Preheat oven to 350F and prepare a 9-by-13 inch pan by lining it with aluminum foil and then spraying it with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, butter, egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla and mix. The batter will be extremely thick and will be difficult to combine, but keep stirring or use your fingers and knead it together, adding the water if necessary. Press the dough it into the prepared pan. It will be tacky, sticky, and a bit tricky to work with, but keep pressing, spreading, and finessing it. Sprinkle the coconut evenly over the dough, then sprinkle the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and optional raisins evenly over the dough.
In a mixing bowl (the same one from the cake mix is fine), combine the sweetened condensed milk, cream cheese, 1 teaspoon vanilla and stir until well combined, and pour mixture evenly over dough, using a spatula to even it if necessary. Bake for 28 to 31 minutes, or until edges of bars begin to brown and pull away slightly from the sides of the pan, taking care not to overbake. Note that the middle will not seem very well set and will be jiggly upon removing from oven and that is okay, you want to keep these gooey. They will continue to set up more after they have cooled. Allow bars to cool well before slicing and serving. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze for up to three months.
To keep gluten free use a gluten free cake mix, and take care all ingredients meet your dietary requirements and needs.
The bars come together very easily with a boxed spice cake mix, an egg, and a stick of butter. Make the dough, press it into a pan.
Sprinkle with baking chips and coconut. These don’t have a particularly strong coconut flavor, and you could omit it if you don’t like coconut, but since I always have a bag on hand and open, a little sprinkle never hurts.
Flood with a sweetened condensed milk and cream cheese mixture.