These Raspberry Lemonade Gooey Bars are quite fantastic, if you ask me! A zesty lemon base topped with an outrageously gooey raspberry filling… So wonderful for summertime!
Sorry I’ve been MIA as of late! A lot of personal stuff has been going on (nothing unfortunate, thankfully!) and I needed a break after my Salt Lake City trip in which I learned how to make Facebook food videos. It was so helpful and informative, but man, I felt my brain start to slosh around up there after grueling 8-hour days of learning video editing software.
Also, I picked up a new hobby which has taken ALL OF MY TIME. Okay, I guess it was just for a present I made for my Mom’s birthday today (HBD, Mom!!) but it soon became my full-time job and I spent most of my days hunched over it, perfecting every last detail so it’d be perfect for her 50th birthday today. I’ll show ya a pic soon!
ANYWAY, I’m back with a vengeance and ready to spring into summertime recipes, so to speak. First up: these Raspberry Lemonade Gooey Bars, and boy, are they amazing!
Gooey bars are not new on this blog – I have so many variations and quite honestly, bars are one of my favorite things to make because it’s SO EASY. Line your pan, fill it up, bake, and then lift the finished product out of the pan. Clean-up’s a breeze and everything can be portioned out based on how many you need. Bars are a life-saver!
But I wanted a super fun flavor I hadn’t made before, and that’s where this Raspberry Lemonade flavor came into play. Raspberries are so refreshing, and there’s nothing more summery than a tall iced glass of lemonade, so combining the two seemed like the perfect match made in dessert heaven.
The filling is made with freeze-dried raspberries, which you can usually find on the nuts/dried fruit aisle at many grocery stores. Instead of making a fresh raspberry puree, which requires straining and cheesecloth and other things I do not have time for, freeze-dried raspberries offer that pure raspberry flavor and that color punch that’s so gorgeous. Combined with other delicious ingredients like confectioners’ sugar, cream cheese, eggs, butter, and some lemon juice, it makes for a bright and zippy filling to these summery bars!
And dare I say, they’re perfect for a birthday… or a random Tuesday 🙂
- FOR THE BASE:
- 1 box lemon cake mix
- 1 egg
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
- Zest of one lemon
- FOR THE FILLING:
- 1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3 eggs
- 1 (1 oz) box raspberry gelatin
- 1 (1.25 oz) pkg freeze-dried raspberries, pulverized into a fine dust
- 1 (16 oz) box confectioners' sugar
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13" rectangular pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Spray the foil liberally with cooking spray; set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, egg, melted butter, and lemon zest together until a soft dough forms. Press the dough evenly into the baking pan and set aside briefly.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth, about 1 minute. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, followed by the raspberry gelatin and the freeze-dried raspberry powder. Beat in the confectioners' sugar until well blended, and lastly, beat in the melted butter and lemon juice. Mixture should be smooth.
- Pour the mixture evenly over the lemon cake base in the pan and bake for approx. 37-45 minutes or until the center is just about set (if it jiggles slightly, that's okay - the mixture will continue to cook as it cools down). Bring to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting into squares.
I love how fresh the freeze-dried raspberry filling is with a brightness from the lemon. And of course, that magenta color is so gorgeous!