Appalachia Appalachian Food

Chess Cake – An easy dessert!

Chess Cake recipe

I was a child when I first tasted Chess Cake at a church decoration or other such get-together. Granny never made the cake that I can remember, but it was almost always in the dessert section of any potluck type meal I ate at and I always made sure to get a square…or two.

Once I was married with two little ones Chess Cake became my go to dessert to make and take. It’s easy and quick to fix; I usually have all the ingredients on hand; it travels well; and everyone loves it.

Chess Cake

  • 1 box yellow or white cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup butter –  melted
  • 1 pack of cream cheese – softened (8 oz.)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 box of powdered sugar (16 oz.)

Old fashioned chess cake

Combine cake mix, 1 egg, and melted butter. Pat mixture into a 13 x 9 ungreased baking pan.

Mix cream cheese, 3 eggs, and sugar thoroughly and pour over unbaked cake layer.

Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool and then cut into squares.

Print Chess Cake (right clink to open link and print recipe)

Southern chess cake recipe

Chess Cake is still my favorite dessert to make and take and it will always bring back fond memories of my church buddies and I running to the dessert table to see who could get a square first. Have you ever tried it?



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  • Reply
    Magdalene Mwangi
    July 1, 2017 at 9:19 am

    Delicious, thanks for sharing

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    September 5, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    Next dinner on the ground that’s what I’ll bring.

  • Reply
    Kerry in GA
    January 13, 2016 at 10:01 am

    When my Granny worked at Levi’s years & years ago, she got this recipe from a lady named Ida Jacobs. To this day we still call it “Ida Jacobs cake”. 🙂 The top batter is easy to dress up. I add a can of pumpkin to it sometimes or just chocolate chips. My cousin makes the bottom batter with a red velvet or chocolate cake mix at times. Any way you fix it, it always turns out good.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    January 11, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    My mother’s specialty!!! Chess pie is good too-

  • Reply
    Rev. Rose Marie "RB" Redmond
    January 11, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    It looks like what we call Chess Pie. I wonder if they’re the same thing.
    Never had any, but am going to have to look for a diabetic version cause you had me sold at “cream cheese”. I love it and put it in so many things, especially cream soups and potato dishes, for extra richness.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    January 11, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    I don’t know how much easier this could be….Unless one just walked into the bakery and bought one… ha
    I guess the Chess Cake name came from the same as the Chess Pie? Problem, I am not sure how the Chess Pie got it’s name for certain either…do you know? I vaguely remember something about a Chess Pie being named from storage in a pie chest or pie safe? The pieces do not look anything like Chess pieces…However, I have a device (vintage metal rings) that when cake batter is poured into them and baked and then put together, the cake looks like a checkerboard when sliced! Ah-ha!
    I would love to know for sure the origin of the name Chess Cake and Chess Pie….when you find it let me know!
    In the meantime, I think I will make a Chess Cake….and store it in the husband’s and my belly! ha
    Now then, “Belly Cake” I could understand that name!
    My Mom used to make a cake/bar recipe we kids called “Belly-ache Cake”! It was full of coconut, dates, nuts. It was very rich and we were not used to eating such and it always caused a belly-ache! Hence, the nickname of the cake! We learned only to eat the small piece given us and not to slip into the cake tin for more! ha
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…..What is that I hear, a giggle, from the Casada boys…tsk, tsk, ts

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    January 11, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    I’ve never tried the homeade kind like you share, but I love cheesecake. I cheat and buy the storebought kind and use the pouch of cherries on top. Anyway, I buy those Graham Cracker Crusts by Keebler already made, since I love Graham
    Crackers. Every once in a while, I use the Strawberry pouch as a topping.
    I always wondered why they call it “cake”, seems more like a pie to me…Ken

  • Reply
    January 11, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    I used to work for a bunch of women (I was the supervisor). They all liked to cook and bring the results to work. Since I had to try to be fair and unbiased, I had to sample everything. I had to force myself to like it and tell them how much 😉 I think I ate chess cake many times without knowing the name. I thought it was good but never really got to enjoy it knowing I had to eat 12 to 15 other dishes before the party was over.
    Your recipe looks simple enough. I’ve a mind to give it a try but right now I don’t have the cream cheese or enough eggs.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    January 11, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    This is soooo good–especially the edge pieces. There must be a lot of variations on it. My sister-in-law makes it with pineapple and it is good too but I like the original best. We’ve still got a little snow here in Middle Tn. and cold!
    I found a site I am just loving–Appalachian Bear Rescue. They get the little abandoned or orphaned black bear cubs & treat & release in spring. This yr was a bad one–the babies are way underweight. The last one they got, Snowflake Bear, just weighed 8 and a half pounds when she should have weighted over 50. Check it out if you have time, they are so cute and such a great effort!

  • Reply
    January 11, 2016 at 11:40 am

    This is new to me, but sounds like a keeper. Will try, as it is always nice to have a “go to” when you quickly need something to bring. Many occasions around here to bring a “sweet” and something not chocolate as chocolate is usually over done.

  • Reply
    January 11, 2016 at 9:50 am

    I have made a chess pie, but never heard of the cake. I will be making this for our next bake sale! As always, thank you for all you do 🙂

  • Reply
    January 11, 2016 at 9:35 am

    Oh, yes! This is a definite yummy try! Thanks!

  • Reply
    January 11, 2016 at 9:05 am

    I have never made Chess Cake. That sounds so much easier than the recipe I use to make Chess Pie. How many calories per serving? Never mind. If you tell me I will never make it.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    January 11, 2016 at 8:18 am

    Yum! And SO quick and easy. I’m going to make it for a funeral
    dinner this week! Thanks, Tipper

  • Reply
    January 11, 2016 at 8:12 am

    Donna – Thank you for the comment! Never tried the recipe with pecans and coconut but I’m going to give it a try : )

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 11, 2016 at 7:26 am

    Yes, I’ve eaten that and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve never made it though and had no idea it was so simple.

  • Reply
    Donna Wilson King
    January 11, 2016 at 6:48 am

    I made one yesterday before I read your post. Super easy. I tried a slightly different recipe that I found. After you pat the crust down, sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped pecans on it followed by 1 cup coconut. Then, pour the filling on. Yummy!

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