98: St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

98: St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

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What is Gooey Butter Cake? I generally think of them as being like lemon bars without the lemon flavor.

Someone at work makes the Paula Deen versions of Gooey Butter Cake/Bars (I think this is the original recipe I used) and brings them in to work sometimes, and those are delicious. That recipe takes a cake mix. Let me just say that it’s a good thing I don’t make a habit of buying cake mixes. I’ve made it once or twice as well, and they are addictive. When I have, I’ve generally made it a little less gooey than in that picture, though. I recommend trying them if you want something incredibly sweet.

That recipe isn’t what this post is about, though. I was going to St. Louis to visit my friend Jen, and she loves gooey butter cake. I saw a recipe in the New York Times for Gooey Butter Cake a few months ago, and decided to try it when I was going to see Jen.

This recipe took a little time to make, but it wasn’t necessarily work-intensive. First you make a yeast dough to put in the bottom of the pan. It has to sit and rise for 2.5-3 hours. At that point, you heat the oven, mix together the gooey topping, pour it on the dough, and bake. I baked mine for 41 minutes (the extra minute was because I was in the middle of doing something else and couldn’t get it out of the oven promptly).

gooey butter cake
Gooey Butter Cake – slightly overdone

Unfortunately, these were a little overdone at 40-41 minutes. The cake was a little dry, and the top was definitely not gooey enough. Don’t get me wrong – it still tastes good. But I can pick up a piece and cleanly eat it. I don’t think these should be quite that done. Jen is the one who can actually attest to how authentic these are. This is definitely more cakey than I had expected.

I’ll probably try this again at some point in the future and think about taking it out of the oven at about 35 minutes. Prior to that, I may try at least one of the two other recipes listed on this thread.

For a better version, try this gooey butter cake (adapted from an Old St. Louis Bakery recipe in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch) that I made in 2014. However, this Gooey Butter Cake recipe is currently my favorite. For a less authentic but easier and more delicious version, try Cinnamon Gooey Butter Cake.

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