Shortbread cookie bottom topped with a buttery, melt in your mouth cake filling, these grapefruit strawberry gooey butter bars will become a party favorite!
Disclosure: This post was originally created in partnership with BHG’s Delish Dish Blog series.
Butter Cake Bars
There are brownies, blondies, and cookie bars. And then, there are butter bars!
BHG introduced me to the wonderful-ness of gooey butter this year. It’s a long time popular staple in St. Louis. However, this Southern California native is just learning about them now!
There are many variations this this sweet, rich dessert. Essentially, these bars are comprised of two layers: a shortbread crust topped with soft cake filling. Combined together, these two layers create a unique, decadent, melt in your mouth treat.
Many shortcut versions use store-bought boxed yellow cake mix. Take the extra effort make the cake layer from scratch!
These gooey butter bars are made with kitchen staple ingredients: butter, flour, sugar, and eggs.
The one ingredient that may be controversial is the use of light corn syrup in the cake batter filling. Corn syrup has developed an unfair, bad reputation over the years.
Light corn syrup is not the same product as high-fructose corn syrup (or known as glucose-fructose in Canada).
Light corn syrup is commonly used is frostings, ice cream, and frozen desserts to prevent sugar crystallization. It is often using in baked goods to prevent browning and add sweetness.
Dessert Bar Toppings
These gooey butter bars are very rich and very sweet. To lighten up this intense dessert, top the cake with a fresh fruit!
I used a combination of grapefruit segments and sliced strawberries. The fruits are marinated in a syrup of honey and grated ginger. It’s a perfect balance of sweetness and zing.
You’ll have to drain the fruits before topping the cake, but be sure to keep that liquid. You can add a small drizzle to the cake before serving, or use it to sweetened iced teas!
This cake works with a variety of fruits. Here are some great options: sliced peaches, figs, nectarines, and mixed berries.
Grapefruit Strawberry Gooey Butter Bars
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter, cold
- ⅔ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ⅔ cup whole milk
- 1 ½ cup sliced fresh strawberries
- 1 ½ cup grapefruit segments
- 2 Tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Crust: Whisk together flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender (or two forks), cut butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse crumbly sand. Transfer into prepared pan and press into an even layer. Set aside.
- Filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using an electric hand mixer), beat butter and sugar until smooth. Scrape sides of bowl as needed.
- Add corn syrup, egg, and vanilla extract. Continue to mix until well combined.
- Add flour in three additions, alternating with milk. Mix until just combined. Transfer batter into prepared pan over crust.
- Bake for 28-30 minutes until the center of the cake no longer jiggles. Cool to room temperature in pan. Cake will harden as it cools. Remove from pan and slice into bars.
- Topping: In a small bowl, toss together strawberries, grapefruit, honey, and ginger. Garnish tops of cooled butter bars with fruit.
More Bar Cookie Recipes
- Almond Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- Peanut Marshmallow Bars
- Butter Pecan Blondies
- Peanut Caramel Brownies