Leafing through The Cake Mix Doctor Returns (have you entered the giveaway, by the way?), the first recipe to catch my eye was for Houdini Bars. What's a Houdini bar? Named for the magician because because they're "so rich and delicious that they disappear quickly," these dense bars are comprised of a cakey crust filled with a buttery, cheesecake-y filling with nuts and coconut. Heaven on a plate? Yes indeed: they taste like birthday cake, cheesecake, and coconut cream pie--simultaneously--in every beautiful bite. If you love decadent desserts, these ones will disappear fast.
(P.S. If you love the pot holders shown above, they're from Rustbelt Fiberwerks!)
adapted from The Cake Mix Doctor Returns
Recipe says that it makes 30, but we only got 12 (gluttons)
- 1 package (18.25 oz) plain yellow cake mix
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 3 large eggs
- 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature (recipe calls for reduced-fat; I used full-fat)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
- 1/2 cup walnuts (original recipe called for pecans; either way, the nuts are optional)
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Set aside a generously greased 9x13-inch pan.
- Place the cake mix, butter, and one egg in a large mixing bowl and beat on low speed with an electric mixer until the ingredients are incorporated, about 1 minute. Press the batter into the bottom and partially up the sides of the baking pan (I used my hands) and set the pan aside.
- Place the cream cheese in the same mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until fluffy, 30 seconds. Add the remaining 2 eggs and the vanilla and the confectioners' sugar and beat on low speed until smooth and combined, about 1 minute. Fold in the coconut; pour mixture over the crust and smooth the top with a spatula. Scatter the nuts, if you've chosen to use them.
- Bake the bars until the edges are well browned and the center is firm to the touch, about 40 to 50 minutes. Transfer the baking pan to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes before cutting and serving (do not score the bars while still hot!)
These bars keep in the fridge for up to five days. If they last that long.