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Thanks to the sponsorship of Avocados from Mexico, these Chocolate Gooey Cake Bars have a healthy secret – NO butter!

slice of chocolate cake bar with walnuts on parchment paper

Remember when Food Network got really big? I remember watching Emeril and Bobby Flay back in 2000. Then Rachael Ray got into the mix and the network took off. All of a sudden there was this huge new concept: food TV. My husband and I would watch the night time shows and I became like a kid again on Saturday mornings: I’d be glued to my TV, but it was cooking shows I was obsessed with instead of Saved By The Bell and Jem.

I don’t remember when Paula Deen showed up but I liked her right away. I mean, any chick that uses sugar and butter that much in a 30 minute time frame is my kinda gal.

The first episode I ever saw her do included a recipe for Gooey Butter Cake. I remember thinking, OMG you can do something other than make a cake with cake mix?

Yeah. If only I could see my future, right?

slice of chocolate cake bar with walnuts on parchment paper

For some reason, probably the 12 pounds of butter, I never made her Gooey Butter Cake. But I always wanted to try it. Lately, I’ve been using a similar concept and making crusts out of cake and brownie mix. You know the deal, right? 1 stick of butter, 1 egg, and a cake mix. It makes a great bottom layer for magic bars.

I used that same concept for these Chocolate Gooey Cake Bars. These are kind of a marriage of gooey butter cake and magic bars. The cake mixture forms the crust and the top and the center is filled with chocolate chips, nuts, and sweetened condensed milk. The result of baking all the toppings in the center layer results in a gooey bar that tastes like a brownie married fudge.

These bars totally taste like that, BTW. Rich chocolate crust and topping, filled with chocolate chips and pecans. But these are healthier than the traditional Gooey Cake Bars. Why?

There is NO BUTTER in these bars! Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Instead of butter in the cake mixture, I used…


This recipe is perfect for all you people who just cringed. I swear to you, on a stack of holy cookbooks and a basin full of pie crust, that you do not taste avocado in these bars. The avocado takes the place of the butter. It’s so much like butter in texture, it gives the same ooey, gooey texture you’d get traditionally.

Yes, avocados have fat. But  they provide good-for-you monounsaturated fats and nearly 20 essential vitamins and minerals – which is more than a stick of butter can say, right?

Sure, you’ve still got half a can of sweetened condensed milk, some chocolate chips, and a cake mix. But you’ve taken out so many bad fats and calories, you can totally justify eating five one of these.


That’s what I thought. I think even the new Paula Deen would approve!

slice of chocolate cake bar with walnuts on parchment paper

If you love gooey bar recipes be sure to check out all of mine!

slice of chocolate cake bar with walnuts on parchment paper

Healthier Chocolate Gooey Cake Bars

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Cake mix cookie bars filled with gooey chocolate and a secret ingredient.
Total Time 1 hour
Yield 12 bars
Serving Size 1 serving


  • 1 chocolate cake mix
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk from a 14 ounce can
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts I used pecans


  • Line a 9x9” pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place avocado in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until the large pieces are all smooth. Add the cake mix and egg and beat until combined. (There may be a few pieces of avocado left, that’s okay.)
  • Place half the batter in the bottom of the pan. Spray your hands with cooking spray and press to flatten and cover the pan.
  • Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts over bottom later. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over chips and nuts.
  • Place drops of the rest of the cake batter on top of the milk layer. Spray your hands again and press to evenly cover the top of the bars.
  • Bake for about 25-28 minutes, until a toothpick on the edges comes out clean. Cool completely before removing from pan.
  • Remove from pan, remove and discard foil. Slice into squares. Makes about 16 squares.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 211kcal
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

slice of chocolate cake bar with walnuts on parchment paper

You may also like:

Vegan Brownies

Avocado Banana Bread

Sweets from friends:
Better than Anything Caramel Stuffed Brownies by Something Swanky
Peppermint Patty Gooey Cake Bars by Inside BruCrew Life
Rolo Gooey Cake Bars By I Wash You Dry

Thanks for reading! And be on the lookout for the Pit Crew at BHF this weekend!

This post was sponsored by Avocados from Mexico. Since I love avocados as much as I love my sugar, all opinions are, of course, 100% my own and I probably would have written this post eventually anyway on my own. 🙂



Last Updated on September 12, 2022

Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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  1. Anything with Gooey in the name has got to be delicious, right?! Ok, maybe not everything, but definitely this, I’m sure!! YUM!

  2. Avocado! Who would’ve thought! Dorothy, I’m loving these cake bars. Homerun. 🙂 Anything healthy + chocolate catches my eye! Have a great time at BHF, I’ll miss you gals!

  3. YUM! And yes, I TOTES remember when Food network showed up. A college buddy of mine introduced me to Iron Chef (the original overseas version) which only aired overnight, and we would stay up until 2am, entranced….”you mean…he’s going to make… LOBSTER ICE CREAM????”

  4. I love how we can rationalize things as being healthier even though they are still loaded with chocolate! Whatever makes us feel better right??

  5. As much as I’m obsessed with the Food Network, Saved by the Bell and Jem are total classics. I signed up for Netflix this past Christmas and I blitzed through all seasons of both of those shows. It was super satisfying watching them after all these years (and also made me feel so old!). The only thing that would’ve made my experience even better is if I had a pan of this to nosh on – your gooey cake bars look incredible! I love that you used avocado. I’m a big supporter of avo based desserts.

  6. These look amazing!! But…. I might be allergic to avocado. It’s a tragedy. Sigh.

    And Paula Deen is the sweetest person ever! My mom bought her autobiography a few years ago and leant it to me. Her history is amazing — she was afraid to leave her house for years, maybe even decades! She eventually overcame that to start cooking and baking for others, and now she’s a huge celebrity. I’d highly recommend reading it; the book is really touching and inspiring!

      1. It’s called “Paula Deen: It Ain’t All About the Cookin’.” Amazon has quite a few listings that aren’t too expensive, and I wonder if any of the libraries in the area have it too!

  7. OMG Jem, I totally forgot about that show, lol! I loved FN when it first started too. These bars look ah-mazing! I love sneaking in avocados into sweet treats like this. Makes me not feel as guilty when I end up eating the entire pan. 😉

  8. So cool what you can do with avocado’s! Love them and how healthy they are for you! I will have to try this soon, it looks delicious!