What do you get when you combine a stick of butter, a box of cake mix, a packet of cream cheese, a bag of powdered sugar, three eggs, a capful of vanilla, and a bunch of sprinkles? Obviously, something really delicious. More specifically: funfetti-shortbread-on-the-bottom, Momofuku-crack-pie-like-filling-on-the-top birthday cake bars.
I won’t try to tell you these are healthy or light (that would be a ginormous lie), but they are extremely tasty, and they’re rich enough that you can get away with serving one-inch square pieces. 1/64th of a bag of powdered sugar isn’t that bad, right? (Disclaimer: just because you might be full after one piece does not guarantee you’ll want to stop after one piece …)
Besides, birthday sweets are supposed to be celebratory and indulgent, and these fit the bill to a T. And they’re leaps and bounds easier than putting together a pretty birthday cake—you don’t even have to get out the measuring cups (let alone the kitchen scale!)
Ooey Gooey Birthday Cake Bars
Adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar via Some Kitchen Stories
- 1 box of funfetti cake mix
- 1 stick of butter, melted
- 3 eggs
- 1 8-oz packet of cream cheese, softened
- 1 16-oz bag of powdered sugar
- About 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350° F and line an 8″ x 8″ pan with parchment paper, leaving some hangover on the sides (this will make the bars easier to remove). Mix together cake mix, butter, and one egg until completely combined.
Transfer mixture to prepared pan.
Press the mixture into the pan with a sheet of parchment paper to create an even layer.
Cream together cream cheese, remaining two eggs, powdered sugar, and vanilla.
Pour gooey layer over cake layer and spread to the edges with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle on some sprinkles.
Bake for 40–45 minutes or until edges are golden brown and center is creamy yet solid (it should wiggle just a bit if you shake the pan). The edges might be more raised than the center (that’s okay).
Let cool at room temperature, then transfer to the freezer for about an hour (you can skip this step if you’re in a hurry, but it will make them a lot easier to cut).
Slice into 64 one-inch or 32 two-inch squares. Keep a warm, wet towel nearby to wipe off your knife between cuts.
Optional: fill a small shallow bowl with sprinkles and dip the sides of each bar. Trim the bottom 1/4 off of a few birthday candles and insert them into the centers of some of the bars.