This popular St. Louis cake has been a regional favorite since the 1930's. It is characteristically crispy around the edges and gooey in the center and is really more like a bar than a cake. Most recipes begin with a yellow cake mix, but I make this yummy version completely from scratch. Serve it as a breakfast/brunch coffee cake or a dessert.
According to local legend (and Wikipedia), gooey butter cake was the result of an ingredient mix-up by a baker in the 1930's. All I can say to that happy mistake is, "St. Louis thanks you!"
This cake is such a thing in St. Louis that you'll find it in the bakery section of every grocery store and served at many restaurants. The Schnuck's grocery store where I shop always has a display devoted to this cake where you can buy it as a whole boxed cake or by the slice. There's even a bakery here called Gooey Louie that sells nothing but different flavors of gooey butter cake. A local coffee company, Kaldi's, makes their own popular version of this cake. Some restaurants have riffed on the main theme and made gooey butter cookies and ice cream. St. Louisan Molly Killeen moved to New York City and opened a bakery, Made by Molly, that sells a gooey butter cake that got featured in the New York Times. Without a doubt, this cake is definitely a thing for St. Louisans. There's a reason--it's sinfully delicious!
A variety of flavors may appear in St. Louis stores throughout the year (pumpkin, chocolate, etc.), but the original flavor is simple buttery gooeyness. In this from-scratch recipe and most of the yellow cake mix recipes, the gooeyness actually comes from a cream cheese and butter topping. Some will argue that there is no place for cream cheese in real-deal gooey butter cake, and others insist that there must be a yeast batter used in the cake. But, my recipe is based on the version that I've most often enjoyed around the city since moving to St. Louis 30 years ago. Which version is the original will, no doubt, remain a topic for debate.
Nutritional Information per serving. 245 calories, 9.8g fat, 6g sat fat, 46 mg cholesterol, 152mg sodium, 79mg potassium, 37.6g carbs, 0g fiber, 27.1g sugars, 2.9g protein; Weight Watchers SmartPoints: 12
Step 1. Assemble the ingredients:
Step 2. Mix the bottom layer.
Using a hand-held or stand mixer,
view on Amazon: my KitchenAid stand mixer
Step 3. Use your hands to press the mixture evenly into the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan.
view on Amazon: 9x13 cake pan with lid
Step 4. Mix the top layer, again using a mixer:
Step 5. Spread the top layer mixture evenly over the bottom layer.
Step 6. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. If you peek through the oven window, you will see the cake rise dramatically and unevenly as it bakes. This is normal.
Step 7. Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack. It will shrink back down and even out as it cools.
view on Amazon: wire cooling rack
Step 8. Before serving, sprinkle the cake lightly with powdered sugar. I sift mine through a small strainer to get a light dusting that doesn't clump.
view on Amazon: mini wire strainer
Cut and enjoy! Cut it into bars and enjoy this rich, decadent, splurge-worthy treat for breakfast, brunch, or dessert.
Cut bite-sized squares for party platters. You can cut approx. 48 1.5" squares from 1 pan. Place each one in a mini paper cupcake liner and arrange them on a platter to make them easy to serve.
Want a cake mix short-cut? If you'd prefer the convenience of using a yellow cake mix to make this cake, fellow St. Louis blogger Cheryl at TidyMom.net has a classic recipe.
Although King-Man and I aren't originally from St. Louis, 30 years of living here has turned us into die-hard fans of this local delicacy. I also make a cookie version of this cake that we love. Check out that recipe here: Gooey Butter Cookies.
Make it a Yummy day!