I take a bite of Gooey Butter Cake, the only thing my palate craves is a big glass of milk!  

Until we can visit again, raise a glass and Cheers to You!

Gooey Butter Cakes
by Paula Deen

One 18 1/4-ounce package yellow cake mix
1 egg
1 stick of butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine ingredients and mix well. Press into a lightly greased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Prepare filling.

One 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick of butter, melted
One 16-ounce box powdered sugar
Semi-sweet chocolate chips, mini

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla. Add butter; beat. Add powdered sugar and mix well. Spread over cake mixture. Generously sprinkle the top with chocolate chips. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. You want the center to be a little gooey, so do not overbake.

1. For the holidays, add a 15-ounce can of pumpkin to the filling; add cinnamon and nutmeg.
2. Add a 20-ounce can of drained crushed pineapple to the filling.
3. Use a lemon cake mix. Add lemon juice and zest to the filling.
4. Use a chocolate cake mix. Add chocolate chips and nuts on top.
5. Use a chocolate cake mix. Add 3/4 to 1 cup of peanut butter and nuts to the filling.


Caroline said...

Looks ultra yummy!

MrOrph said...

Pyrex? Exploding? That's pretty scary. I thought they were indestructible.

Those cakes look great though, but being from Paula Deen, only ONE stick of butter?

Renee said...

mrorph, I couldn't believe it either. It was the first time I used the pan. It must have had a defect. As far as the butter, there are 2 Sticks of butter - one in the cake and one in the filling. You know Paula, butter, butter, and more butter!

Caroline, thanks for the comment. They are yummy! Sinfully sweet.

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Anonymous said...

I did the exploding Pyrex dish when I was young, but it was on the stove top! haha.
I saw your post on the DBers and just wanted to stop by and say hello :)

HoneyB said...

Hi Renee, I saw your post on the DB page and came here to check your blog out. I can't imagine having to deal with a mess like that and then have the energy to still make something! Kudos to your for doing it! The gooey butter cake looks like it turned out yummy...the 2nd batch ;-)