- 1 package (18.25 oz) plain yellow cake mix
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 3 large eggs
- 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature (recipe calls for reduced-fat; I used full-fat)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
- 1/2 cup walnuts (original recipe called for pecans; either way, the nuts are optional)
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Set aside a generously greased 9×13-inch pan.
- Place the cake mix, butter, and one egg in a large mixing bowl and beat on low speed with an electric mixer until the ingredients are incorporated, about 1 minute. Press the batter into the bottom and partially up the sides of the baking pan (I used my hands) and set the pan aside.
- Place the cream cheese in the same mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until fluffy, 30 seconds. Add the remaining 2 eggs and the vanilla and the confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed until smooth and combined, about 1 minute. Fold in the coconut; pour mixture over the crust and smooth the top with a spatula. Scatter the nuts, if you’ve chosen to use them.
- Bake the bars until the edges are well browned and the center is firm to the touch, about 40 to 50 minutes. Transfer the baking pan to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes before cutting and serving (do not score the bars while still hot!)