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Decadent Gooey Butter Cake is delicious addition to holiday desserts table

Decadent Gooey Butter Cake is delicious addition to holiday desserts table

Amateur cook and blogger Melissa Sperka of Greensboro, N.C. beat out nearly 900 competitors from across the country in the Flour Power baking contest with her "Caramel, Chocolate & Almond Gooey Butter Cake." The contest was hosted by "Just A Pinch Recipe Club," an online food-focused social network at www.justapinch.com.

Sperka created her confection by "using some of [her] family's favorite sweet indulgences," including caramel, cream cheese, almonds, chocolate and toffee. The cake will shine on holiday tables or any time of year.

For her win, Sperka will receive a trip to Nashville, Tenn. to cook her recipe before a live audience, a $1,000 cook's dream shopping spree and Grand Ole Opry tickets.

Sperka's butter cake and the other finalist recipes were selected and prepared for judging by the club's Food Editor, Janet Tharpe.

According to Tharpe, the cake was easily named the winner by a panel of judges. "This cake is a snap to make," she says, "and it's easily customizable to your family's flavor preferences. Plus it tastes amazing. We knew we had a winner at first bite."

Receiving runner-up honors are "Chocolate Bliss Bundt Cake" by Traci Bentz of Vancouver, Wa., "Ms. Geraldine's Fresh Apple Cake" by Debbie Lawrence of Birmingham, Ala. and "Cranberry Cookie Strudel" by Didi Dalaba of Greece, N.Y.

The club's latest national recipe contests, Sporty Snack Showdown: Chili Cook-off and Cookie Celebration, are now accepting entries.

The Just A Pinch Recipe Club is the nation's fastest growing online recipe and coupon social network.

Home cooks around the country swap and discuss thousands of "family-tested and approved" recipes, share cooking tips, earn blue ribbons and print grocery coupons, all for free. Known as "America's Greatest Recipe Swap," Just A Pinch has grown rapidly, with some 70,000 recipes posted by members, millions of visitors worldwide and more than 320,000 club members since its launch in April 2010.

Caramel, Chocolate & Almond Gooey Butter Cake

By Melissa Sperka (Greensboro, N.C.)

Servings: 12

Ingredients

1 box caramel cake mix

1 can dulce de leche (13.4 ozs.)

16 oz. powdered sugar

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 c melted butter, divided (2 sticks)

4 large eggs

1/3 c slivered almond, toasted

1/3 c toffee bits

1/3 c mini chocolate chips, plus another 1/2 cup

1 tbsp heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13x9 inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Toast the almonds at 350 degrees for eight minutes or until golden. Set aside to cool.

2. In a mixing bowl mix together the cake mix, one stick of melted butter and one egg until combined. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. On top of the crust sprinkle the mini chocolate chips, toffee bits and toasted almonds.

3. In the same mixing bowl, mix together the softened cream cheese and the dulce de leche until combined.

4. Beat in the remaining three eggs, vanilla, powdered sugar and melted butter. Whip on medium high speed so that all of the ingredients come together nicely. Pour the filling over the crust and place into the oven.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. When you remove it from the oven, the cake will still appear a little "jiggly." This means you did a great job not over baking the cake.

6. GLAZE: Melt 1/2 cup of additional chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon of heavy cream in the microwave. Stir until completely smooth then drizzle over the cake before serving.

7. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature then drizzle with chocolate glaze and sprinkle with toffee bits. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

Caramel, Chocolate & Almond Gooey Butter Cake

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