Summer Berry Custard Bars

Custard bars with summer berries-yeah, this one will see a few more forms as I play with different fillings. For now think soft and creamy custard center injected with bright berries for a punch of fruitiness that’s crusted with Christina Tosi’s famous cake mix crust.

Summer Berry Custard Bars

Remember when I made Momofuku’s Ooey GooeyButter Cake Bars, but added blueberries to it to cut the sweetness? Of course the original recipe is great as is, but for my own preference, I wanted something little less sweet and a little more firm without having to freeze it. So for this recipe I started with the crust, but went with my own recipe for the filling.

To start off I bypassed the cream cheese for sour cream to lighten things. And in keeping with the goal to tone down the sweetness I dropped the sugar ratio. I changed out the pound of powdered sugar for 1 ¼ cup of sugar and threw in a little cornstarch to make up for the loss of that in powdered sugar to help set the custard. Then of course I finished custard bar recipe with lots of berries, which of course had one of my co-workers calling this a custard pie bar—she might be right, but it seems too wordy.

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Summer Berry Custard Bars

Yield: Makes 1 9x13 cake



  • 1 box of yellow cake mix
  • 4 ounces butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

Berry Custard Filling

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cups sour cream
  • 1/2 cup flour plus 2 tablespoons
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 12 oz raspberries
  • 4 oz berries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest



Heat oven to 350 degrees F and line 9x13 pan with foil and cover with bake spray.

To make crust

Place the dry cake mix, butter, 1 egg and lemon zest in a bowl and mix until well blended. Press mixture into parchment-lined 9x13 inch pan. Set aside.

To make berry custard filling

  1. Place egg in a bowl of stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat eggs until well combined. Add in sugar and beat and until foamy. Add in sour cream, flour, cornstarch and mix to combine. Turn off mixer and fold in raspberries, blueberries and lemon zest.
  2. Pour mixture on top of crust and bake at 350 degrees for 40-55 minutes or until the edges are a light golden brown, and the center slightly jiggles when pan is tapped.
  3. Cool completely in pan. Turn out onto a cutting board and cut into squares.

A few notes:

  • Note the crust recipe is minimally adapted by my addition of the lemon zest to balance the sweetness.
  • I used frozen berries, so keep in mind the coldness of the berries will immediately thicken the mixture as it comes in contact with the cornstarch. And of course any berries will work, so use what you prefer.
  • The custard bars are best served warm. To reheat, place sliced bars in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Crust (adapted from Christina Tosi's).

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30 Responses to “Summer Berry Custard Bars”

  1. #
    Ali @ Gimme Some Oven — July 20, 2012 @ 4:55 pm

    So beautiful! These look like a perfect dessert for summer berries!!


  2. #
    Maria — July 20, 2012 @ 4:56 pm

    Oooh-what a great summer treat!


  3. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 20, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

    Beautiful, Naomi! Perfect way to put the abundance of fruit in my house to use. I’ve been baking lots with it, and there’s still more.


  4. #
    Jeanine — July 20, 2012 @ 6:15 pm

    I’m drooling over these… yum!


  5. #
    Sukaina — July 20, 2012 @ 6:21 pm

    I am trying these this weekend for a dinner party. Will be using blackberries only and will let you know how they turn out.


  6. #
    ThisBakerGirlBlogs — July 20, 2012 @ 6:33 pm

    What a great treat! I love summer berries :)


  7. #
    Roberta @ Fish, chips & gelato — July 20, 2012 @ 7:16 pm

    Hi Naomi,

    I picked up some blackcurrants last week at the Pick Your Own farm near where I live. I’m making some cocktails with them but these look delicious too… The eternal dilemma: alcohol or cake?


  8. #
    DessertForTwo — July 20, 2012 @ 7:34 pm

    I always forget powdered sugar has corn starch. Thanks for the reminder :)

    I really enjoy all of your food photography (because it’s so moody), but I’m especially enjoying today’s bright photos. So fun & summery :)


  9. #
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — July 20, 2012 @ 8:02 pm

    I simply LOVE the sound of these. So summery :)


  10. #
    JulieD — July 20, 2012 @ 9:40 pm

    These look so glorious, I wish I had at least three of them!! Must try these!


  11. #
    Liz @ Tip Top Shape — July 20, 2012 @ 10:07 pm

    These look absolutely delicious!


  12. #
    Mimi — July 20, 2012 @ 11:00 pm

    Do you think I could make this using only blueberries?


    • Naomi replied: — July 23rd, 2012 @ 5:54 am

      Mimi- Absolutely! Blueberries will work just fine.


  13. #
    Chineka — July 21, 2012 @ 12:18 am

    These bars look beautiful and they are great for Summer.


  14. #
    Courtney @educatedderelicts — July 21, 2012 @ 1:33 am

    Yum! I adore custard so this will definitely be going on my list of things to bake :)


  15. #
    Mimi — July 22, 2012 @ 1:23 am

    Thanks for this recipe. It looks fabulous!

    I have two questions–are the measurements for the berries by weight or volume, and how do you think sliced strawberries would so in this recipe? Do you think they might be too watery/bleedy?


  16. #
    Ashley — July 22, 2012 @ 3:56 am

    These sound + look absolutely wonderful!


  17. #
    Ann P. — July 23, 2012 @ 12:47 am

    those are amazingly gorgeous, and perfect for a fresh summer dessert :)


  18. #
    Cheryl — July 23, 2012 @ 5:42 am

    In the picture it appears you have sprinkled sugar over bar. Would you let me know if it was for the picture or part of the recipe?


    • Naomi replied: — July 23rd, 2012 @ 5:54 am

      Cheryl-There is a slight dusting of confectioner sugar. It’s optional.


  19. #
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — July 23, 2012 @ 7:46 pm

    This would’ve been perfect for the 4th with some blueberries or blackberries thrown in!


  20. #
    Kiran @ — July 24, 2012 @ 3:37 am

    Drool-worthy custard bars!!! YUM :D


  21. #
    Juls @ Juls' Kitchen — July 26, 2012 @ 6:58 am

    I came into your post a few days ago, then I realized I have to bake the cake for my birthday, and bring it on a small beach on the Arno River in Florence where I’ll meet my friends to celebrate.. nothing better than custard bars to be wrapped and ‘delivered’ to everyone! I’ll bake something like this!! Thank you for the inspiration!


  22. #
    Sophie — August 24, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

    Naomi, thanks so much for this recipe! I had about one spare hour in my busy week to make a birthday cake for my mom and I immediately came to these bars… so simple and everyone loved them! — even after a birthday dinner out, everyone went for second slices. Really delicious, and very pretty. I’ll definitely make them again!


  23. #
    Shannon — March 16, 2013 @ 7:26 pm

    Wondering if you meant for the pan to be lined with foil or parchment? You have foil listed in one spot, parchment in another?


  24. #
    Lana — December 26, 2013 @ 9:06 am

    Do you think this will work with a regular pie crust?


  25. #
    Coco — February 13, 2014 @ 11:05 am

    This looks delicious with just one exception, the yellow cake mix. I don’t use anything processed, do you have a from scratch recipe??


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