Easy chocolate chess cake, also known as chocolate chess squares, is a decadent, chewy, mouthwatering dessert that everyone loves.
The gooey butter cake recipe is super simple to make, and people will be begging for more.
Chocolate Chess Cake Squares
Chocolate chess cake is made up of cake mix, melted butter, eggs, powdered sugar, and cream cheese for a treat that is out-of-this-world.
We’ve taken the dessert to church potlucks and parties on more than one occasion and every time I have people asking for the recipe.
You sink your teeth into a chewy chocolatey buttery crust mixture that is topped with a soft cream cheese layer that melts in your mouth.
And when you bake the bars, they end up with a crunchy top, which is one of the best parts.
Chess cake or chess squares is considered a southern food, and it’s one of my favorite desserts to come out of the South.
What Ingredients Do I Need For The Chocolate Chess Cake?
- Devil’s food cake mix
- Melted butter
- Softened cream cheese
- Powdered sugar
Full printable recipe with measurements and instructions listed at the bottom of the post in the recipe card.
How Do I Make The Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake?
- Mix the devil’s food cake mix, melted butter, and egg and pour into a 9 x 13-inch greased baking dish.
- Add the package of cream cheese to a large bowl, cream with a hand mixer, and add half of the powdered sugar. Mix well (the batter will be thick).
- Next, add the eggs and mix well.
- Add the remainder of the powdered sugar and mix until well combined.
- Pour the cream cheese mixture over the cake mix bottom layer and spread out.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Chess Cake Recipe – Step-By-Step Instructions
Grab a large mixing bowl and add the dry cake mix.
You don’t have to use devil’s food cake mix in this recipe, you can use a regular chocolate cake mix.
I like the devil’s food cake because it is a little richer tasting.
You DO NOT need to follow the instructions on the cake box. We are only going to be adding a couple of ingredients to the cake mix.
Next, melt the butter and pour it into the bowl.
Add the egg to the bowl and mix well. The batter will be very thick.
TIP: Make sure you keep your egg away from the hot melted butter or it will cook it a little bit.
You can leave your butter on the counter for a few minutes to cool off before adding it to the cake and that helps.
Press the cake batter into the bottom of the pan and set it aside. You’ll need a greased 9″ x 13″ baking dish.
To make the top of the cake, add a package of cream cheese to a bowl and cream with a hand mixer.
I always forget to set the cream cheese out to soften, so I will mix the cheese a minute or so longer to help it get creamy.
Add half of the powdered sugar to the bowl and mix at low speed so you don’t end up slinging sugar everywhere (speaking from experience).
The mixture will be thick.
Next, add the eggs and mix well. Finally, add the remainder of the powdered sugar and mix until the mixture is creamy.
Pour the cream cheese mixture over the cake and spread it to the edges.
Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
Allow the chess cake to cook for at least one hour. It will take a while to cool and set up.
When you take it out of the oven, you can use a cake tester to check if it’s done. If it is done, it will come out mostly clean.
I am ALWAYS tempted to slice off a little bit of the corner while it’s warm and gooey. The edges are chewy and it tastes sooo good. It’s honestly one of my favorite desserts.
How Do I Store The Chess Cake Squares?
Allow the chocolate chess cake to cool before storing it. Cut the cake into bars and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Because the recipe contains cream cheese it will need to be refrigerated.
You can refrigerate them for up to five days, but if they make it that long, I would like an email on how you have so much willpower because I will be impressed. Seriously, mine is eaten within 24 hours.
Place waxed paper between the squares so they don’t stick together.
Can I Freeze The Chocolate Chess Bars?
Yes, you can freeze the bars. But, place them on wax paper so they don’t stick and put them inside freezer-safe Ziplocks.
When you’re ready to eat them, leave them on the counter to thaw for a couple of hours.
Other delicious desserts:
- Red velvet bundt cake is a great addition to any party. It’s easy to make and always pops on the dessert table.
- If you’re looking for chess squares without cake mix, give this recipe a try. It’s made with ladyfingers and tastes amazing.
- Try this easy lemon bars recipe if you’re looking for something to make for church, school, or a party.
- Chocolate chess pie is so rich and decadent. And the best part? It’s super-duper easy to make.
- If you’d like something a little more springy, give this classic strawberry shortcake recipe a try.
- If you love chess bars, try Julia’s Granny’s goody bars that are similar, but have pecans, over at Julia’s Simply Southern.
Chocolate Chess Cake (Easy Chess Squares)
Check out the recipe card below, grab those ingredients, and start creating! This is a wonderful dessert and everyone will love it!
Then, share your comments below and share a picture of your chocolate chess cake on the Pinterest Pin! If you made any changes or added something different, be sure to share it with us so we can try it, too!
- 1 - 15.25 oz. Devil's food cake mix
- 1 stick of butter, melted (8 Tbsp)
- 1 egg
- 8 oz. softened cream cheese
- 2 eggs
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350-degrees and grease a 9" x 13" baking dish.
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix the devil's food cake, melted butter, and egg.
- Press into the bottom of the pan.
- In a large bowl, add the softened cream cheese and cream.
- Add half of the powdered sugar and mix.
- Next, add the eggs and mix.
- Finally, add the remainder of the powdered sugar and mix until creamy.
- Pour over the cake batter and spread it out.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
- Allow the dessert to cool for at least one hour before slicing.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 214Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 200mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 0gSugar: 26gProtein: 2g
Nutrition is approximate.