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Some Kinda Good - Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser
A Mother's Day dessert worth every bite, courtesy of Paula Deen
Paula Deen
Rebekah and Paula Deen, at left, on her front porch, following an interview for Rebekah's new book, due out next year. Deen's gooey butter cake starts with a cake mix and is an easy and delicious dessert. The Lady & Sons serves the cake at its landmark location in downtown Savannah, shown above.

Earlier this week, I had the experience of a lifetime. It’s not often that you get to sit down with a living legend, but I did. As you may know, I’m working on my second book, “Unique Eats and Eateries of Savannah.” Slated to release in the spring of 2024, it will showcase more than 80 of the city’s restaurants, bakeries, meat markets and more, highlighting the people and stories behind the food. And one restaurant that’s been a part of the fabric of downtown Savannah since 1996 is Paula Deen’s The Lady & Sons.

I couldn’t possibly write a book about Savannah’s restaurants without featuring the queen of Southern cuisine herself. I arranged an interview, and over a cup of coffee and a slice of ooey gooey butter cake at Paula’s dining room table, we sat and talked like two old friends. Paula is such an inspiration, and her story is one of survival, hard work, and grit. To hear her share it in her own words is something I'll never forget. 

What an epic day! She taught me the art of Southern coastal cuisine, and has always been such a trailblazer for women in food. You can read about the first time I met Paula in my book, Some Kinda Good. I won’t share all the details from our sit-down here, as those are reserved for the book, but on the Thursday before Mother’s Day, I found it only appropriate to pay homage to this special mom of two, who is so dearly loved by her sons and so many fans.

This November, The Lady & Sons will celebrate 20 years in business at their famous downtown location, 102 West Congress Street. If you haven’t been, it’s a must-visit destination for the best fried chicken and all your favorite Southern side dishes. 

Formerly the old White Hardware Building, they renovated the space over 14 months before making it their permanent home in 2003. With 15,000 square feet of dining space and three stories, Paula told me when they first moved in, they all lost weight running up and down those stairs. We had a good laugh over that one.

Paula’s signature original gooey butter cake is served for dessert at her restaurant for lunch and dinner. It’s easy to make and Some Kinda Good. Try it for yourself and share it with your mom this Mother’s Day. Be sure to connect with me on social media to come along for the ride on my culinary adventures. There is so much more to come y’all, and I’m just getting started.  

To all the moms: Have a Happy Mother’s Day!

Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser is a private chef and the author of the best-selling memoir “Some Kinda Good.” Featured in Forbes, on Food Network and ABC, she writes about Southern, coastal cuisine, locally sourced and in season. 

Connect with her on social media by liking Some Kinda Good on Facebook, or follow @SKGFoodBlog on Instagram and Twitter. To learn more, visit

Paula Deen's Original Gooey Butter Cake

Recipe Courtesy of


1 (18 1/4 oz) package yellow cake mix

1 egg

16 tablespoons melted, divided butter

1 (8 ounce) package softened cream cheese

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 (16 ounce) box powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Combine the cake mix, egg and 8 tablespoons butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla and 8 tablespoons butter and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar and mix well. Spread over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to over bake as the center should be a little gooey.

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