We were so excited that so many of our friends ventured through the thunderstorms on a recent Saturday night to come celebrate with us. And they very generously showered us with many bottles of wine, which is certainly the way to my heart! In return, Alex and I created a full on barbecue menu, but made sure that everything was party food-appropriate. I will be sharing some of those recipes with you over the next few weeks, but wanted to begin with one of the desserts.
These raspberry cake bars are deliciously summery-- and since they're in portable bar form, perfect for bringing to or serving at a Fourth of July picnic this weekend! The batter is a variation on my favorite blondie recipe (see another variation here that's summer party ready), but swapping some of the butter for cream cheese makes the bars slightly less greasy and lends a wonderful cake-like texture to them. And fresh raspberries cannot be beaten at this time of year and they're one of my favorite summer baking ingredients. These bars are not overly sweet so you could even serve these as part of a big brunch spread and they'd fit right in!
I topped the bars with a sprinkle of sugar and a few raspberries before baking and loved the result. They turned out especially rustic looking, which always makes baked goods look more delicious (IMHO).
- 1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups raspberries, divided
- 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour a 9x13-inch glass baking dish.
Put the brown sugar in a large bowl. Melt the butter and stir the butter into the sugar until smooth. Beat in the cream cheese until smooth and combined. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together.
Beat the eggs and vanilla into the brown sugar mixture. Add the flour mixture a little bit at a time and mix until smooth and fully combined. Gently fold in 1 cup of raspberries.
Spoon the batter to the prepared dish and use a buttered spatula to spread the batter out to evenly fill the dish. Add the remaining 1/2 cup raspberries to the top of the batter, evenly spacing. Sprinkle granulated sugar evenly over the top of the batter.
Bake until golden brown around the edges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Cut into squares and serve.