Gooey, buttery, creamy, and blasted with vanilla flavor, these vanilla cream bars have it all! They begin with a crunchy vanilla cake base that is then topped with smooth, decadent vanilla milkshake flavored filling. In fact, you may find these are a less sweet version of classic gooey butter cake meets cheesecake in an epic dessert bar that you will make over and over again! This is one crave worthy vanilla dessert that is super simple to make and will quickly become a household favorite!
My Gooey Butter Cupcakes are one of my most popular recipes. But I have been asked why haven’t posted a made from scratch St. Louis Gooey Butter cake recipe. While I love my hometown classic dessert, I just find it way too sweet for my taste. So I created these Vanilla Cream Cake Bars to fulfill those cravings for a lower sugar alternative to gooey butter cake!
These luscious, silky, golden Vanilla Cream Bars are a triple whammy of the best of vanilla desserts in one unforgettable bite. These easy dessert bars taste like a cross between an old fashioned vanilla milkshake, kissed with a hint of cheesecake, with a touch of gooey butter cake bliss. Oh, and let’s not forget the vanilla crunchy cake base that holds it all together.
Making Vanilla Cream Bars
Making Vanilla Cream Bars is very simple and takes only minutes to put together and about 30 to bake. Bonus, you can use one bowl. What I love about these dreamy vanilla bars is that you can make them last minute with ingredients you most likely have on hand. You can make them on a whim without any pre-planning like bringing ingredients to room temperature.
In fact, I created these last night at 6 pm when a dessert craving hit and I didn’t have much on hand. I had a craving for something vanilla flavored, that would be quick, easy, and still insanely delicious. I kept thinking about Mini cheesecakes or gooey butter cake, but I decided to create these easy Vanilla Cream Bars instead. Let’s dive in.
The first step in making these vanilla cream bars is making a press in crunchy cake crust. This cake crust differs slightly from gooey butter cake since you will notice it is more like a shortbread or sugar cookie dough texture. This makes it bake up with an awesome crunch that compliments the gooey center.
After making the crust you can easily wipe out the bowl and the mixer attachments with a paper towel and move on to making the creamy vanilla filling. That’s how no fuss these dessert bars are!
The cream cheese and butter for the filling gets warmed in the microwave before mixing, so no need to let them come to room temperature. Another reason why I love these easy, fast dessert bars! The filling comes together quickly and gets poured over the crust. Then you bake it for about 25-30 minutes. It will still jiggle slightly when it’s done. Allow it to firm up for at least 20 minutes.
I tried eating them warm and at room temperature. And you can really eat them either way, but allowing the baked bats to come to room temp gives the flavor and texture time to settle.
A sprinkle of powdered sugar completes these epic Vanilla Cream Bars!
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Creamy Vanilla Bars
These creamy dessert bars taste like a cross between an old fashioned vanilla milkshake, kissed with a hint of cheesecake, and a touch of gooey butter cake bliss held together with a crunchy cake crust.
Crunchy Cake Crust
- 6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ¼ Cup All purpose Flour
Vanilla Cream Filling
- 6 ounces cream cheese
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 Cup powdered sugar plus 1 tablespoon
- 2 tablespoon powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 inch square baking dish with parchment paper.
Soften butter by placing in a large microwavable mixing bowl. Heat for approximately seconds until soft.
Then use a handheld mixer and beat butter for 30 seconds on medium speed.
Add granulated sugar and beat for an additional two minutes. Mixture will be crumbly.
Then add the egg yolk and vanilla. Continue to beat for an additional 1-2 minutes until all of the egg is incorporated. Please note this is a crumbly dough.
Then add the salt and baking soda and give a quick mix to incorporate. Add flour and mix using the lowest speed until a dough forms.
Then dump crumbly dough into pan. Press along the bottom and all up the sides of the pan. Now make the filling.
To make this as an easy one bowl recipe, simply Wipe out the bowl with a paper towel to remove any of the dough crumbs. You can also use a new bowl if desired.
To make filling, combine the butter and cream cheese in the bowl. If the ingredients are straight from your fridge, then microwave for 20 seconds, until softened. Then beat the butter and cream cheese for two minutes with your hand mixer on medium high speed.
Add then egg and vanilla and beat for an additional minute, or until fluffy and smooth.
Then sprinkle in the salt and powdered sugar. On low speed, mix until smooth and creamy.
Pour onto crust.
Bake for 25-30 minutes. Crust will become golden brown. The filling will still be slightly jiggly and will set over cooling period.
Allow bars to come to room temp before sprinkling with powdered sugar.
Cut into squares and enjoy!
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