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Gooey Cake

Jun. 13, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Everything I am today I credit to effort and failure. I can't even count how many times I have burned biscuits, flattened breads that were supposed to be fluffy and full, and introduced flavors that should never have met.

One of the aspects of my personality that I should probably be less proud to admit to is that I can fail like nobody's business. Though I am often protective of my time, being careful to allow for daydreaming and staring into space (ideas are best born when my mouth isn't moving), I am mostly consumed with spontaneity, which I prefer to call "effort on the fly."

Being spontaneous is a cruel kindness. On the one hand, it most likely is the reason Thomas Edison said, "I have not failed, I have found 10,000 ways it will not work." But on the other hand, it's how discovery is born and failure becomes your reward.

I'm not going to tell you how this dish (failure) turned out to be an awesome discovery or reward. This is a moment to reflect on how not to do it. I made this cake disregarding that it needed to be made in an oblong pan. I've gotten pretty good at improvising, especially when all my 9x13 inch pans are at my cafe. Most of the time my "swapping this for that" method of cooking usually works. However, this is not one of those times and my only reward from this big failure is knowing the round decorative pie pan will make this "gooey cake" a "what's it supposed to be cake."

Though you can't tell by the picture, under the crusty top is a liquid center. Allowing it to stretch out over the inches an oblong pan provides, the liquid center would seep into the crust making this cake deliciously gooey. It still tasted amazing and it's so simple that it's a must-have recipe that will make your eyes roll back in your head.

Regarding last week's recipe, Cast Iron Black Berry Cobbler: I had a lot of calls about this recipe because I forgot to designate the type of flour used. It's 1 cup self-rising flour. I'm sorry for the inconvenience.

GOOEY CAKE

Crust

1 (18 1/4 ounce) package yellow cake mix

8 tablespoons butter, melted (1 stick)

1 large egg

Filling

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

8 tablespoons butter, melted (1 stick)

3 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Set aside an ungreased 13- x 9-inch baking pan.

For the crust, place the cake mix, melted butter, and egg in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 2 minutes. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. The batter should come together in a ball. With your fingertips, pat the batter evenly over the bottom of the pan, smoothing it out with your fingers. Set the pan aside.

For the filling, place the cream cheese in the same mixing bowl and with the same beaters (no need to clean either) blend with an electric mixer on low speed until fluffy, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and add the eggs, vanilla, and melted butter and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Stop the machine and add the confectioners' sugar. Beat on medium speed until sugar is well incorporated, 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Pour the filling onto the crust and spread with rubber spatula so that the filling covers the entire surface and reaches the sides of the pan. Place the pan in the oven.

Bake until well browned but the center still jiggles when you shake the pan, 45-47 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool, 30 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.

Janet McCormick is the author of "10-Minute Meals" and owner of Let's Eat in Huntington. She lives in Lawrence County, Ohio. She can be reached at 304-654-2003 or www.10-minutemeals.com.

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