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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
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  • 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. 🙂



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. This recipe most certainly helps to support my claim for the fact that avocado is TRULY amazing!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. That’s one thing I miss about cable.. watching Food Network. ๐Ÿ™
    If I could buy only 2 TV channels I would buy HGTV and Food Network.
    For now I will settle for Netflix hoping someday they put some food shows on there.

    Paula Deen = <3

  3. I’m so excited (jealous) to hear all about the conference from you and all my other favorite food bloggers! Maybe someday I would be able to go! Hopefully sooner then later! I’m not quite sure I’m at the level to be able to hang with ya’ll I’m still a rookie at this food blogging thing! But, I’m loving it!

    These bars look delish! Love the idea of using avocados! Yum!

    1. There is no level!! It’s fun to meet everyone I’ve been talking to online for so long!

  4. Ohmygosh, I didn’t know you were doing that at the conference – that is so awesome, Dorothy! I’m so, so excited to finally meet you in person. I’m nervous, too!