Thursday, April 5, 2012
Easy Lemon Chess Cake for Easter
After I had my first child in 1983 a very thoughtful neighbor arrived with a full 9 x 13 pan of this delicious concoction. She made hers with a yellow cake mix, but over the years I have used the same basic recipe but substituted all different cake mixes for the base. As it turns out, I am not alone. Apparently Paula Deen serves this cake in her restaurant, The Lady and Sons in Savannah, Georgia. Smart lady, because it is always a favorite wherever I take it.
Oh, back to the story. I digress. So in 1983 when my very thoughtful neighbor delivered her gift, I, the starving, stressed, new young mother with the screaming infant proceeded to devour the entire 9 x 13 pan. Yes, I plowed through it from one end to the other. It was just so good. And I was just so stressed.
Nowadays, I make this and send it to work with my hubby and just keep the edges, my favorite part. That way I get a little but not the whole pan. Which, at my age, would become a permanent fixture on my body!
For Easter I will be making this using a lemon cake mix. But you can use yellow, or chocolate, or carrot and add some shredded carrot and nuts to the filling. Really it's one of those versatile recipes. And you know I love versatile. And of course I have even added lavender, which is very scrumptious.
(This is the Lemon version)
1 box of lemon cake mix (or yellow, or your choice)
1 stick butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the ingredients and mix well. Pat into a lightly greased 9 x 13 pan. Make the filling.
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick butter, melted
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 16-ounce box powdered sugar
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest. Add butter and beat, but don't overbeat. You're not aiming for fluffy. Add powdered sugar and mix well. Spread over cake mixture. Bake 40-50 minutes. The center will be a little gooey so don't overbake.
Allow to cool before cutting. (But I dare you not to sneak a bite while it's warm.)
Of course if you are making the plain version, just use a yellow cake mix and omit all the lemon stuff.
I like to serve this with fruit, particularly raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries. If you make the chocolate version, adding chocolate chips to the filling is nice. Paula even suggests a 20 ounce can of drained crushed pineapple added to the filling. I've tried that, too and it was good.
Lastly, if you have to entertain alot this is great cut into small 1 x 1 inch squares. It gives everyone a nice little bite of yumminess.
(You'll notice these are edgeless...I ate the edges...)
Wishing you a wonderful day!
P.S. I don't know why it's called "Chess Cake."