Gooey isn’t an adjective that is used often or positively in culinary vernacular. For natives of St. Louis, however, “gooey” makes mouths water because we have all grown up hearing “gooey” followed up with “butter cake”. Gooey Butter Cake was invented in this Rivertown. Although we don’t know the exact baker to have created this rich treat, we do know that it was most likely a German immigrant located in south St. Louis City in the early 1940’s. Some speculate the recipe was an accident and others think it was intentional. Either way, this dessert masterpiece spread like a wildfire from the brick buildings of St. Louis and into bakeries nationwide.
What Is Gooey Butter Cake?
Simply put: it’s a rich yellow dessert composed of a firm outer crust that holds a sunken cake with a pudding-like consistency. The recipe is surprisingly simple and, because of that, refreshing to make. It is served either cold or at room temperature. Because it is so rich, a little piece goes a long way so, when serving your guests, make sure not to over serve (unless it’s Budweiser beer)!
Gooey Butter Cake Recipe
- 1 (18-ounce) package yellow cake mix
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- Powdered sugar for dusting top
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine yellow cake mix, egg, and butter. Press mixture onto bottom of prepared baking dish; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until creamy; add the 2 eggs and vanilla extract. Blend in powdered sugar until well mixed. Pour batter into the crust-lined baking pan.
- Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until cake is nearly firm when you shake (you want the center to be a little gooey, so do not overcook the cake). Remove from oven and let cake cool in the cake pan on a wire rack.
- When cool, remove to a serving plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
- To Your Tastes: Optionally garnish with fresh raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries!
With the basic ingredients for Gooey Butter Cake consisting of butter and sugar, it’s no surprise that bakers would modify the recipe into other confectionary delights. Most notably, Gooey Butter Cake Cookies and Gooey Butter Cake Brownies.
Whichever variation you choose, this St. Louis classic will never disappoint!