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Friday, November 18, 2011

50 Women Game Changers in Food - #24 Paula Deen - Peanut Butter Gooey Butter Cake



From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Paula Deen has been described by those who know her as a force of nature. That may be an exaggeration, but it is fun to think of her as an aproned Mother Nature hurling thunderbolts from the tip of her stainless whisk and wooden spoon. She's been the butt of endless butter and cream jokes, but she takes them in her stride and seems to have been given that most precious of gifts, the ability to laugh at oneself. She has many detractors, but even they cannot deny that she's brought huge numbers of women back to the kitchen and codified the cooking of a region and an era in the process. I must tell you that while I'm not a fan, I am an admirer. Paula began professional cooking following a divorce that left her with $200 and responsibility for two teenage sons. She was considered to be a good Southern cook, so, lacking other marketable skills and suffering from agoraphobia that kept her housebound, she started a small catering business called The Bag Lady. She made and bagged meals that her boys delivered them to customers. The Bag Lady was very successful and she soon outgrew the space in her home. She moved on to the kitchen of a hotel in Savannah and stayed there for five years before opening her own successful restaurant, The Lady and Sons. In 1997, she self-published her first cookbook, The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cooking. The book was noticed by a literary agent and it went on to become an enormously successful best seller. She has since written three more books. She first appeared on the Food Network in 1999 and has remained their ever since. Her credits also include a role in the movie, Elizabethtown. Paula Deen has establish an empire that centers around cooking and hospitality. She has been very successful and helped rekindle an interest in Southern home cooking. She has, for the most part, left healthier cooking to others, and I suspect she'd tell her many critics that she never planned to be a missionary. I think she's earned her place on the Gourmet Live list of 50 Women Game-Changers in food. I did some quick research before selecting the recipe I wanted to feature today. Paula's gooey butter cakes have consistently been the most popular of her recipes. They are actually a version of Southern chess cakes, but they are much easier to prepare. I chose to make the version that uses peanut butter because it National Peanut Butter Lover's Month and, besides, someone else was making the pumpkin version. If you love sweet things, I think you'll love these cake squares. If I make them again, I'll add a cup of salted peanuts to the cream cheese mixture. Here's the recipe.

Peanut Butter Gooey Butter Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Paula Deen

Ingredients:
1 (18 1/4-ounce) package chocolate cake mix
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13 x 9-inch pan. Set aside
2) Combine cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat mixture into bottom of prepared baking pan.
3) To make filling: Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and peanut butter in a large bowl until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat until combined. Add powdered sugar and mix well. Spread mixture over cake and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Do not overbake. Center of cake should remain a bit gooey. Yield: 12 to 16 servings.

The following bloggers are also featuring the recipes of Paula Deen today. I hope you'll visit all of them. They are great cooks who have wonderful blogs.

Val - More Than Burnt Toast, Joanne - Eats Well With Others
Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed, Susan - The Spice Garden
Claudia - A Seasonal Cook in Turkey, Heather - girlichef
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney, Jeanette - Healthy Living
April - Abby Sweets, Katie - Making Michael Pollan Proud
Mary - One Perfect Bite, Kathleen - Bake Away with Me
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen, Sue - The View from Great Island
Barbara - Movable Feasts, Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds
Amy - Beloved Green,Jeanette - Healthy Living
Linda - Ciao Chow Linda, Linda A - There and Back Again
Martha - Lines from Linderhof, Nancy - Picadillo
Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits, Veronica - My Catholic Kitchen
Annie - Most Lovely Things

Next week we will highlight the career and recipes of Paula Wolfert. It will be really interesting to see what everyone comes up with. If you'd like to join us please email me for additional information no later than Monday, November 21st.

46 comments:

Kim said...

wow! It's one decadent cake! I bet it's scrumptious! Have a nice week end Mary.

mia xara said...

Hi Mary, the cake sounds very tasty,I LOVE the combination of chocolate and peanut butter..Thank you for sharing Paula Deen's story,it's really amazing how one's talent,if wisely used, can really turn their life around..XO

Ginny said...

Paula loves all things gooey! My friend ate at The Lady And Sons not long ago. I THINK that is the name of her restaurant, I'm kind of brain dead tonight. Anyway, she said that the whole place is buffet!! You apparently can't order from a menu. I was kind of surprised.

Alessandra said...

I didn't know Paula Deen and her story is fascinating, thank you for sharing it and have a great weekend.

Ciao
Alessandra

Pondside said...

I don't know much about Paula Deen as she's not featured much up here. The cake sounds like just the thing if one is craving a sugar fix!

bellini said...

Paula Deen is definitely a force of nature and so is this delicious cake.

Rita said...

Love the look and sound of this special treat.
Rita

Barbara said...

I've been reading about her gooey butter cakes for ages but still haven't made one. Courageous of you, Mary! :) We're going to see a lot of fattening posts today, I think.

Jenn said...

I just saw this recipe on my list of "need to try" recipes... must be a sign I need to make them :) Thanks for the little push!!

Heather @ girlichef.com said...

I almost made one of Paula's gooey butter cakes...because really, even the name is hard to resist. This one sounds just wonderful...and I had to look away it was so mesmerizing ;)

The Blonde Duck said...

I tried a plain one and didn't like it...maybe I just need a pb one.

Miranda said...

Mary, the peanut butter version looks great! The combination of the chocolate sounds perfect. I like you suggestion of adding peanuts to the mix too.

lena said...

nice to know a little background of paula deen . am really amazed and proud of her achievement with so little to start, the cake looks wonderful!

Priya said...

Quite an addictive cake,yumm.

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Mary, I can only take Paula Deen in small doses; but, like you, I am an admirer. I love any story of the human spirit overcoming adverse situations. And, I have to say, I enjoy some of her decadent recipes. Love your idea of adding the salted peanuts! Thank you and hope you have a wonderful weekend. blessings ~ tanna

Rosemary said...

I've made this cake and it's always a crowd pleaser. Paula Deen's story is inspiring, no matter how much butter she uses!

Sue/the view from great island said...

I like your write-up on Paula, I agree, I'm not a fan, but I'm an admirer. Who wouldn't be? She's quite a woman. I've been waiting to see these gooey cakes all week. I've heard about them but never tasted one.

laurie said...

I think she's a remarkable person, so strong, and her funny nature sometimes over shadows the fact that she is very very clever, these are to die for, yummo!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

She certainly does have here admirers as evidenced by the lines outside her restaurant.

carolyn bradford said...

looks yummy, Mary! thanks for sharing!
Carolyn

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

I have to admit this looks fantastic but as a person who hates peanut butter..... Hope all well with you Diane

Claudia said...

I had no idea as to the obstacles Paula Deen had to overcome. I shall take a new look. This recipe is so evocative of her style - butter? gooey? All yes. And, yes - I shall try this. When I have a full house and others can partake!

Kelly said...

Oh that recipe looks good. I'm a huge Paula Deen fan so if it's her recipe, I know it will be good! I grew up in GA eating southern cooked food, so I feel right at home watching her and eating that style food. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and introducing yourself. Hope you will visit again.

At Anna's kitchen table said...

I adore Paula Deen, so enjoyed your post, thank you!

Clint said...

That looks really good, y'alll.....

Sinful Sundays said...

I adore Paula Deen. Never made a recipe from her that didn't taste good. Looks like I need to try this cake too!

Anna A. said...

wow there is the word "butter" twice in the title! these look fabulous and i am tempted to make them.

That Girl said...

I don't mind the butter and cream in her recipes because that really does epitomize Southern baking. (And some Southern cooking.) And her story is so inspirational - and those boys just love her to pieces.

Sofia.Lopez said...

Delicious!
Have a nica weekend Mary ;)
Big kiss for you

tori said...

Fantastic post- great to get a potted history of the women and then the recipes. Brings them completely to life. Thank you!

The Path Traveled said...

OH MY GOSH..This one looks so good. I bet it has zero calories, right?

From the Kitchen said...

Have you tried her recipe using K. Kreme donuts instead of a bun for hamburgers? Me neither! I have to say she must (and does) come from a different part of the south than I do. My mother and grandmother never used that much butter, heavy cream and/or eggs. Admittedly, none of their recipes would appear in a healthy cookbook, but they did use restraint. I do too--most of the time.

Best,
Bonnie

Mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits said...

Mary,
Very nice commentary about Paula Deen. I am also not a fan of her recipes, but you have to admire a woman with that much get up and go attitude.

The Café Sucré Farine said...

I am like you, an admirer of Paula Deen but not a follower as most of her recipes are not my style. But she is an amazing woman who is a source of inspiration to many - oh, and I must admit this cake does look quite tasty!

Alicia said...

This recipe sounds so simple!

Thanks for all the info on Paula Deen. I never knew she was an agoraphobic. I wonder if she outgrew it as she's now a very public figure. I just love her accent!

Thanks for the links to all the other great cooking blogs.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Paula sure knows how to make us smile. Just got her new Southern Cooking Bible. And, who would ever pass up a gooey peanut butter cake?

Claudia said...

I would love to join you on the rest of your Game Changing Women journey - I am loving the series and have followed many of and have discovered so much. I am sort of settled in for awhile and can commit. I cannot get through on the e-mail - when I changed from MSN something weird happened.

Kathy said...

These looks wonderful! I love chocolate and peanut butter. Great choice for Paula Deen. Have a great Thanksgiving!

annie said...

Mary,

I love your Paula story...it's really what I admire about her...your cake looks so good! Thanks for letting me join this wonderful group you've brought together!

annie

Gill - That British Woman said...

thanks for popping by my blog and commenting,

Gill in Canada

Joanne said...

I definitely have a lot more respect for Paula now that I know her back-story. she really has done well for herself! And you gotta respect a woman who stands by her guns...and her gooey cakes! This looks delicious!

Jeanette said...

Now that is definitely Paula! Decadent, ooey, gooey and sweet. What a beautiful write-up on Paula. Thanks for hosting this week's event and Happy Thanksgiving!

Taryn (Have Kitchen, Will Feed) said...

While just looking at these can give me a heart attack, and browsing Paula's site left me desperate for some couscous with veggies, I have to admit, she knows her baking.

Amalia said...

Just by the sound of it you know it's going to be amazing! And you know it's going be delicious when you want to eat your computer screen! This looks like a wonderful recipe, thank you for sharing. Have a lovely day :)

Veronica Gantley said...

Chocolate and peanut butter,you cant get any better than that. Your pics are also wonderful as always thanks for sharing with us.

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

I watch her show now and then and caught one where she made Gooey Butter Cake. The peanut-butter version looks even better. She does have an inspiring story and deserves her spot in that list of 50 women game-changers. Thanks for the post!

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