st. louis gooey butter cake

Many good things happened this weekend. First, we abruptly ended my unsavory spell of cold weather lament by taking Jacob to see Central Park in all of its snowy glory, reminding me, yet again, why seeing the city muffled and blanketed is the highlight of my winter. Nothing cures you of greyslushdisgust faster than views like these.

And these.

Then, there was an accidental dinner party. These days, you see, a casual plea of “I made too much dinner again” has a way of turning a few drop-ins to crowd of ten. There may of may not have been a Fox in Socks drinking game; I’ll never admit to it. Jacob, as always, was the life of the party — a 5-month old social butterfly!

butter, yeast, egg, milk, sugar, salt
cake dough

And there was a St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake that floored the room. I read about this for the first time in the New York Times last November, and while my gut told me to Make This. Make This Right Now, my head — my thick head — told me I’d find it unpleasantly sweet and to avoid it. My brain can be so lame sometimes, especially when it wins. But only for so long. As “gooey-goo for chewy-chewing” has crept back onto my horizon as of late, so has this almost Seussical-sounding cake and last night, I cautiously auditioned it.

cake dough, to spread in pan
gooey topping batter

My head is no longer allowed to make baking decisions for me. This cake shut it down, kicked it out of the room. What is a St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake, you ask? It’s two things, actually — a rich yeast cake base (though it is often made with cake mixes; this version hopes uses a yeast cake to cut down on the sweetness) that is topped with a mixture of gobs of butter, sugar, corn syrup and vanilla that, when baked, become nothing short of showstopping.

gooey batter, dolloped over cake dough
rippled, wavy cake

Think spun sugar. Cotton candy. Toasted campfire marshmallows. The burnt sugar lid of the best crème-brulee you’ve ever had, the kind that took five spoon taps to break through. Then march straight into the nearest kitchen to get on this, and don’t let a thing or a think talk you out of it.

gooey butter cake

One year ago: Steak Sandwiches
Two years ago: Big Crumb Coffee Cake
Three years ago: Hamantaschen

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake
Adapted, just barely, from Melissa Clark at the New York Times, who adapted it from Molly Killeen at the Park Slope Farmers’ Market

This cake is ridiculous. I’m already looking for an excuse to make it again. I’m thinking “It’s Tuesday!” may have to suffice.

About the baking vessel: The recipe says to use a 9×13 baking dish (often glass or ceramic). I used a 9×13 cake pan (which was metal) and ended up with something that browned a bit more than I would have liked. I’d use a “dish” next time, which I believe will brown the bottom less aggressively.

About the baking time: My cake, in a thinner, metal baking pan, was also finished 15 minutes sooner than estimated, and was already a little past the “goo” stage. I chalk this up to the pan. However, I put baking times in a wide range; if you’re using a metal baking pan (though, again, I’d recommend a glass or ceramic dish), err on the cautious side. Eh, err on the cautious side either way. Always. Better safe than sorry.

Yields 16 to 20 servings, but I cut mine into 24 and may or may not know 10 people who polished off every one of them after dinner

For the cake
3 tablespoons milk at room temperature
1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

For the topping
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling.

Make the cake dough: In a small bowl, mix milk with 2 tablespoons warm water. Add yeast and whisk gently until it dissolves. Mixture should foam slightly. (Very slightly in my case.)

Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and salt. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat in the egg. Alternately add flour and the milk mixture, scraping down sides of bowl between each addition. Clark doesn’t say to do this, but I switched to a dough hook at this point to beat dough on medium speed until it formed a smooth mass and pulled away (just a little, my dough was still very soft) from sides of bowl, 7 to 10 minutes.

Press, stretch and nudge dough into an ungreased (original recipe suggests this; I found that my topping stuck a lot and I really had to cut around it with a sharp knife; I will grease mine next time) 9-by 13-inch baking dish (see Note above about baking dishes) at least 2 inches deep. Cover dish with plastic wrap or clean tea towel, put in a warm place, and allow to rise until doubled, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Make the gooey topping: Heat oven to 350 degrees. To prepare topping, in a small bowl, whisk corn syrup with 2 tablespoons water and the vanilla. Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat in the egg. Alternately add flour and corn syrup mixture, scraping down sides of bowl between each addition.

Spoon topping in large dollops over risen cake and use an offset spatula to gently spread it in an even layer. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes (see Note above about wide range); cake will rise and fall in waves and have a golden brown top, but will still be liquid in center when done. Allow to cool in pan before sprinkling with confectioners’ sugar for serving.

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593 comments on st. louis gooey butter cake

  1. Oh, just that picture takes me straight back to childhood! My family’s from St. Louis, and gooey butter cake has always been a holiday morning treat. Nothing like a slice of this rich, delicious stuff along with your breakfast eggs!

  2. Rachel

    My brother and I used to make this weekly for a golden stretch of time. I think we were eleven and eight. It’s sooooo good!

  3. OMG. I had this once. Someone brought it to a brunch. Because that’s what you want at 11 am on a hungover Sunday – a big, gooey wedge of buttery sugar.

    …and it was the best thing ever.

    I have been wanting to recreate it, but all the recipes seem to use cake mix, which offend my food blogging sensibilities.

    So, thank you for this! I can’t wait to make it!

  4. paula

    seriously, you just have to tell me what camera you take such beautiful pictures with! the food and the scenery are both gorgeous and I will attempt to recreate one in my own kitchen very soon.

  5. spants

    I’m from St. Louis and still live there. I’ve had some truly remarkable gooey butter cakes, and I’ve found that I’ve gotten pickier over the years. I too have been sitting on this recipe. Thanks for being the guinea pig, Deb.

  6. ronnissweettooth

    You sound like Karl Pilkington when talking about your head and brain being in charge. This looks ridiculously good. Seems like the perfect recipe for my girl’s weekend.

  7. Kathleen

    As amazing as that Gooey Butter Cake looks (and I’m a St. Louisan myself), it certainly can’t compare with your little boy’s delicious chubby cheeks. And his smushed mouth! Ahhhhh so adorable. Love your blog, thank you for always-great recipes and gorgeous photography.

  8. I’m from Saint Louis and couldn’t be more excited to see one of my favorite cakes on my favorite blog.

    P.s. there are gooey butter cookies too. Watch out.

  9. Daniella

    YUM! I go to college in St. Louis and find that this is one of my absolute favorite things about living in this city. It’s an absolutely great thing to have around for all hours of the day. Gooey butter cookies are also popular here!

  10. JennyC

    What beautiful pictures. Here in Seattle, the trees are starting to flower and daffodils are blooming. I miss the snow, though. How do you think a vanilla bean would work as a substitute for the vanilla extract?

  11. I too clipped this recipe when I saw it on the NYT in the fall. It’s been sitting in a pile in my kitchen, but now that you’re giving it rave reviews, I might just have to dig it out.

  12. wow, that looks amazing! I’ve never heard of this before, so I have to wonder what the texture of that bottom layer is like…does it taste more like cake or a sweet bread? The yeast is throwing me off because I’ve never seen a recipe like this! It sure looks good and I’d love to try it though.

  13. this post just made my day!! i currently live in st. louis and have to say gooey butter cake is one of the best things that ive come to discover here! still haven’t made it myself but your recipe looks incredible and really does make me want to whip this up asap :)

    and those pics of nyc make me so nostalgic for home (i grew up in the city). so beautiful! as are the pictures of you and your family!!

  14. With a name like “butter cake” I worried I stumbled upon Paula Deen’s Blog. :) This looks heavenly, and I love the central park montage in the middle!

  15. Am

    Look at those plump little lips! He’s just adorable.

    I tried one of these before, but a pumpkin version. I’ve wanted to bake one myself ever since then (it was so good!) but put it off. Now I have no excuses!

  16. Deb! I also bookmarked this the second I saw but my (now cured) fear of yeast and my aversion to corn syrup stopped me from making it myself, although I have been dying to taste it since. Do you think that the corn syrup could be replaced with anything? Caramel? Or what that take away from the ooey-gooey deliciousness? If you think I should just suck it up and forget what everyone says about the evils of corn syrup, please tell me honestly. From the looks of my Monday, I am going to need something to make this week a little sweeter.

    1. Lala

      I absolutely do not care that it’s 12 years later, so I hope that you’ve recovered from your aversion to corn syrup. It’s sugar, no more, no less, and simply derived from corn. Use it in baked goods, cocktails, and desserts as you would any other liquid sweetener.

  17. Em

    This is such a Southern Illinois classic!
    Gooey butter cake is to St. Louis what black and white cookies are to NY… except that gooey butter cake isn’t available in any bakery but mom’s or grandma’s kitchen. I like this recipe for cake from scratch instead of using boxed mixes. Also love that it serves 10! :)

  18. I grew up in St. Louis eating this cake! Your version looks authentic and yummy. Too often I see recipes using cake mix and I’m glad this is the real deal :) Definitely putting this on my bookmarked recipes list for a big splurge day.

  19. Tonia

    #23 — use the corn syrup. . .eating it once-in-a-while is not going to hurt you! Corn syrup is neutral and anything else would overpower the butter!

  20. Lauren

    Gosh, your son is adorable. You can tell by his eyes and smile — he’s a smart one, and with a sense of humor, too!

  21. Now I’m going to have to go adapt this to gluten free…
    I think it will be a wonderful process…even if I mess up!

    Lovely photos in the park, as well!!

    It’s Tuesday! works for me!

  22. I made the NYT recipe a few months ago after I read about it. Mine didn’t turn out as well as yours seemed to though. The bottom layer was kind of bland and dry. Not sure what I did wrong.

    1. Sheila Omecene

      I’m with you. I was very disappointed in result. Baked it in a glass pan for 30 minutes, not browned or finished. Put it in for 7 more and the result was dry and crumbly bottom with a tasty but slightly firm top.

  23. Jen

    I am a native St. Louisan transplanted in the SF bay area who also grew up on gooey butter cake at my grandma’s house. I was hesitant to unleash the gooey butter cake on our west coast friends, but the cake prevailed, not sure why I doubted that this humble cake could win over our foodie friends! One friend was literally scraping the pan at the end of the evening. Glad you discovered its goodness.

  24. Oh Deb…your blog is such a temptation for me!
    Actually I should better ban myself from visiting it almost every day!
    How the hell shall I fit in my wedding dress in June when you “cyber-feed” us with irresistable treats!? Again and again? Eh?
    Ahrg…the heck with it! Forget the wedding dress! I can marry wrapped up in a tarpaulin! ;o)

    Thank´s for all theese delicious goodies! And for the wonderful pictures of Central Park! I´ve been in NY (unfortunately only) once in February of 1996. Your photos look just like how I remember the city!

    Best wishes from Germany

    p.s. Your son really is a cutie!!!!!

  25. Jen

    Your description of the cake makes me want to make it NOW, but it is nearing midnight (although I’m often an unreasonable nighttime baker). I’ll make it this weekend maybe, when I can find company that will help me devour it.

    Ahhh, the pictures of Jacob with you two are so sweet!

  26. thinkingfish

    Ohhhhh… I think an excuse of “I’ve never made this before” must suffice for me to make it this weekend, if not sooner.

  27. Katie

    #23 – i’m right there with you re corn syrup. i’m trying really hard to not have any corn syrup and it’s tough. so i hate having to make a cake with it. but this cake may break me. suggestions on what could be used instead of corn syrup?

  28. Susan

    You make NY look so homey and rural in the pic’s. That park must be a godsend to you city dwellers. I must get there one of these days. The family looks right out of the 1940’s in these pics. So retro and so cute!

    This recipe is the first time that a gooey butter cake has appealed to me. Ms Deen’s just didn’t do it for me, her’s looked too sweet and gummy. I just made some sticky buns to rise overnight or I’d be all over this. Soon..very soon. Thanks.

  29. fiona

    I’ve been looking for a recipe for butter-cake! I always have it when I go to Berlin. In Germany they often mix almonds into the topping – making it almost like a praline layer on top. It’s delicious! This is my first post by the way but I’ve been following the blog for almost a year!

  30. FANTASTIC..and I was going to recommit to a diet this week. Not typically much of a sweet tooth, but butter, of THAT I am a huge fan. Oh, well, I wouldn’t want to miss the Tuesday celebration by not trying this amazing recipe. Thanks for sharing!!

  31. This looks great (and the photos of NYC are fabulous) but I too am in need of a substitute for the corn syrup. Would maple syrup work? (But I am afraid that would interfere with the butteryness….) Maybe just a syrup made from sugar and water and reduced?

  32. Ginny

    I agree with @Tonia regarding the corn syrup, @Frenchie. Corn syrup itself is not evil – it’s how often you use it that’s the issue. The problem is that High Fructose Corn Syrup gets put into many prepared foods, upping the sugar content when people aren’t aware. If you don’t eat a lot of prepared foods, an occasional dessert recipe (which isn’t health food anyway, nor should it be) made with corn syrup won’t hurt you.

  33. Jen

    I’m from STL originally and there are other versions of the cake that use cream cheese for the topping. I even somewhere have a PUMPKIN gooey butter cake recipe.

  34. Wow. We’ve been making Gooey Butter Cake for years. My mother got the recipe from a friend in Maine. I had no idea anyone else made it or that it originated in St. Louis. We make an easy version with cake mix and cream cheese in the topping. I’m going to have to try this recipe and compare. It’s always such a big hit.

  35. Daphna

    OH MY GOD! the picture where Jacob’s face is all squshed with kisses — its the most adorable thing ive ever seen!!!! my teeth are aching from all that sugar :)

    tried your monkey bread a few days ago – it was AMAZING – the dough was so light and soft and.. perfect. thanks for that :)

  36. Roseynana

    Yummmy recipe and baby! Going to try substituting a stevia product for the sugar and pale agave nectar for the corn syrup to minimize impact on diabetics.

  37. b

    The Olympics are over, so I have to say your post today was a Triple Crown —
    New York City in its seasonal beauty, your family, especially Jacob and “like butta”
    that wonderful cake. I won’t check my cholesterol count before eating it.

  38. i remember reading about this recipe, thinking that i should make it, then promptly forgetting about it. not going to make the same mistake twice, especially if it truly is creme brulee in cake form!

  39. Debbie V

    Yay! A recipe for this cake thadesolatees not require a cake mix!!! Does anyone have “from search” recipes for the pumpkin or chocolate variations of this cake?

  40. Jess

    I made a pumpkin version of this cake for an election night party in ’08. Although it was a huge hit, it was far too rich for my taste. I can’t wait to try this yeast version – it sounds like it might be more along the lines of what I was looking for!

  41. sheista

    Thanks for sharing your great pics.
    Your posts have not been good for my low carb woe lately……….. thanks! it’s all I’m getting :)

  42. What beautiful pictures – very inspirational to shoot in black and white. Just printing off the cake recipe now. It sound very unusual to me as a Brit – will try it tonight.

  43. The three of you look so lovely. It was a beautiful, (if difficult), storm, wasn’t it? Three feet in as many days here in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Power outages. Snapped trees. Stuck vehicles. But you know the air still feels like springtime and the chickadees are singing outside this morning. The best part? We’ll be springing our clocks ahead soon. And isn’t the morning light delightful. Your photos of the park are beautiful – I need to get to the city more. Me, I was taking photos of my frosted hillside and eating cookies baked just before the power went out. I will be trying your cake this weekend.
    To March! xo

  44. UberSpank

    Ooof… all so amazing! I second the request for corn syrup substitutes, as it isn’t something one can buy here in Australia – but I can’t wait to taste that cake!

  45. I had the same reaction you did when I saw this in the NYT food section. Down to the “nah, this will be too sweet.” Now I think this may need to move a little bit closer to the top of the “to bake” list!

  46. Erin

    I squealed when I saw this. I’m from the st. louis area and I love gooey butter cake. How long until we get a toasted ravioli post?

  47. KL

    As a St. Louisan transplanted to NYC, it amazes me every day how few people have even heard of gooey butter cake, much less eaten it. The kind we make at home is pound cake with cream cheese in the topping, but my favorite is the store-bought kind (blasphemy, I know).

  48. I may just have found another great option for our lab meetings…. the grad students will pretty soon start to worship me :-)

    Plus, since I’ ve never heard of it, it will be a learning experience – a tasty one ‘en plus”


  49. Meredith

    I’ve made Paula Deen’s version of this-Pumpkin style, and I came this close to asking it to marry me. *swoon*

  50. Those photos of Jacob are adorable! Look at those lips!!

    I’m so ready for spring to come to New England, but I agree that snow-blanketed city vistas are beautiful.

  51. the smitten kitchen family is too cute.
    (some of the commenters might be confusing corn sirup with high fructose corn sirup. not the same thing.)

  52. As a St. Louis native, I grew up with this cake and am thrilled to see it featured here! I have a bunch of recipes for it, but I’m glad to have one recommended by a trustworthy source – thanks! The pictures of your family are beautiful!

  53. Travels4Food

    Hmm. I read in another recipe discussion forum that you didn’t care much for Momofuku’s Crack Pie – I didn’t either, at all. I just didn’t get it. How is this recipe distinctly different, other than having a sort of bready layer? Is it still toothache-sweet, or is there more subtlety to it?

    1. deb

      Travels4Food — I think you commented about the crack pie last week, right? Anyway, it was actually that many people had sent me that recipe last week that got me thinking again about the gooey butter cake. I live very close to the bakery, and know I’m in a minority, but find many of the baked good exceedingly sweet. The Crack Pie is like a pecan pie, minus the pecans — ayee. So I figured if I was going to make a gooey recipe I was wary of, I’d go for this one instead. And it’s so so so less treacly sweet than it sounds. The yeasted base give a nice balance and anchoring, and the fact that the sugar gets all caramelized and brown on top means that this is more than just sweet goo — it has a complex vanilla flavor. Hope that helps.

      Someone mentioned a German version of this cake — That’s exactly what my (German) mother said! I’m going to try that almond version of this soon, can’t wait.

  54. Jacqueline

    You might want to check out Cook’s Country (sister publication to Cook’s Illustrated) October/November 2008 issue, page 27 for their recipe for St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake because not only is the original there (a bit different from your recipe though) but there is also a butterscotch varitey and a chocolate variety…and you know, you can always trust Cook’s!

  55. Frannie

    Wow – this takes me back to crowding into Forest Park Barkery, taking a number, and watching the ladies methodically box (and tie with string) these cakes up by the hundreds on Saturday mornings. Can’t wait to share this with my own kids!

  56. Ehrin

    I’m a St. Louis girl myself. My brother and I grew up eating these. I’ve tried many a recipe in an attempt to replicate the flavor–alas to no avail. However, given how much I adore you and your recipes, I will try this one with high hopes. Looking forward to it!

  57. Wow. Okay, well, before I get into the evilness that is this cake recipe, I first must say that those are some great snow photos, and the family shots are priceless. Definitely frame-worthy. Scrapbook-worthy. Whatever-your-photo-thing-is-worthy. Love them. And as for this cake? I need to step away. Slowly. For it looks like it’d be irresistable. I’m all about spun sugar, burnt sugar flavors. Yum.

  58. Rhonda

    I lived just outside of St. Louis in grade school but my dad was finally transferred back home after a couple of years. This is one of those memories that as a kid you think was just so great but will never have again. And really weird is that I have been browsing around trying to find something that clicked, just by memory of the buttery topping on a cake base. The cake mix thing was what threw me because cake mixes just weren’t used back then. Now if you could find the Chicago lady who gave me a pastry that had crumbles/streusel on top of a sweet yeast dough that just melted in your mouth, though I think I found one in a German cookbook.

    You have the cutest family, but when you get to green eggs and ham, please pass. Though grape jelly mixed into scambled will make a greenish color.

  59. This looks very similar to the butter cakes that we bought at local bakeries when I was a kid in Philadelphia. I guess Epicurette is familiar with them too. I know there are recipes out there for butter cake. I just haven’t made it because it is SO rich! I may have to go for it after seeing yours. It brings back so many memories…

  60. I’ve made these before, Oooh, Googy butter cater. I even have a quicker version that starts with a cake mix (believe it or not) and results are the same. I make these all the time for catering jobs. People love them. — Sherry

    1. deb

      I’m seeing a lot of comments about corn syrup. So let’s talk corn syrup! First, I think there is some confusion over products. What you hear about a lot in the news these days is High Fructose Corn Syrup, not the regular Light Corn Syrup you often seen in homemade (not factory-produced) baked goods. They are different products. HFCS is a highly concentrated, extra extra sweet version of corn syrup that has almost replaced sugar these day in grocery store items. Understandably, most people want to approach that with moderation. Regular corn syrup is a great tool in home baking and candy making. It helps smooth caramels and “gooey” creations like this.

      (My friend David talks more about this in this post.)

      Corn syrup is an invert sugar; other invert sugars are the more readily available (in the UK and Australia) golden syrup and also things like honey. Golden syrup can usually be swapped for corn syrup with no problems; honey will probably be just fine but I can’t say for absolute certain having not tried it yet.

      As for using corn syrup itself, personally, it doesn’t bother me to use it occasionally in baked goods that benefit from it. Like everything else, its about moderation and I don’t get worried about a few tablespoons a year in a bakeds good I have just a tiny portion or two of.

      Back to HFCS. Of interest, if you’re curious to read further, this article in the New York Times explains some of the HFCS confusion, such as the fact that HFCS is not actually higher in fructose than than regular white sugar (it’s higher in fructose than corn syrup) and that chemically, it’s not as different from white sugar as we imagine. “The version of high-fructose corn syrup used in sodas and other sweetened drinks consists of 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose, very similar to white sugar, which is 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose. The form of high-fructose corn syrup used in other products like breads, jams and yogurt — 42 percent fructose and 58 percent glucose — is actually lower in fructose than white sugar.”

  61. Lucy

    awww…I’m currently living in Nebraska, homesick for St.Louis, MO. Gooey butter cake was always such a standard when I was growing up that I forget that it’s a local treat (along with toasted ravioli). I haven’t had it in a reeeaaally long time, and when I did, I’m sure it was with a boxed cake base. I’m so so tempted to bake one of these up tonight instead of working on a research paper…Thanks, Deb, for reminding me of a home treat right when I needed one.

  62. Leandre

    OK, it’s confirmed, you and your blog exist soley to limit my morning activities to: arrive at work, start computer, read SK, drool. Wipe drool from chin. Repeat. Dream of day being over to go home and cook said dish. Drool more. (Not that I am complaining!)

  63. Karyl

    We call this the “Evil Cake” in our circle of friends. . . it’s that good. Thanks for a recipe that doesn’t involve the cake mix box. I like my ingredients list to use words I understand!

  64. Lyra

    I lived in St. Louis for three years and never once tried gooey butter cake for the exact reasons you mentioned, Deb. Clearly I missed out!

  65. Becky

    When I was growing up, In Il. about 1 1/2 hours from St Louis, we called this ooey gooey butter cake LOL. When we lived in New Jersey one of my neighbors was so excited because she found this fabulous chess cake, and when I took a bite I exclaimed, “ooey gooey!” haha, then had to explain. Thanks for the memories.

  66. I grew up in St. Louis. This was a staple at evry family gathering….
    I hadn’t thought about it in years….now after your post I can’t stop thinking about it…….

  67. rachel

    Hey Deb,
    This sounds like a perfect thing to bring to a baby shower this Sunday, do you think I could make the base and let it rise in the fridge overnight and then finish? Otherwise the timing will be too hard and I’ll be forced to make the amazing quatro leches cake from Savuer, oh such torturous decisions!
    Also, for those squciky about corn syrup, Whole Foods carries an organic version which I’ve used successfully and don’t mind shelling out for, since I use it so infrequently.

  68. Mmm – I’ve made this a couple of times since it appeared in the Times. Mine never seems to rise before going in the oven, but it doesn’t seem to matter. I’ve also swapped out the corn syrup for golden syrup, because I had it, and I like the taste.

  69. Rebecca

    I had the same problems using a metal 13 x 9 pan – too brown on the bottom and way past the gooey stage. The taste was good, though, and I’ll try it again, using a ceramic dish and shorter cooking time.

  70. libby

    I am a bit ashamed as a St. Louisan that I’ve never made gooey butter cake myself even though I’ve eaten it millions of times! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  71. laurie

    I once avoided all corn syrup, but have rethought the issue. One thing that surprised me was the results of my own taste test find the best strawberry and apricot preserves. We bought 8 different brands from the all-fruit kind to ones with corn syrup. We bought the fanciest and most expensive and the cheap store brands. The absolute winner in both was the Safeway Select brand. The apricot version includes both sugar and regular corn syrup (not high fructose). Sunday, I made hamantashen with a mixture of the preserves and ground walnuts, and they was outstanding.

    But Purim is over and it’s on to St. Louis gooey butter cake. I lived in St. Louis during college. Haven’t had it since I graduated Can’t wait to try it.

  72. Sunny

    Deb, I really want to make this, but don’t have a fancy mixer – just a hand held blender. Would that work instead of the paddle or should I just use spatula and hand.

    1. deb

      Sunny — I would mix the dough part with a hand mixer, but switch to a wooden spoon for the dough hook part, making sure to really bang it around and knead it well in there. You can make the “gooey” topping entirely with a hand mixer.

  73. Carly

    No lie, I made this the very Wednesday the recipe was published. and my husband and I probably polished it off by Friday. Loved it, thanks for the reminder that I need to make it again.

  74. I really need to stop being such a procrastinator! I bookmarked this cake when it appeared in the Times, and every time I browse through my recipes, I drool and then decide to put it off for another time. If this post isn’t motivation enough to make me mend my ways, I don’t know what is. Making…grocery list…now….

  75. oh my god this is SO my next project! i went to college in st louis and i remember when i discovered these little squares of heaven at kaldi’s coffeehouse… sigh. i ordered it whenever i felt my waistline could afford it.

  76. meg

    I am so glad you made this! When my husband and I moved to St. Louis for grad school our neighbors wowed us with this cake. 4 years later I finally have a good recipe to take with me when we move this summer. I have no idea why this cake seems to have never really left the Midwest, but perhaps now others will catch on to this regional delight.

  77. Stuart

    I had the same reaction to this when it was in the Times: Make it right now. I went so far as to make sure I had all the ingredients I needed, but here it is March and the recipe sits untested. Thanks for reminding me!

  78. Rupi D.

    The cake looks delicious and your pictures are wonderful! Jacob is so adorable! There is nothing better than Central Park…anytime of the year!

  79. Carol

    YUM! This dessert is always a big hit here in IN (or chess cake as we call it), I have made it with peanut butter, pumpkin and chocolate. The recipe I use calls for a cake mix base as you mentioned…but I can’t wait to try yours…sounds wonderful.

  80. Amy B.- Portland, OR

    Once again, Deb, you score HUGE with this cake, pics of your family and your all-around enthusiasm. Congrats on your Bloggie! Thanks for the pics of Central Park. Makes me homesick all over again. I think I’ll be quiet now and bake this cake. YUM.

  81. cw

    Cool – the Gooey Butter Cake recipe. I’ve been making this cake all my life – starting with high school boyfriends and continuing on. Never thought of it as anything other than a staple! Glad to see others like it as much as we do in St. Louis. And love love love the pics of Jacob and his parents!

  82. Kate

    I grew up in St. Louis but just moved to New York- you could not have had more perfect timing for this post. Thanks! and I can’t wait to make it!

  83. Laura Lee

    I’m excited to try this cake!!! I’ve made a version using cake mix and I find it overly sweet. This looks so good :)

  84. Brenda

    I grew up in Missouri and this cake was always a treat. I didn’t realize it was a St. Louis dessert though. No wonder no one in California knew what I was talking about.

  85. I’m loving all of the commenters with STL ties! I, too, lived in St. Louis for a while (college + a few years) and that was when I first tried Gooey Butter cake. I thought it would be too sweet – and it is ridiculously sweet- but so good! Gooey Butter cookies are even better :)

  86. I’m in France and can’t get corn syrup either – maybe in Paris but not in small cities like the one I live. So it’s not a anti-corn syrup thing, it’s just a practical thing. Suggestions?

  87. Okay, you have convinced me along with all the other comments to make this cake!
    I have got to quit reading your blog. I am going to be as big as the house or spend all my free time at the gym! I love your photos of Central Park. Beautiful! Oh, and Jacob is so cute!

  88. nan

    Sounds divine! My daughter was born in St. Louis and she loves any cake that isn’t chocolate so I’m going to make this for her birthday! We lived in St. Louis only for a year but still, I’m SHOCKED that I didn’t sniff out this cake! Thanks! xo, Nan

  89. Wow, I make a similar cake for my Philadelphian father-in-law called Philadelphia German butter cake. There aren’t any bakeries left who still make it, but he says mine is just like he remembers from his childhood. Thanks for the recipe – I’m trying this version next time!!

  90. Kathy in Madison

    Another thumbs-up from one who’s moving to St. Louis in less than two months. I’d never had it until I visited my now-boyfriend there. Can’t wait to give this recipe a shot, Deb; I love that it utterly lacks the aids of pudding or cake mixes, and I’m fascinated by the fact that this particular version has a New York pedigree. Thanks for turning the rest of the world onto this treat!

    For those of you wondering about pumpkin and other versions: oh yes, it’s possible. In fact, Park Avenue Coffee makes a myriad of flavors, and I’ve never had one I didn’t love. Last time, my boyfriend and I shared a mint chocolate chip version. It was delicate, lovely, and just the right balance of butter, sugar, and mint. A little googling and experimentation in one’s own kitchen will lead to like results, but if you’d like to order your own…

  91. Kami

    Yummmm!!! Can’t wait to try this one. And the pictures of you and your family are so precious!!! I thought my kids were the cutest ever, but wow does Jacob give them a run for their money!

  92. Kelly

    First it was the Monkey Bread that I couldn’t resist. (It was fabulous, by the way.) Now, it’s this!! I will make it as soon as my new Kitchenaid stand mixer arrives in the mail!!

  93. Meg

    OMG!! I am from St. Louis and LOVE gooey butter cake; however, the only thing better than gooey butter CAKE is gooey butter COOKIES!! My mom used to own a coffee shop in Lake St. Louis and we had a vendor who made the BEST gooey butter cookies… if only I had the recipe…

  94. Caroline O

    Wow, this sounds delish! I know what i will be making this weekend!!

    In regards to the corn syrup issue; I don’t care to use it either. It’s not that I think it will do any great damage in small amounts and realize it’s not the same as HFCS but I really try to keep chemically processed foods out of my baking and cooking.

    What i usually use instead is cane syrup. Specifically Steen’s not that easy to find these days but it is basically the grandmother of corn syrup and just plain boiled can juice. I can’t find it locally here in so call though so i order several cans at a time from a website in Louisiana.

    I have substituted it in many things so far and always found the flavor of the finished product equal to, or better than corn syrup. But we will have to wait and see with this recipe.

  95. Neisa

    In addition to the wonderful recipe, thank you for the amazing photos of Central Park! I am a former NY’er living in Florida and I have been unable to visit for a few years. Oh my goodness do I miss it. Thank you for bringing me a bit of “home”. I’ll going to make travel arrangement now!

  96. Meg

    Kathy in Madison- THANK YOU for introducing me to Park Avenue Coffee… I live in St. Charles which is about 30 min west of STL and had never heard of it until your link… now I am going to have to try that place out this weekend!!

  97. Lisa

    My German sister-in-law dubbed this goofy butter cake at one point and for my St. Louis family the name stuck. She was also greatly amused by the Schnucks grocery stores (how’s that for St. Louis?) commenting ‘that’s not a very pretty word in German.’ BTW, we always left it on the counter, not refrigerated.

  98. Kathy in Madison

    Meg of #147 — hey, you’re welcome! It’s a great little coffee shop, full of sun during the day and warm with the aromas of fresh coffee and sweet GBC.

    There’s a wonderful little stretch of business there in Lafayette Square; I recommend you check them out on the web first so as to maximize your time in St. Louis! :-)

  99. Kelly

    What do you mean in your directions by saying it will be liquid in the center when done? I guess I’m looking for a bit more of a desciptor so I’ll have some idea of when to pull it. Do I want it to “set” as much as lemon bars or a quiche? Am I close with this idea? Thanks.


  100. Really, you have to stop torturing us with all these delicious posts.

    I really enjoyed the photos of your family, I cannot get over how adorable Jacob is. You and your husband look so happy, you wouldn’t even know that you had been experiencing greyslushdisgust. Oh and feel free to send your snowy winter to Montana, we are in desperate need of lots and lots of white stuff.

  101. I don’t know anything about St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake but your description has me eager to try this new recipie. My passions are quilting and cooking. I just discovered your blog and it is my new favorite blog. I plan to try a lot of your archive recipies. Jilly

  102. Wow. This looks really delicious and not quite as bad as the cupcakes I was planning on making. Of course, cupcakes would be faster… Obviously I need to make cake this weekend!

  103. biz

    hey, wait, I LOVE gooey butter cake…and my friend from st louis introduced me to it…i didn’t know it was tied to that city, though.

  104. Oh My Gosh! My mom’s side is from St. Louis and everytime they went back to visit (were are all in CA now) my grandma always brought us home a butter cake. I miss them so much! I can’t wait to try this!!!!

  105. Michele

    Oh my, the cake is ridiculous but that baby is kissable! He is gorgeous!! Honestly, I love your blog but those pictures of that sweet boy make me smile!

  106. Deb,

    I simply adore this perspective of your life. While I’m sure behind the scenes you have a lot of ups and downs (don’t we all), I want to thank you for sharing the better moments with us, and the food that helps make them so wonderful. It’s nice to have a place to escape to in my head when I’m in the kitchen.

    Much love to you, Alex, and Jacob. Thank you!

  107. Nina

    So glad to see gooey butter cake on your website! It is and continious to be a treat in our house. We have a few good food traditions in St. Louis and this is one of them (have you tried toasted ravioli?), so thanks for sharing with everyone else. By the way, looking at pics of Jacob almost makes me want another kiddo… almost. I have two boys of my own and seeing his chubby cheeks and toothless grin always makes me smile.

  108. Okay, I love living in Southern California. LOVE it. I LOVE that my daughters are teenagers (yes, really. They’re fun). WHAT DO THESE PICTURES MAKE ME WANT TO DO?! Move to New York. And have more babies. Boy ones that look adorable bundled up in snowclothes. I’ve made Gooey Butter Cake with a cake mix and, Deb, you’re right: treacly sweet. I can’t wait to make this one (yay! yeast!). For my teenage daughters. Who no longer have squishy baby cheeks — and don’t own any snowclothes.

  109. Oh this looks so good! I live in upstate NY and also have a 5 month old son, what a coincidence! I think that means I’ll have to bundle him up, take him in the snow, and then come home and bake this delicious looking treat for us! (Well, maybe not for him, but for me and my hubby!) Thanks for the inspiration.

  110. My mother used to make this (using a cake mix) and called it “Chess Cake” … I remember loving it, and may just have to try your “homemade” recipe instead! :D

    Thanks for sharing!

  111. Add me to the chorus of St. Louis natives (though I live in Houston now) who grew up on this cake. I’ve found it a little sweet for taste the past couple times I’ve tried it, but maybe I’ll give this recipe a shot!

    If you’re looking for more St. Louis treats, can we convince you to find a recipe for toasted ravioli next? =)

  112. Amy

    This looks so friggin’ amazing!! Being from Tennessee, I’ve never heard of this before but I guarantee my husband will be a happy camper when I try this little gem out!

  113. StaceyC

    This looks so similar to a Philadelphia butter cake that my husband and I make. Maybe they are cousins? Or maybe the same thing, different name? Love, love the smooshy cheek kiss pic with the men in your life!

  114. Danica

    You make my want to move to NYC. I love visiting the city, and you just make it so fab…those pictures are AMAZING. I hope you sell them profesionally. PS, if you ever need a babysitter, I’d happily fly to NYC from CA to babysit the most adorable prince jacob!

  115. I never knew that there was a recipe out there other than the Paula Deen one… but that uses boxed cake mix so I should have assumed that there was a “resl” recipe out there somewhere!

  116. I love Central Park better in the winter than even in the summer months.
    I remember how beautiful that odd exhibit “The Gates” in 2005 by Christo and Jean Claude were.
    Big orange things blanketed with white snow. I will never forget it.
    I am due for a walk in the park!
    Great photos!

  117. Such a nice blog post! Love the photos of you guys and BABY JACOB! The city looks AWESOME in the snow! Dessert is right up there too! Love the sweet recipes yes indeedy! Any chance you will be baking 1 of your gorgeous cakes like you used to? I know you’ve got the bitsy baby and not much time, but your cakes are TO DIE FOR!

  118. Symphonic Chef

    Thanks for posting your lovely family and city pictures! They really captured the feel of the crisp winter air – you actually made me miss the cold, even though it’s a blissful 70 degrees here in NZ. Speaking of New Zealand, and golden syrup, and your obsession with funny names, have you ever heard of hokey pokey? It’s a NZ specialty made with golden syrup with kind of a caramel/toffee flavor, most commonly found in icecream or candy, but I can picture you making a mean hokey pokey cake….

  119. kris

    It’s Dr. Seuss week this week at my daughter’s school because of his birthday being today. Now I can make this at home and read Fox in Socks with her. I can tell her it’s a “gooey-goo for chewy-chewing” cake.

    Thanks Deb.

  120. theRunt

    What happened to the print function? For a while it had a picture with it, now it doesn’t. Maybe it’s just me but when I print something without a picture I have a hard time when flipping through printed recipes looking for inspiration at a later date. Thanks for the great site.

  121. Rachel

    Deb, I’m developing a crush on your recipes and writing. I made the apple muffins recently and one friend said they were the best muffins she’s ever had. I wanted to try this recipe when I saw it last fall, and now I will be sure to. I also have the ingredients all lined up for the granola bars. Thanks for adding a little fun and deliciousness (and cute baby photos) to my day.

  122. Elise

    SO glad you posted this! I’m a St. Louis native and never tried making gooey butter cake while I was still local… after moving away, all I’ve ever seen online are versions containing cream cheese?! I’m stoked to try this out! For anyone in the St. Louis area who wants some gloriously good gooey butter cake, I second the recommendation above to visit Park Avenue Coffee, Lafayette Square.

    Oh, I have also had gooey butter cookies… though good, I think the cake is better.

  123. Sarah F

    This just made me so happy. I’m a displaced St. Louisan suffering from gooey-butter withdrawal on the west coast (I’d make it myself but I live in a dorm), and I’m so happy you’re sharing it so everyone can understand how wonderful it is. Many people have commented that there is a German version of this cake, and that is probably due to the fact that St. Louis has a very rich German heritage. If you want to try another St. Louis food, make toasted ravioli!

  124. Were I Proust, these would be my Madeleines. I went to college in St. Louis. There was nothing like a brisk walk to the local coffee shop and gossiping over delicious gooey-butter cake. SIGH……

  125. Hi, Deb! It’s once again my week to do cake Friday at vet school, and my question is:

    I need to make something Thursday evening to eat Friday afternoon. Would this or the monkey bread work better?

  126. Sarah

    Yum, looks great. But, a thought on “dish” vs “pan” — I’ve always been told that if you bake something in a glass dish rather than a metal pan, you should turn the oven down 25 degrees (F) from what the recipe gives else the bottom will brown too quickly when using the glass dish. Empirically, I’ve found that to be true for cakes and corn bread that I’ve sometimes made in a glass dish and sometimes in a metal cake pan (and only sometimes remembered to turn down the oven for glass). However, doesn’t that go opposite to what you are suggesting? I’d expect that since you followed the recipe on temperature, that using a metal pan wouldn’t be the culprit for the more-brown-than-desired bottom. Let us know how it goes when you try it in a dish instead!

  127. Oh man, this is my boyfriend’s favorite cake! The recipe from his mom’s cookbook doesn’t call for yeast, but it has dried milk powder, I think. And it’s baked in a half-sheet pan, so it’s a lot thinner. I didn’t think I would like it either, I thought it would be sickeningly sweet, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I may have to try this recipe sometime and see what he thinks of it, thanks!

  128. Wendy

    I’ve made Paula Deen’s “Gooey Butter Cake” many times and in many variations – and I thought this would be similar. But – alas – no cream cheese!?? Sounds very interesting… I. MUST. TRY. IT. !!! thanks Deb!

  129. Julie

    love your blog! this is unlike any gooey butter prep ive seen in my lifetime as a st.louisan, but i have a feeling anything you make is absolutely delicious :) the topping has always been pourable when ive seen or made it. i had always been kind of a gooey-butter purist, but i recently started making this with a shortbread crust, and its SO GOOD. definitely helps cut the sweetness just enough to really enjoy the filling.

  130. I’m from Missouri and love all the gooey butter cakes here. Although, I have to agree that many are too sweet. I’d like to try this recipe.

  131. That cake, the photos, your stories, are ridiculous and I am addicted to all of it.
    I made the baked rigatoni last night and shared it with family and a long lost friend…
    bella, perfecto! I also just dropped a ling to your blog and some delicious brownies in one of my blogs, thank you so much for the inspiration. Cheers.

  132. i have never heard of anything like this cake but i feel like i have to get right on making it. i don’t know how you resisted for so long.

    p.s. your mise is so cute!

  133. Kimberly

    Deb, My cake is rising now! I LOVE your site and this is my first comment. We live in Seattle and are ADDICTED to Delancey’s pizza. [the cook and owner Brandon Petit…Molly, Orangette’s husband] If you are every out this way please make sure you eat there!!! It is amazing.

    I just want to kiss your baby!! I love the photos of him…he looks so happy and well loved. Thank you for sharing him with us all!

  134. Nice! I’ve got a Philadelphia German Butter Cake on my blog that’s quite similar. The main differences seem to be that a) it’s even gooier, astoundingly; and b) it’s from Philadelphia.

  135. ok, yum. And your family photos make the cutest montage. Jacob is simply adorable and the three of you together!? Kind of like the cake – the perfect sweetness :)

  136. This looks better than monkey bread and yet I’d never heard of St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake! How could you St. Louis folks not tell us about this?! We adore your ribs but c’mon…share the love! I’m going to have to make this….after a month or so. I’m up to my ears in hazelnut baklava so I don’t think I could stand another sticky, buttery pastry.

  137. Bobanda

    You are so in my head! Partly because I had a dream two nights ago that you had an open house and invited us all to your BIG lovely house in the middle of the city with a deck and yard – that’s how I knew it was a dream – and you cooked for us… and showed us your very impressive art collection. Hmmm. BUT – partly because I was just thinking how much I love gooey butter cake but have never had a trusty recipe that turns out firm enough but gooey enough without using a mix and ewww…. cake mix. :(

    Thanks! Now to just figure out how to do this gluten free… ugh. And i love your family photos.

    1. deb

      Bobanda — Aww. Deck and a yard! Keep clicking those ads people, maybe it will happen. (I kid. My contracts state clearly that encouraging ad clicking even ad clicking that might one day result in a giant apartment in the middle of the city where all of you could come over and eat Gooey Butter Cake is strictly forbidden. Sigh.)

  138. Hi Deb~I have memories of the most incredible yeast coffee cake that my Russian grandmother made. There was this yummy crumbly topping and we used to spread grape jelly on the top. The recipe was in her head and nobody ever thought to write it down. She used to make it in a glass pyrex dish–I can still smell it and see the checkered towel laying over the top waiting for us to devour it. Any ideas? Even though I am gluten free now I would tolerate the stomach ache to have one more piece.

  139. Vana

    Finally delurking after many months of loving your blog–but couldn’t resist when I saw this. I was raised in a little town in Illinois right across the river from St. Louis (and by the way, natives never ever call it “St. Louey,” although I’ve noticed my young cousins now refer to it as “The Lou” on Facebook). I grew up eating “ooey gooey butter cake.” We got it at a fabulous bakery called Kruta’s and it’s homesick food I never miss on my trips back there, along with mostaccioli, toasted ravioli, and bagna cauda. A few summers ago when I was there, one of my best friends blew me away with a homemade CHOCOLATE version, although I have to say the original still has my heart. Can’t wait to try this recipe and show off to my Northwest friends. Thanks for the always-great pictures, too.

  140. I am from St. Louis as well (and I’m so pleased to see so many others in the comments!) and have always loved gooey butter cake. I haven’t ever had it with a yeast cake like this and I think some baking might be in order. I’m also pleased to see that gooey butter cake is making it nationally. I know what happens when people try it for the first time because a friend and I once introduced her Connecticut friends to the cake and it didn’t last long at all! Oh, and if you’re looking for other regional foods, St. Louis is also home to toasted ravioli. :)

  141. Another St. Louisan chiming in here! Love Gooey Butter Cake. I make a pumpkin version for Thanksgiving each year. My in-laws (in Central IL) demand it!

    This year, I did Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cupcakes. Top with some whipped cream and you have awesome in a cupcake wrapper!

    Everything looks wonderful, as per usual, Deb!! I find when I’m on your site, I tend to want to make things I wouldn’t even normally like – just because of your beautiful pics!

  142. Lorane

    Try the same base, but instead of the regular topping whip up some egg whites till very stiff and use about a cup of dark brown sugar to mix into the egg whites. spread that over the top and bake until it looks cracked and crunchy. This is called a mud hen and it is so wonderful.

  143. I was in NYC last week for work, and had a wonderful time. (I’m from upstate, so I’m used to lots of snow. And my train on Friday left on time!) Thanks for the pictures of the city, they are fantastic! :)

  144. Carley

    Gooey Butter Cake started the first conversation I had with my boyfriend’s sister. She made it for a party he threw (back before we were dating) and I tracked her down to sing her praises and request the recipe. It’s got a cake mix base, though, so I’m looking forward to trying this one.

  145. Cheryl

    I live in the in the Northwest so this is the first time I have heard of that cake. It looks fantastic so I will be making it for sure. I do a coffee hour every few months so this will be a great treat. I loved seeing the pictures of your little one enjoying the snow. When my little boy was that age, last winter, we took him to the mountains he could not deal with the cold air on his face. He cried so loud we could have used him for avalanche control.

  146. Kailee

    Oh, rats! DEB!! My hubby and I gave up desserts for Lent. But, you can bet I’ll be making this as soon as Easter gets here! This looks marvelous. And I love getting to bake with yeast.

  147. Emily

    OMG my arteries HATE you… but I’m sure my taste buds and guests for dinner tonight will LOVE YOU!!! The dough is (hopefully) rising as we speak.

    Just read the last comment, and am SO happy that I gave up meat and NOT sweets for lent. Sorry Kailee :)

  148. Which Jennifer

    I made this today in celebration of Tuesday, as suggested. Mine, too, were a little past “goo” at 30 minutes, and since I doubled the recipe and didn’t have two 9×13 pans, they were thick. Oh, well.

    I’ve made the ones that start with a cake mix, and they are much easier. However, these are not so sweet that you can’t have a couple. I particularly liked the tease of several hours of rise time… my seven children were just dying to taste them. :)

  149. Stephanie in GA

    Love the NYC pics and the family – such a cute baby. I am a transplanted New Yorker – miss the City! I have a question about the cake. After the batter has risen, do you punch it down before putting on the topping? This is my first day reading your blog and I can’t wait to try more of your recipes. Love it!

    1. deb

      Stephanie — You do not punch it down.

      Using instant instead of active — They’re not used in the same proportion and their rising times might be different. Instant is generally used in 3/4 the volume of active dry. If you follow this and give it a spin, do let us know how it turns out.

  150. jenniegirl

    I’m excited to try this. I made a Paula Deen gooey butter cake once, and it was way way too sweet. I’m hoping this is what I was looking for the first time around!

  151. Lauri

    I’m surprised to ask the first yeast question – can I use my new huge bag of SAF Instant Yeast that I ordered from KAF? Is that always swappable for active dry? Or am I thinking of rapid rise yeast? So do I need to change the quantity? I want to make this for my Oscar party this weekend…

  152. Trish

    I am another person who lived in St. Louis for a time – to attend grad school. This post brought back all sorts of memories for me, too. Oh, how I miss the late night runs to Kaldis Coffee Shop for delicious coffee and tasty treats like Gooey Butter Cake!

  153. Jill Healy

    I just watched Paula Deen make her version this week on a snowy day. (I’d never heard of it before.) I think she added toffee chips. I’m sometimes a little skittish about yeast, but you’re helping me overcome some of my fears. Of course, I’m trying to lose weight…oh, well. Your pictures were wonderful, and doesn’t that baby of yours also look good enough to eat?

  154. Angela

    I love all the photos! They are outstanding! The Seussical remarks are so fitting as it is the good Dr’s birthday. :)

    I will have to try this recipe, I too have had a recipe for this sitting for quite some time.

  155. Kathryn

    Perfect timing, just digging around for dessert recipes and saw this in my inbox! I will definitely be making this for this weekend’s dinner party. We’ll see if I can convert some more San Franciscans!

  156. Another St. Louisan here… I love Gooey Butter Cake, and am glad to see that you didn’t make the cream-cheese/box cake mix variety. The recipe as you’ve made it is so much better!

  157. Jendorf

    This was my grandmother’s favorite cake, and I haven’t made it in a looooong time. I’m having her over for brunch next Sunday–guess what’ll be on the table!

  158. Kathy in Madison

    The cake-y base is resting right now, Deb; to avoid the tugging struggle of spreading it corner-to-corner in the pan, I just beat the dough vigorously for a minute, and now I’m letting it rest for a few more minutes. I’m hoping the rest will give it more elasticity.
    I love the idea, from a few comments above, of spreading the base with a brown sugar meringue! That’d be wonderful with fresh summer fruits, I think.

  159. Kate

    Are there this many former St. Louisans? Well count me in too. There isn’t a grocery store you can visit on a Sunday morning in St. Louis and NOT find this cake. Lake Forest Bakery in Clayton was famous for its. And the St. Louis Art Museum serves a good one, or is that Chess Pie? Anyway, I ate this pretty much every Sunday of my childhood and was shocked when I started to travel that you couldn’t find gooey butter cake EVERYWHERE!

  160. Love the Dr. Seuss references! And on his birthday, no less! To celebrate, we had an updated version of green eggs and ham – your spinach and cheese strata with bacon. I do so like green eggs and ham! Thank you, thank you, Deb and fam!

  161. I’m what? 246? What can I add but that your family photos are just delightful and I’d like to give Sweet Baby J a big ole smoochie smooch myself. The cake, good grief I can’t even talk about it. Deevine.

  162. Nan

    Hey – me again! I couldn’t wait for the girl’s birthday to make this cake for her so I made this cake tonight – and before I pass out from a diabetic coma I wanted to thank you (I think!) because it was dang good…but you know that just doesn’t sum it up…it’s really more than that, it was dang, dang, dang, dang, dang good! As I’m want to say, it was a 5-danger and definitely worthy of my impending coma! Nighty-night!

  163. annika

    I have also decided that Tuesday must be celebrated by something such as this! I even recruited visiting family to help me make this lovely creations, and we saw a long movie while we let the dough rise! It sits less than five feet away from me now, cooling and tempting me with its sweet, buttery smell.

    Excuse me. I have to go give that piece of heaven a try.

  164. claire

    Another St. Louis local here, and yes this is the best. Perhaps we need to make it a Smitten Kitchen get together at Kaldi’s or Park Avenue Coffee in honor of Jacob or Dr. Suess or wanting more snow or wanting less snow or … Thanks Deb for putting STL on the map for a good reason.

  165. Vesta

    I have only tried Paula Deen’s pumpkin version of this cake. It does use a cake mix, and really just tastes like cheesecake to me. I really need to try this SOON!

  166. Kathy in Madison

    If my upstairs neighbors smoke pot (as I suspect they do), they must have double the munchies from the aroma of this cake wafting up the vents. It smells incredibly good: innocent and naughty all at once, just as it’s supposed to smell.

    I stuck to the letter of the recipe but for two things: I’m out of corn syrup, so I used honey, and I added the whole packet of yeast. Why? Because I’m a doofus now and then. So, the cake-y crust seems to account for as much of the pan as the filling (which may also be thinner because I mixed it by hand, and not for long enough out of lack of patience).

    My co-workers will, I hope, welcome the sugar and fat so eloquently spun — else I get to add GBC to ham as the definition of eternity for one or two people.

  167. NowImJustAMom

    This afternoon I was searching the web for a new recipe for yellow cake and stumbled upon your site. I cannot express how excited I am to have found this. The recipes are endless, providing me with so many new ideas in the kitchen, and realistic ones for the everyday family. I have been perusing your pages for several hours now and my eyes are half closed, the kids are asleep and I know I need to go to bed, but I am addicted. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. And just to keep in line with the “comment guidelines” in regards to the gooey butter cake, I can see some extra pounds coming my way – I’ll be in the kitchen tomorrow during “babies nap time” to make this scrum shish sounding post nap treat.

  168. Em

    I was born and bred in St. Louis and currently live in New Zealand. This post makes me happy and sad at the same time. Happy that now I get to eat like I’m in St. Louis and sad because I miss the US. Cheers!

  169. CoCo

    what happens when you have a drafty apartment with no ‘warm place’ to let the yeast rise? it’s hard to imagine an NYC apartment being chilly, i know! any suggestions?

    1. deb

      Coco — Put a rack fairly low in your oven. Heat it to 200 degrees, don’t let it go over. Turn the oven off. Wait 20 minutes. Put the dough in there to rise. It should go much faster.

  170. can i just tell you that we made these yesterday and they were FLIPPING DELICIOUS. it is a recipe that i wouldn’t have normally made, either, but i really loved the outcome. perfect when warm and paired with morning coffee! thanks for inspiring me!

  171. Linda T.

    OK, Deb….so, after making the rigitoni w/meatballs, I felt we needed a really nice dessert – one that wasn’t too complicated with some simple ingredients. Well, this one did nicely. I baked it in a glass 13x9x2 inch baking dish, and it came out great. My husband and daughter went NUTS over this!! As with all of your recipes, this one didn’t disappoint!! Thanks hon!!

  172. Rose Marie Heard

    I, too, moved from St. Louis. I am close enough to make a weekend run if I want though.
    I was glad to see that Gooey Butter Cake recipe in here. Yes you should try the toasted ravioli.
    The pics of the baby and your hubby were nice as were the “other” pics.
    Keep the recipes coming.

  173. wow! I am so glad I stumbled across your site! My two and photography beautifully presented..
    can’t wait to try out your recipes, and congrats on an amazing blog!

  174. Andrea

    Yum! Any idea what I can use as an easy substitute for corn syrup? I am a German living in Cologne (Germany) and I can’t get it over here…
    Some comments note the German butter cake. There are indeed a bunch of German cakes that are based on a yeast dough. Streusselkuchen, Butterkuchen, all sorts of fruit cakes with streussels/crumbles on top, Bienenstich (bee sting, a regular in my kitchen). Thanks for sharing this recipe – and those wonderful pictures!

  175. Carlie

    I used to work with Molly at Amy’s Bread. She is a fantastic baker! I was so happy to see her recipe in the NYT and now on Smitten Kitchen.

  176. Kara

    Deb, next time you may want to take a cue from Park Avenue Coffee in St. Louis and add another delicious flavor to your gooey butter cake. I am partial to the turtle, Heath bar, peanut butter chocolate, and cinnamon versions. (Yes, it CAN get better than this!)

  177. berto

    Deb, I used instant instead of active in the proportion you mention and it turned out great! I also had to swap a tablespoon of butter for corn syrup as I ran out of butter (who does that?). To add to the regionalness of this dish for you I had no idea what butter cake was (Austin, TX!), but when I was slicing this up at work my Philadelphia raised co-worker gave a wonderful story about after church sweets and buttercake always being the treasured delight.

  178. joy

    yes, i too am a st. louisan and faithful gooey butter cake eater. thanks so much for this recipe! i’ve often tried to describe this baking phenomena to nyc friends who just don’t get it. now i can make it for them!

    @em, gooey butter cake is available in straub’s and schnucks bakeries throughout the st. louis; not just limited to mom’s or grandma’s kitchen, thank goodness!

  179. This dessert has me drooling over my computer. I’m having my girlies over this Friday and this, along with your cocoa brownies, are on the list – they’re going to love me:) Thanks for another brill recipe x

  180. Emma

    Deb– This cake has moved me to comment on your website (something I’ve never done, and I’ve been on the internet since elementary school). And I’d like to say thanks for getting me through my first year of law school! The lack of social life combined with the studying has increased my appetite, and your recipes get me every time! I wander to other blogs, and I always wonder why I bother. Your pictures are so pretty, your writing is funny..and the butter doesn’t hurt. You must keep going, at least for another 2 years until I graduate.

  181. Oh, this brings back so many memories!!! I grew up on this dessert. My little sister and I referred to it as “Ooey Booey” cake –still do :), and still request it for our birthdays or special occasions, when home. It was my mother’s secret weapon for dinner parties. It is, to die for.

  182. You know, I never have had it and every time I asked someone what makes gooey butter cake a “gooey butter cake” anyone I ask just kinda shrugs and goes “I dunno. Its good though” One of those cakes with more of a story behind it than a clear cut “it tastes like…” You are the first person to make it sound good!

  183. As a former St. Louisian who has been transplanted back into the Gateway City, it warmed my heart to see your gooey butter cake post. So yummy. While it’s a staple in kitchens around the city, I love that we also have a local bakery that specializes in gooey butter cake. Not only can I grab the original awesomeness, but I can snag a Key Lime Gooey Butter Cake as well. Oh delicious! Plus, they have a really cute logo. I’m a sucker for those kind of things.

  184. This looks like ideal potluck food. Something ridiculously decadent, but not difficult.

    I spotted snowdrops in Central Park yesterday, so keep your eyes peeled; the signs of spring are starting. (The park entrance on the north corner of 79th and Fifth, by the Met, always has early bulbs.)

  185. I just saw Paula Deen make this on FN the other day and dismissed it’s possibility of being good as she seems to go a bit over the top most times with pounds of butter and sugar, but with your recommendation I believe I just may try it, thanks!

  186. nan

    Last comment I promise…this morning half the cake was gone! It should be renamed St. Louis Disappearing Gooey Butter Cake! I posted about it and linked to your recipe – my readers needed to know about this – it would have been a crime to keep it from them! And now…on to the second half of the cake!

  187. Carolina

    I think we are on the same wavelength. I’ve been hunting around for a recipe that doesn’t use cake mix. I found one similar, but I trust you more, so this is the one I’m trying. you rock!

  188. Kathy in Madison

    I set the dish of cut bars on the break room counter at 10:00, and they’re nearly gone. That says a lot.

    Here’re my impressions:
    – One needs to stick to the proper amount of yeast. I simply dumped in the whole packet, and the cake portion rose too much.
    – I had the same problem as you did, Deb, with the overbaking, and I, too, used a metal pan. Perhaps we need to cut the temp down 25 degrees? Or, bake for 10 or so minutes at 350, then cut it down to finish?
    – I mixed the cake portion by hand (sans kneading), then let it rest for about 10 minutes before I spread it into my buttered pan. Wet fingers helped, too.
    – I’m not sure this portion needs to double in size before the filling goes in (on?), but then, I used too much yeast — what do I know?
    – I beat the filling by hand; having enjoyed Kaldi’s (a St. Louis coffee roaster and cafe) GBC and a couple other versions, I think the filling really would benefit from an electric mixer. The other versions I’ve had feature a lighter, more voluminous filling. Related: butter and eggs really do need to be at room temp.
    – I can’t wait to play around with different flavors.
    – GBC at 5:30 in the morning will wake you up in a hurry.

    So, I need to keep working on this one and trying other versions (premade, not recipes). All in all, I learned some interesting lessons. Thanks for your hard work, Deb… these are delicious!

  189. Sounds delicious, Deb. I loved the pictures of the park in the snow. Central Park is one of the things I miss most about NYC. I never got to see it covered in snow, but it looks amazing. Your son looks so much like his father. I never noticed until today.

  190. Late to the party here, but since you said (#99) that you were enjoying learning that your readers hail from STL, I’m here to tell you that I’m another one. Raised in the South, but attended college in mid-MO. My STL friends would come back from breaks armed with Gooey Butter Cake their mothers had made. I’ve now lived in STL for nearly 10 years and have a soft spot for the stuff (though I’ve never made it myself). Come visit sometime and I’ll introduce you to other STL treats. Toasted ravioli can be great. But STL-style pizza will make you run home to New York in a flash. (STL natives will differ with me on that, but I think the stuff tastes like cardboard covered in melted plastic…) Anyway, thanks for the recipe!

  191. ano

    hi is it necessary to lower the temperature for baking twenty five degrees if you use a glass pan or is 350 degrees the right temperature for glass?
    also do you think this freezes?
    it looks…yum!!!

  192. Meghan

    Deb, thanks for the explanation about corn syrup! I won’t feel so bad for eating it next time. But I still don’t want to buy it just for this recipe. Can I use brown rice syrup?

  193. I love these! In college, a good friend taught me how to make them and now none of my friends can get enough! I use cake mix for the bottom but this variation looks incredible. Can’t wait to try it!

    On my way to NYC in a couple weeks–I hope it stops snowing!!!

  194. Rebecca

    Yay for the St. Louis shout out! Born & raised here, I love love LOVE gooey butter cake. The more goo, the better!
    The family pics are adorable, by the way. Thanks for sharing!

  195. Jbiz

    I’m a New Yorker transplanted to St. Louis 10 years ago. I have been served the cake mix version on several occasions and found it to be WAY too sweet. I’m definitely going to try this recipe and hopefully change my mind about it in general. Thanks for giving STL a little shout-out!!

  196. deb

    Lola — In comment #119 I gave someone suggestions of how to approach this without a stand mixer. In short: yes, it shouldn’t be a problem.

  197. Nicole

    Oooh – there’s a version with almonds in there? Deb, if you track that version down, please please please post that recipe! I’ve only had gooey butter cake once, and I liked it a lot, but I’m a sucker for almonds, particularly in marzipan form, which is what I’m imagining for a GBC/almond hybrid!

  198. Hillary

    I am from St. Louis and LOVE gooey butter cake. I made a version with a cake mix bottom and cream cheese/powdered sugar filling and it was fabulous (but I like sweet things). I will try it the old fashioned way and not cheat with the cake mix. Everyone mentions the gooey butter cookies – does anyone have a good recipe? Thanks for the shout out to St. Louis. This cake really is awesome.

  199. Love those photo’s of the snowy city!! Very refreshing for a girl living through the long days of an Australian summer.
    Can’t wait to try the cake, too, but will heed your advice and get a glass pan.

  200. Love the site… I fondly call myself to friends SmK…

    Great advice on the Karo vs HFCS, since sugar is sugar and so many people get freaked out over the whole controversial issue…moderation is the key!

    I lived in St Louis for a while and there was this whole mystery with residents, no one could tell me a recipe, but the all knew they loved it!

  201. Kathleen

    Hey, you’re up for some Saveur awards, congrats!

    Saveur is my favorite food magazine right now, and I just went on a voted for you in the two categories I recognized.

    My friends and I in California are all spread out and can’t always see each other more than a couple of times a year, but we spend a lot of time sending your posts back and forth via facebook and telling each other to make them. You’ve definitely upped the standards of my little kitchen!

  202. I had no idea there were so many St. Louis bloggers!!! I was born and raised in St. Louis and currently live in St. Louis City (in a great neighborhood known for food!). St. Louis was largely settled by Germans, so that may have something to do with the fact that it is a butter cake.

    Gooey butter cake is definitely something I take for granted, because though I could buy it every time I go to the grocery store, I haven’t had it in years. Though, it is delicious, and rich, and buttery.

    Deb, If you are ever in STL, please try Gooey Louie ( down on Chippewa in South City. It is a few blocks from Ted Drewes – amazing custard. I’ll give you a food tour of the city :)

  203. Did you say gooey? Did you say show stopping? How can I refuse?

    Love the pictures of your little cutie. Those cheeks look so pinchable and kissable. Eat ’em up! I miss my kids being babies.

  204. I LOVE Gooey Butter Cake. And I miss St. Louis!!! I haven’t had gooey butter cake since college. I spent less time on campus than I did at the most amazing coffee shop on earth (Kaldi’s) where they served the most incredible gooey butter cake. And yours looks just like Kaldi’s version – the real deal! I’m going to have to order Kaldi’s coffee online and make gooey butter cake. Thanks!!

  205. Margi in Ky

    So, this little old lady (83) was telling me that she missed gooey butter cake. I had never heard of it but came home and pulled out an old cookbook and it opened to gooey butter cake. Hm, maybe this is a sign? So fast forward a week and here you are with a gooey butter cake. Ok I get this hint, this will be the first thing I bake on friday. Then I’ll go to the home and take her a few slices for putting me on to this. And you of course. Also she is from St. Louis until she came to Ky at 76 to care for an older sister. Gotta Love them.

  206. love this! I have the recipe cut out of the times hanging on my fridge but haven’t made it yet, also cuz i thought it would be too sweet, and was waiting for a serious craving to do it. it catches my eye often as I walk past the fridge, but I think your post may have just pushed me over the edge! congrats on the saveur nomination!
    I recently started blogging too, check out

  207. So, having just moved to STL, this stuff is all over the place. I’ve tried it a couple of times. Overall, my impression is positive, especially of Park Ave’s. But as I’m want to make all things myself, from scratch, this is a must for me.

  208. Denise

    The cake turned out fabulous. I used an 8×8, the gooey part was too thick. But, still good and only one little piece left on day two. Going to eat it now.

  209. I love gooey butter cake so I made this last night, and it was fabulous! Much better than chocolate ANYTHING (and that’s saying a lot, because chocolate is a major weakness of mine).

    Baked mine in a 9×13.5 glass baking dish — and it was perfect after 25 minutes (the exterior crust cracked under the gentle pressure of a fork, but immediately below it was still wonderfully gooey. The cake layer was also completely done). And I have an oven thermometer — so, my guess is that the recipe really does call for a shorter cooking time.

    One last thing, I have to mention: this cake is best served warm! Although the gooeyness tends to set up once the cake comes to room temperature, it re-goos (?) beautifully after 20 – 30 seconds in the microwave. I should know, I had it this way for breakfast. :) Pairs wonderfully with a side of strawberry sauce for dipping fork fulls! Great recipe, thanks as usual!!!

  210. When I saw the title, I thought “Oh no! Another gooey butter cake??” I’ve tried someone’s version of Paula Deen’s pumpkin gooey butter cake it was too sweet, too greasy and too fakey tasting. I may or may have just gagged thinking about it.
    But this….this I think I can try. It sounds much better than the one I had. Layers of warm melty sugary buttery yumminess seems to be just want I need!

  211. Melissa

    Made this last night and it was delicious. But the bottom layer didn’t really rise at all. I don’t work with yeast much, but used a fresh packet. Any ideas about what I did wrong? It was still really good, but a little too dense and crumbly, I thought.

    1. deb

      Melissa — You know, that happened to me too. Mine did eventually rise, but I could see how in an apartment that’s not, say, 80 degrees most of the time, it may not have entirely. Next time I make this, I will use a pinch more yeast and see if that helps.

  212. So funny, I literally just yesterday stumbled on the New York Times’ recipe for this tempting gooey butter cake that I had in my “to bake” files here. NO CLUE why I still haven’t actually baked it. Fabulous post, gorgeous pictures, beautiful family – and now, bring on the sugar ! Thanks for another great post and recipe.

  213. KellyW

    I am from St. Louis and Gooey Butter cake is a family favorite. Actually, I think we had one from Schnucks in my house every other week when I was growing up. I have a friends try it and beg me to send them some in distant cities, as if it can only be created in St. Louis! :)

  214. Margot

    Another STL native but displaced to TX. My brother has brought gooey butter cake twice this month on his trips down here. The one from Missouri Bakery (compared to the Dierbergs one) had a strong almond flavor – maybe extract or maybe paste form, not sure. Very yummy but not as good as now defunct Lake Forest:( Would love it if anyone knew a recipe for chocolate drops – I have successfully addicted my children to them too!

  215. another st. louis native here! then i lived in nyc and now seattle, but i too grew up with a schnucks gooey butter cake at all family reunions and gatherings. awesome to see the recipe here (all fancy), as i’ve never actually tried making it. i am going to be making some other st. louis specialties (and blogging about my exploits), i’ll have to add this to the list. and i love st louis style pizza, but i grew up with imo’s. what can i say?

  216. Hey, that’s almost exactly our “old family recipe” for Chess Squares! I also have a shortcut recipe that uses cake mix and cream cheese and is very similar in a pinch (and also takes only about 10 minutes of prep). In our house the name has been even further corrupted to “Chest Hair Cake” due to a slight misunderstanding by one of our friends. At this point, I almost think I might get beaten up if I showed up to a shindig without them.

  217. Alison

    I’m also from St. Louis and love seeing one of our favorites on your blog! When we visit relatives on the East coast, it is a requirement that we bring gooey butter cake. Of course, real natives know better than to attempt baking this ourselves- gooey butter cakes from Schnucks are the best! Also, the coffee shop here in Lafayette Square has over 60 types of gooey butter cake, my favorite being the turtle variety! Thanks for posting!

  218. Paula

    i want to be one of your friends who get invited over when you make too much of things like this. let me know if you move to texas!

  219. Stephanie

    I grew up near St. Louis. My mom used to makegooey butter cake. Actually, my mom and brother. My special baking with her was beer bread–feel free to come up with that one, too!

    I’ve been wanting to make it with my kids! Will be using wheat-free flours, and will give it a try!

  220. Hmmm, I’m really surprised that you said you liked it. The first time I ever heard about this was this weekend. I had the FoodNetwork on in the background as I was doing whatever arondn the apt. Paula Deen was on with her son and I normally never watch this show (prefer Barefoot Contessa) and they made an ooey gooey butter cake. At the tme it didn’t really sondn too appealing. By the name of it I just thought she made it up! I have to say, it did look pretty easy to make. I may have to give it a shot!

  221. Melody

    I’ve never commented here before but I had to for this cake. I love this. They make it in our college cafeteria and students have been known to sneak it out in their pockets. I’ve never made it with corn syrup though. We generally use cream cheese (maybe it is an Arkansas/Missouri distinction)?

  222. Amy

    Awwww, gooey butter …. ditto all other comments about being from St. Louis and how this reminds me of childhood …. ditto also on your adorable boy …. Just had your baked chicken meatballs for dinner tonight, those things have become a staple in our house, keep up with all your deliciousness!! Happy Seuss Day to you!

  223. Just tasted this and I really love the topping! My yeasted dough didn’t rise very much, though, so the bottom layer is a little on the dense/dry side. I noticed above that Deb said she would use more yeast if she made this again, and I agree. I will definitely be making this again, though!

  224. Gooey butter cake, monkey bread, toasted ravioli, thin crust pizza with provel, muddy buddies, frozen custard…these are all things I had never heard of until I went to school Missouri, but now I’ll always have a soft spot for. Maybe we’ll see toasted ravioli on SK soon?

  225. just tried this and it’s pretty darn good, though i’m not sure about the bottom. i wonder how the gooey butter topping would taste on top of the blondies recipe in Baking Illustrated? hmmm….

  226. I’m so glad you made the Gooey Butter Cake! As a St. Louis native, I’ve brought this recipe with me every place I’ve ever traveled and it always such a hit. A native’s tip: Add some nutmeg and cinnamon to the powdered sugar before you sift it over the top of the cake. Yum!

  227. I don’t think anyone has left this comment yet, so apologies if someone has–but growing up in Texas, we called these Texas Gold Bars! It was only a few years ago that I realized we’d stolen it from Missouri. The box-cake-mix recipe was a Junior League cookbook staple in Houston, and when we were teenagers we made them ALL THE TIME (I think we probably used margarine, too, ewwww!). A few years ago I made a version with “whole” ingredients (no box mix, no margarine) that was fantastic, but the scrap of paper I scribbled instructions on seems to be lost. I need to do it again. When I first saw Melissa Clark’s recipe, it drove me crazy that she used a yeasted base–by my lights, this should be a quick and dirty, mix it up and eat it soon affair, with no wait for rising. But I’m glad it worked out for you!

  228. KristineB

    Ditto what Michelle #339 said. Made this last night and it is delicious. Bottom didn’t rise much, but the corners and ends are so chewy and tasty. Used a glass dish and only baked for 30 minutes.

  229. Abby

    Fabulous! Really brings home what simple ingredients and some time can turn into an absolute masterpiece of flavor. Loved the hint of yeast in the final product, and the chewy-ness of the crumb. I think a cake mix base would be too crumbly and soft. A gooey butter cake should have some tooth to it! I will add that I baked in a greased, glass dish, but it was still done in 33 minutes, with no wobbling or unfirmness in the center.

  230. My grandma in Chicago used to make this – we’d have it for breakfast when I came to visit. I had no idea it was anything other than a casserole-lover’s cake. Thanks for the recipe. It’s divine.

  231. Millie

    I love your website. Love the photos of food and your family.
    I made this cake yesterday. My yeast did not rise but I was
    already vested in wanting to make it. I made it in a glass dish and
    had to wait for it to cool about 2 hours. (That was the hard part.)
    After the first cut I was very surprised that the cake was gooey
    inside. I can’t wait to try and make it again. My family loved this cake.
    Thank you so much.

  232. Ana

    Hello! I’m from Portugal and I would like to ask a huge favor! In Portugal, we measure the ingredients in grams, so it’s a little bit difficult to convert cups and teaspoons to grams, because sometimes the cup is spooned and leveled, others don’t require that or don’t mention it. I’ve tried several recipes, converting each cup carefully and it never comes out exactly the same. So, if possible, I would love to get this recipe, but in grams! Please, can someone help me?

    Thank you!

  233. sadie

    Oh, I’m so happy to see this! I spent a blissful year living in St. Louis and this cake is one of the highlights. My in-laws are dyed-in-the-wool, multi-generational St. Louis city dwellers and I remember eating this cake while listening to memories about when our part of South City was all clay mines and St. Louis had a streetcar. St. Louis has so much history and it’s so close-knit it’s like a giant small town. I hope you have the pleasure of tasting baked mostaccioli, the other St. Louis National Dish, as soon as possible.

  234. I just wanted to tell you when I could not get out of my house during the last snow storm on the eastcoast (thank goodness we are heading into spring!!)– this cake was a TREMENDOUS addition to the house after much shovelling!! WIth teenagers it was gone in a heartbeat!!
    THanks for this great recipe!!

  235. Are. You. Kidding. Me. This stuff is just so good. I baked it in a glass 9×13 for 37 minutes. I used a dough hook but because the amount of dough was so small i had to scrape the bowl a few tim es for the hook to, y’know, HOOK the dough. If you get your hands wet and then aggressively smooooooosh the dough around in the well-greased pan (no sticking whatsoever), it works great. My house is warm, but I still put it in the oven to warm it up a bit and it FINALLY started to rise. An offset spatula is necessary for schmearing the gooey butter topping around. Mine baked for 37 minutes, to a medium golden-brown; at 30 minutes it was still veeeery wiggley. Make this. It’s exponentially better than the one with the cake mix (not too sweet, totally different and interesting). I’ll absolutely add it to the rotation. It’s like a super-vanilla-y Chess pie. But better.

  236. @Ana: I feel your pain, cooking an American recipe is such a chore what with all the converting one has to do. Unfortunately it’s a lot of trial and error, because the quality of the ingredients varies too. I want to make this cake, but I can’t even be sure that the yeast here is quite the same, so I don’t know what to do really. But I want to thank Deb for giving us butter measurements we can at least try to convert, instead of that “stick” stuff that tells us absolutely nothing… :)

  237. Carrie

    This cake was (is?) so tasty that my Mother-In-Law took the recipe home with her. I did grease my glass baking dish – sides and bottom- and it cooked for about 35 minutes. Thanks!

  238. EightPondFarm

    I am a NE transplant to the STL area (not much to counter all the ex-STL folks, though). When the natives first got me to try Gooey Butter Cake, it was just too sweet. Intriguing, but too sweet. This recipe looked just right, so I made it the other day. Mine did not rise very much either, but it made absolutely no difference. This cake is head and shoulders over the store bought ones and not anywhere near as sweet. This cake is, in fact, just ridiculously good. I looked at a retail version in the grocery store yesterday and it was at least 50% chemical ingredients from stabilizers to colorings, etc. Argh. Thank you so much for this recipe!!

    The cake lasted fine on the counter for the couple days it took us to eat it.

    The rigatoni and meatballs are no slouch either!!

  239. Wendy

    My mom grew up in St. Louis so I’ve always been a fan of Gooey Butter cake. The thing about it- no two are ever alike. Use the same ingredients, the same pan, the same cooking time, and one will be more cake than goo and another will be mostly goo. Always delicious though!

  240. Sally

    This was AMAZING – a huge hit with adults and kids- I cooked it for 40 minutes in a glass pyrex 9×13, and wish I’d done 35 minutes or so – SO fantastic. I also used a dough hook… Mine looked exactly like Deb’s photos. MAKE THIS!

  241. I’m so glad you mentioned St. Louis in this post. I’m from STL and for years I thought gooey butter cake was a typical dessert on many Americans tables. After attending an out-of-state school, I realized that gooey butter was a regional treat. Once you have a bite of this cake, you will forever love it. Thanks for posting!

  242. Joey

    Made this today. Yum! I screwed it up entirely, accidentally making the cake base with the flour amount from the topping, which shorted it more than half a cup. Then I put it in the warming oven to rise, and let it get too hot … three hours later, I had a thin, partially baked crust. I put the topping on anyway, and threw it in the oven. Turns out the recipe is very forgiving, because despite my ineptitude, the cake was great.

  243. Loved it! I swapped the dry yeast with the fresh kind (which is much more easy to get hold of in Sweden, which is where I live…), I used 25 grams and that worked out fine. I also added a layer of apple slices beneath the gooey layer, and some cinnamon to the topping. It was absolutly awsome! I love your blog, it gives me lots of inspiration to try out different things. Things I would never find in a Swedish cookbook… Thank you!

  244. Kim

    This recipe is wonderful and worthy, but doesn’t exactly meet the high standard imposed by memory of the Lake Forest Pastry Shop buttercake. My grandparents lived in St. Louis, and that buttercake was a staple of childhood. If anyone out there has direct access to that particular variant recipe, by all means, please share!

  245. They make it in our college cafeteria and students have been known to sneak it out in their pockets. I’ve never made it with corn syrup though.

  246. Ed

    Hi: I’m new to your site, but when I saw this post, I had to comment. I too saw this recipe in the Times and knew I had to make it. It turned out great and lasted several days on the counter wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. I’m now temped to make it again, but I’m trying to drop some LBs. with the coming of Spring. That being said, I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies yesterday! Thanks again for the post, Ed

  247. I’ve an amendment to my prior post (#352): it’s a darn shame (sigh), but you’ve got to eat this whole thing the day it’s made. Mine dried out — wickedly — by the next day, despite being tupperware’d. Did I overbake it? I dunnoe, but it sure didn’t seem so. Does this mean that we’re NOT still cutting off little slivers and eating it over the sink? Ummm…no. We’re still eating it, but we’re fondly remembering it in all of its fresh-from-the-oven fabulosity.

  248. Kim

    I made this last night. Really delicious, but a few thoughts. I baked mine for 35 mins in a glass dish. I wish I had taken it out at 30 mins. I didn’t take it out at 30 mins because it wasn’t wavy yet, just starting to brown and puffed and bubbly. I suspect that if I had taken it out the top layer would have deflated into waves like described. Its a little too brown around the edges and not as gooey as the center. Although I kind of like the chewy brown edges. Also the bottom was browned quite a bit and I found the bottom layer of cake to be a bit dry. Not sure if I did something wrong with the cake dough or if I just overcooked it. I will definitely try it again.

  249. Liz D.

    Deb, I know you can’t possible have time to read the hundreds of comments you get on your blog now that you have a baby boy to take up so much of your time, but I too had to add my comment. I am a St. Louis native and gooey butter cake is one of the best things about that city (food-wise). The real secret is this: use more sugar and more butter than you think could ever be remotely desirable, and you will have the perfect gooey butter cake. Also, I agree completely with the yeast base. Cake mix batters throw off the whole balance of a not-too-sweet base with an amazingly, perfectly, beautiful sweet top. I’m glad you tried it, because it is one of our true regional specialties and has a special place in my heart, for sure.

  250. bel

    This is an amazing recipe. It was the first one I’ve actually tried from your site and everyone loves it. I’ve admired your food since my friend introduced me to the site but never got to test anything for myself. I live in a tropical country so I had to cut the cooking time to 25 minute. I also served it with sliced fresh strawberries. I also followed your warning to use a glass baking dish instead and it turned out really well.

  251. Liz

    I’m dying to make this! I spent 8 weeks studying abroad this summer in Cortona, Italy (amazing) and my roommate was from St. Louis. She informed me about this “ooey gooey butter cake” that was so groundbreaking to her and friends, so I must try this to see for myself :)
    and p.s.- I have spread your blog like wildfire amongst my friends. Now all of our conversations and emails consist of recipe postings, discussion, etc. It’s quite amusing. Good word travels fast :)

  252. It is a good thing that Jacob is a social butterfly. My little nephew, Lucas, born same day, same month, same year as Jacob puts on a big smile whenever he sees family. But strangers make him scream! I rather Lucas be like Jacob in that aspect!

  253. Susan

    I’m intrigued by this cake, but am put off by the problems people have had with the base being too dense or overdone. I’ve compared this base to your Plum Kuchen recipe and it looks similar enough that I think I will adapt it for this gooey butter cake. I will cut back on the sugar by half, at least, and instead of the 9×13, will use an 11×7 or 9×9 pan. My question; is the base supposed to be thin? The base of the Plum Kuchen looks almost as thick as the Gooey Butter Cake, and it’s baked in the smaller pan.

    1. deb

      Susan — Yes, the base is supposed to be quite thin. I too am wondering how the wonderful yeast dough from the Kuchen would work, given the concerns from people. Please let us know how it goes if you try it — I’m thinking a half or quarter of that recipe is what we’d want for a 9×13.

  254. B

    Tried this overt the weekend. turned out awesome. Had the same question about the base as Susan. Mine had barely enough to stretch over the 9×13 pan. Also I think next time would liek to do in a smaller plan. I hope that would work by halving everything

  255. Liz

    This looks much like the Gooey Butter Cake a local, well-loved bakery/ice cream store/chain makes here in Cincinnati (Graeter’s). I haven’t had one in years, and had no idea you could make one at home….this goes on my “must try” list. Love the photos of Central Park, and of the wee one with his parents;-)

  256. AJ

    This did not work well for me. The cake part never rose. Still tasted good though. (Yeast was fine, made bread too, so I have no idea what happened)

  257. lacrema

    SO I made this the other day… I had the cake out on the counter in my fairly warm kitchen for three hours with absolutely no rising. I ended up putting it in a warm oven, but it only rose a tiny little bit. I finished it up though, and it was good… just not great. Maybe instant yeast would’ve worked better for me, too. And I found the finished cake really rich, but a little lacking in flavor for my taste. I could taste the salt and the butter, but it seemed like it could have used a little something else. I dunno.

  258. Molly Killeen

    A friend told me about this blog yesterday, and I’m overwhelmed by the number of people who are intrigued by my take on Gooey Butter Cake. Since I began selling it 3 years ago at the Park Slope Farmer’s Market it has been fun to see customers from St. Louis come out of the woodwork, and to introduce New Yorkers to an unfamiliar treat.
    Some who have attempted the recipe have had problems with the crust. Here are some guidelines that I hope will help: the crust is basically a brioche dough, so it should be approached like bread-making. The dough should be kneaded either by hand or machine until it is smooth, satiny, and completely pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball. At that point it should be as loose and stretchy as can be, and very easy to shape in the pan.
    Secondly, for optimum texture the dough must rise completely. This means that the yeast must be viable, the temperature of the water used to proof the yeast should not be too hot (between 105 and 115 degrees is optimal) and the dough should be in a nice warm place to rise. I have a gas oven, so the pilot light keeps the oven warm enough to allow the dough to rise within 3 hours. You could also mildly pre-heat an electric oven, as Deb suggested. You can let the dough rise in the fridge overnight, but it will probably take another 3 hours the next day to re-warm and finish rising. If the yeast is not properly activated, and the dough does not rise completely, the time required to bake the gooey topping will be too long for the bready crust, and the crust will turn out too flat, too dry, and too brown on the bottom. If you would like the crust to rise more quickly, or have a cold kitchen, feel free to add another pinch of yeast to the dough.
    Someone asked about instant yeast–I prefer instant yeast, and use SAF myself. The advantage is that you do not have to proof it, you can add it directly to the flour. However, as Deb noted, the amount is different.
    For those who would like a gram conversion of the recipe, feel free to email me at

  259. Ruth M

    Gooey butter cake is the Best! As a St Louisan, it’s a must have. The recipe I use starts with a cake mix and cream cheese for the topping and can be adapted in many ways (different flavor cake, adding nuts or chips to the topping,etc.) A local bakery offers 64 different flavors! This recipe sounds intriguing – I wonder how it would compare. Might have to give it a try someday.

  260. Wow, these were amazing. I was a little worried when making the bottom cake layer, as the ingredients just didn’t seem to come together right away and looked like a mess. After a few minutes of mixing, however, it all came together nicely. I took them with me on a backpacking trip the day after I baked them, and they were just the right thing- chewy, sweet, and just a little bit salty.

  261. Ohhhh yeah. Made this today and let me tell ya it is workin’ out just fine around here. I let mine rise for the full three hours on a warmer than warm stove top, baked it for 30 min in a glass dish (8.5 x 11 not 9 x 13) and it came out perfectly. It’s dangerously good. I can tell you right now we will both be going to bed with “cake belly” tonight. :)

  262. Riley

    I’ve been thinking of this cake for months! I also read it in the NYT, bookmarked it and then promptly forgot about it. Then my computer up and died just before Christmas. Tried doing a month by month search at NYT but couldn’t seem to find it.
    Thank you very much for this! Looking forward to trying it……tomorrow.

  263. RBAL

    Argg, Deb I made this twice, both times it did not rise…the first time, I totally messed up with the butter, the second time–no proofing. I’m afraid of yeast and don’t really cook with it, but will try again. IT looks amazing! I’m going to get it right!

  264. nia

    I made this on Sunday, and used SAF. I feel like SAF is a lazy yeast so I let mine proof 6 hours on our porch. It got a little sun, then the temp dropped, and it turned out perfectly. I’m going to try this overnight in the fridge next time. Excellent treat. This was so good warm, I bet it would be phenomenal with a scoop of vanills and some raspberry coulis.

  265. Maura

    This does look absolutely divine. Can I make it without a standing mixer? All I’ve got here is an electric hand mixer.

  266. Sarah

    Deb, you’ll have to add St. Louis to your ‘to visit’ list and hit up Park Avenue Coffee and Bakery, where they specialize in gooey butter – 50+ flavors. No joke. And good coffee too.

    I literally flipped when I saw this on the blog. I talk about it at school in Boston and people just don’t get it, glad to see someone daring enough to make it from scratch without knowing the sugar rush they are in for. When I head home, there’s always one waiting to be eaten as breakfast.

  267. Kris

    Damn you. There goes the wedding diet. My fiancee and I nearly had our first argument over the last piece! I had to promise to make another batch this weekend.

  268. Callie

    I know I say this every time I comment, but I love your website. :)

    AND I love all your recipes (except ones with mushrooms or coconut-personal preference!) and every time I make something from one of your recipes, I always know it will turn out well. My first attempt at this recipe, however, failed miserably! I have never worked with yeast before, and my apartment is about 66 degrees all the time. SO, I’m going to try it again tonight, and hopefully it goes better.

    Thanks for your awesome web-site! I love that it attracts so many readers, who comment and that you read those comments. I think that’s pretty fabulous of you!

    -Callie (from Cincinnati, where we do not have anythink like this to the best of my knowledge!!!!)

  269. Kathy in Madison

    #362 Kim – Memory and current reality are two different things. It sounds as though you may want to give Deb’s recipe a shot yourself before you compare it to the memory of those Forest Park butter cakes. Besides, a previous commenter said it best: every gooey butter cake is different, and every one is going to hit your tastebuds in a different way.

    For those of you having trouble teasing the cake dough into the pan: please do yourself a favor and give your dough a rest. After you’ve kneaded it, try covering it and walking away for at least 10 minutes. It may help the dough to relax, and it will probably help YOU relax, too. (This tip is a common one to assist in working with most bread doughs.) If it’s not a little looser after 10 minutes, wait a little longer and try again. I suspect that a lightly-buttered (not heavily-buttered) pan will help in this endeavor, too.

  270. KMN

    I just made this and through my cake layer didn’t rise, it still came out delicious! Thanks Deb! Btw, Jacob is absolutely adorable!

  271. Erin

    Oh my word. These are AMAZING! I made them last night to take to a work thing today, and (of course) had to have a little sample…and then a little more…and a teeny bit more… I’ll cut them up and plate them and they’ll never know! ;) But they are truly phenomenal. NOT overly sweet at all. Tender. Complex. Wonderful.

    I used a glass pan, rose my dough for 2.5 hours and didn’t have any trouble. It didn’t double, I don’t think, but it rose considerably and was puffy and soft. I didn’t have any trouble spreading the dough into the pan, either. I mean, it took some effort, but nothing that seemed difficult or time consuming.

    These are a MUST TRY, for sure. Just make sure you have lots of people to share them with, or you’ll be eating the whole pan in one sitting.

  272. Rachel

    I made this last night and it was definitely the hit of the party. I’m having an urge to add a hint of lemon to the gooey topping next time; is there heresy? (And if it’s not, any ideas? A squeeze of lemon over the whole thing before baking? Lemon zest mixed into the buttery goo?) I will definitely be making this again. Thanks!

  273. Sandra

    Made this on thursday- what Rave Reviews!!! my coworkers drooled and insisted they could sit down with the whole pan and devour it in one sitting.
    oh- and ps- my bottom did NOT rise (should have known it was only 65 degrees in my house) and it had a puffy sugar cookie like bottom.
    also suggestions came in for lemon, chocolate, and cherry flavors mixed in the frosting part. definitely will keep in my arsenal of yumminess!

  274. Hawkins

    Cool, Molly answered one of my questions already. I made this yesterday, and my yeast wasn’t properly activated. BAH! But the topping was incredible. I’m gonna try it again, I think my water was too hot or something. Before I do, I want to ask, did I do anything wrong by adding a bit of milk to the cake part of the mixture? After adding the last of the flour the dough started looking more like beaded pie crust than bread dough. I panicked (last of my yeast) and tossed in a couple tablespoons more milk. Should I have waited?

  275. Lauri

    This was a hit at my Oscar party. I used about 1-1/4 tsp of SAF Instant yeast, and it rose fine, although I gave it a good 3 hours because we went out to dinner and by the time we came back and got the kids to bed and I started the spaghetti sauce and THEN I could work on part deux, it was a solid three hours. Everyone asked about it and I cut it in pretty small squares so people felt very comfortable coming back for seconds and thirds. I love the idea of apple slices between the layers and will try that next time. Also agree with the lightly buttered pan AND wet hands to spread the dough out in the pan.

  276. Anne

    I was so drawn in by your photo (and the raves from your friends) that I made this cake yesterday. Had no problem with sticking! Forgot the powdered sugar. But no matter. Every word you write about it is true! It is one of the best things I’ve ever put into my mouth! Yum! Thanks for the recipe.

  277. Shawna

    Made these yesterday. I had no problem with it rising or with stretching it to the pan. Worked great for me. The initial brioche dough did separate at the beginning; it looked like the yolk was draining from the creamed mixture…icky sticky. I put it down to a funky sugar/butter ratio and to a freak temperature imbalance, and I persevered…the dough came back together as soon as I added the first bit of flour. Phew!

    I loved how the corn syrup, vanilla, and water magically mixed together into a very thin liquid: magic.

    After baking for 32 mins in a glass pan, after tasting a bit off the top, DH said, “These are the gooey bars my mom used to make!” Victory. I’ve always wanted him to say that I cooked like his mother.

  278. Marcia

    I have made a gooey pumpkin butter cake and it was great but called for no yeast. This recipe should be interesting. Some of my grandmother’s recipes I cherish and still remember how wonderful they smelled and tasted contain yeast. Thanks for a new twist on an old fashioned way of baking!

  279. Debbie

    Well, I tried this one.. wasted some milk and yeast before I remembered that yeast need some sugar to help with activation. So I added 1tbsp of sugar to the milk water and voila! my yeast frothed up quickly.
    Also I could really figure out if it was truly baked or not,so I ended up with an overbake cake, quite brown. Oh well! I’m the only one eating it, and it still pretty darn good.
    I’m thinking about adding some apples between the layers,ike an apple cake next time

  280. Laura F

    So I saw this recipe and got the ingredients the next day (which just means I made cookies the night before and was a little low on butter). I have a picky boyfriend who claims he doesn’t like sweets, but I like experimenting on him to get him to eat something sugary. This worked. He wouldn’t touch at first but then I had to fight him off. Though I’m pretty sure I ate 3/4 of the cake.
    I baked it in a glass dish, smaller but deeper and it came out wonderfully gooey.

  281. Cara

    Loved this cake!!! I brought it over to a dinner party for our neighbors, and they loved it too! Since I never tried the recipe before, I was nervous…but it turned out to be a big hit. Thanks!

  282. When I first read this recipe, I thought it was going to be the cake where you use the cake mix, what a lovely surprise this is! I didn’t know there was a variant that included yeast. How delightful. I look forward to trying this recipe soon.

  283. I HAVE to make this now! Ok, maybe not now since I’m at work, but soon. Very soon. Maybe not even today because it’s St. Patrick’s day and we party hardy at my mom’s house with corned beef and cabbage. Maybe not even tomorrow because Thursdays are hectic…but it is leftover day tomorrow on my meal plan…I bet my family wouln’t mind at all if I made this!

  284. maureen hunkin

    The recipe sounds amazing……………. The trees are tapped and dripping so I am going to try it this weekend using maple syrup instead of corn syrup.
    Maureen, Toronto

  285. Lea

    These were fabulous!

    I substituted 1 1/4 t. SAF instant yeast and mixed it in with the flour.
    I added 2 T. of milk for a total of 5 T. milk to make up for the 2 T. water you used to activate your yeast. Also, I like to mark my bowl/pan with masking tape so I know where the dough should be when it has doubled (of course, remember to take it off before baking).

    I baked mine for 36 min in a glass pan. These were just lovely–will be making them again soon!

  286. Julie

    We grew up making this…only we call it “Ooey Gooey St. Louis”…yum! About the only time we have it now is at Christmas. And the recipe my mom always used called for prepackaged cake mix. I love that this doesn’t call for that!

  287. allana

    hi everyone,

    i made this today and i think it was a success. the top is amazing… definitely tastes like the cake i remember from kaldis and companion during my college days in st louis. our dough didnt rise though, so that might be the problem… but did any of your crusts taste a little too yeasty? its still good, but the base just tastes a little too much like biscuits.

  288. Dumbie

    I messed up royally. I left two sticks of butter out to get to room temperature, then came back a few hours later and proceeded with the recipe—and used the ENTIRE TWO STICKS of butter for the dough. Didn’t even realize what I’d done until the dough was nearly finished rising. Do you think there’s any way to salvage this… or should I just toss the dough and start over? The dough LOOKS okay, but I’m thinking it’ll probably turn into a greasy, overly buttery mess?

    Despite my incompetence, thank you for posting yet another delicious-sounding recipe!

  289. Debbie

    I made this for my family last night and it was the most amazing thing I have ever eaten!!! It’s fantastic – the taste is indescribable. We were all fighting over it and it was gone in a flash. I will be making another one soon. It has become our family top favorite. Thank you so much for the recipe and I love your blog.

  290. Jen B.

    I am officially delurking to THANK YOU for posting this cake! Ever since I saw it, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I’d never heard of St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake, but finally tonight I made it…..and it really is delicious. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time and never commented, even though I have tried and loved many recipes that you’ve posted. But it was the reaction of my kids to this cake that made me finally comment. My 4 year old said, “Mommy, you make the best cakes EVER!” and my 6 year old said she wished “everything in the entire world was made out of this cake”! My 2 year old just made a mess with cake all over his face saying “MMMMMMM!” I’m sure that since you have your adorable Jacob, you can appreciate the joy I feel seeing my children so happy enjoying something I made for them. Such a simple way of showing love, but very satisfying nonetheless…and I thank you for helping me to do that.

  291. This was wonderful – made it for a St. Patrick’s Day party and everyone loved it (my reasoning was that the IRish LOVE their butter!). My husband refers to it as creme brulee cake.

  292. Erica

    I made this last night, and unfortunately half of the company who came over happened to be on a low-carb diet (boo) or had Celiac disease (bummer). Yet it wasn’t a problem, because this cake is so delicious that frankly I preferred it that way– more for the rest of us! It was a little labor intensive, but totally worth it.

  293. Lindsay

    I got up early to make this for a meeting this afternoon and made a couple of errors… thought I’d post them here in the hope that I could stop others from making the same ones! 1) I put it all in an 8×8″ pan instead of a 9×13″, thinking I would make it even gooier that way. MISTAKE! After taking it out of the oven (when it was still what I thought was a bit gooey in the middle, as it was supposed to be), I found out only hours later upon arriving at work that it was as good as RAW in the middle. Aah! So now I have it in the toaster oven at the office, trying to cook that middle up. 2) I made the dough in the bread machine, which I thought was a brilliant innovation, but now with this less than satisfying result, I’m blaming it for my lack of success. (Don’t know if this is the case – I’m just pointing fingers.)

    I’m sure it will still taste good, even if we can only eat the edges this afternoon. Take heed, other cooks!

  294. Michele

    Confirming that dark corn syrup was fine. Cooking time in pyrex 9×13 was also short – I took it out at 35 minutes and I still think I left it in too long (the bottom of the cake was brown). Cake was a bit dry, which I attribute to this I suppose. Kind of reminded me of king cake. Liked the gooey bits though!

  295. Deb, I made this the other night and it was fantastic! My mother used to make it, albeit with the yellow cake box mix. As a purist myself, I was thrilled to see your recipe! Love your site, have been reading for awhile now, but first time commenter. Your recipes and photos inspire me!

  296. Erika

    Made this recipe yesterday and had the same problem with the dough not really rising/slightly overbaked as many others, but it was still super yummy. The chewy bits on the edges of the pan remind me a lot of a Dutch pastry that my grandma makes called Banquet. (Also called Dutch letters) It’s basically a mix of almond paste, sugar and eggs spread into a flaky pastry dough, rolled into a log, and baked. My favorite part was always the place that the almond broke through the pastry and carmellized on the sheet pan! Anyway, next time I might try substituting the 6oz of butter in the topping for 6oz of almond paste—seems to match the ratio of almond to eggs in my Banquet recipe. Another treat that is just as good for breakfast as it is for dessert :) Thanks so much!

  297. Suzanne

    Totally yummy cake! By the way, I used 2 buttered spatulas to spread the dough into the pan, and it worked great.

  298. LeeLee

    Late to the comments here, but I’m floored to see this recipe! This was one of my Girl Scout troop’s recipes we made for our troop functions in the mid-80s. And to have a recipe without a cake mix is fantastic!

  299. Erica

    just made this, my kitchen smells like baked-butter heaven. it’s not quite cool yet but i’m going to try a piece…. . oh damn this is GOOD. it’s just bordering on too sweet, but doesn’t cross the threshold. it may level out when it cools a bit more.

    as per the other comments, i didn’t have any trouble with the rising; i let mine sit for 3 hours in a warm oven (150 degrees and then switched off). i baked mine in a 9×13 glass pan for 35 mins… the bottom of the cake is a tad brown, but i don’t think it was overcooked really… i checked it at 30 mins and got nervous because of the amount of jiggle in the cake, even though it was browning on top. 30 mins prob would have been fine.

    i also used dark corn syrup and it was fine

    great cake! thanks!

  300. Erica

    update from yesterday: once the cake cooled completely the sweetness was tempered a bit. i still can’t imagine making it with a cake mix though, the yeasty cake gives it enough of a tang to balance the sweet gooey top. also, the “waves” became way more pronounced when it cooled. the cakey part is just a TAD dry, next time I will DEFINITELY take it out at 30 mins.

  301. Norma

    A dear friend just pointed me to your site and as fate would have it . . .one of the first recipes I see is GBC!! Now living in California, this recipe makes me long for a visit back home to St Louis. I saw you mention that you served your friends this for after dinner dessert . . .just wanted you to know what all St. Louisans know and that is that we eat Gooey Butter Cake for BREAKFAST!!!! Then leave the leftovers on the counter to snack on after lunch . . .it is usually gone by dinner!!!!

  302. Anna

    Wow, I’m so glad to see this! I’ve heard about Gooey Butter Cake from friends in St. Louis, but every time I searched for it the recipes that came up were cake mix based and I wanted to try the real thing. Thanks for not listening to your head and making it ;).

  303. Mary

    I’m thinking of making this for a work potluck this Thursday, but need to incorporate fruit (it’s a farmer’s market potluck) . . . Do you think I could dice peaches up and add them to the dough or topping?

  304. Chloe P.

    I’m a 49 yr old native St Louisan, and I’ve been eating this delicious simple cake for as long as I remember. We DO eat it for breakfast as coffee cake, but I remember having it for afterschool snacking too. I guess some families might have it as a dessert cake, but we never did.

    Every neighborhood mom & pop bakery, posh yuppie bakery, every grocery store, even large commercial bakeries sell their version of this coffee cake locally. The Riverfront Times weekly includes a “best gooey butter cake” category for voters. My favorite was from the old now shuttered Lake Forest Pastry Shop down the street from my subdivision. There are a few places that will mail order them out over their websites.

    I recently had to go home to STL and brought back 3 of these cakes for my friends in Nevada and they were gone in no time. So I tried baking my own.

    This is a great rendition. I just made this (glass pan) and it’s authentic and not too difficult to make. I wanted to make the real deal and not the yellow cake “cheat” version.

  305. Erin

    Just made this yesterday for an “End of Summer” cookout… and wow. My friend’s Alton Brown brownies were totally ignored in favor of this. :D

  306. carolina

    OH. MY. BUTTERY GOODNESS. I just made this today. WOW. this is delicious. the bottom is doughy, the topping is buttery chewiness and the edge? crunchy yummyness. I used the 9×13 glass dish. it needed about 40 minutes. But I am so glad my parents don’t eat a lot of sweets…

  307. I’d had this post bookmarked for a while, but finally got around to buying a glass dish and making it last night. Yum. Definitely worth it.

    I found that about 40 minutes in my oven was probably a touch too long. Next time I make it, I will also use a smaller spoon to dollop the topping on. I put larger dollops, which seemed to sink into the batter quite a bit, and then I couldn’t spread it fully to the edges. Also, good tip on greasing the pan. I did, and can still see the cake sticking a bit.

  308. Maggie

    Deb, thank you for posting. I’ve been scouring the interwebs this morning for an authentic gooey butter recipe, the box cake/cream version just does. not. cut. it. I’ve tried! This is my absolute favorite dessert from home (there’s an Italian bakery on The Hill in St. Louis with knock-your-socks-off gooey) and I have a sugar-addicted husband who has never had it. Blasphemy! That’s the real excuse, not that I just want to stuff gooey butter cake in my face. I swear … ;)
    Rambling, sorry. I love your blog and when I saw that you posted the real deal I felt like a dummy for not checking here first. Of course you’ve made it.

  309. Liz

    I’m from St. Louis and just came across your website in the past week. I just started making the gooey butter cake cause my hubby has been asking me to make one for a few months. This is the only recipe I’ve seen that didn’t involve cake mix which kinda made my day. Thanks!

  310. Jen

    I know I’m coming into this very late but hopefully you’ll still read it :) I’m going to make this today but only have salted butter… what do you suggest?

    Thanks so much!!!

  311. Pattyk

    Hi Deb,
    I was wondering what the weight of the flour would be for this recipe? Based on your more recent posts, it looks like you use 125 grams per cup. Does that sound about right? Thanks for the reply, I’m going to try this out on my family this week.

  312. THANK YOU! I was born and raised in (and still do live in) St. Louis and have grown up having gooey butter cake at all sorts of occasions… but not one of those (and not one recipe I have found) was ever made without using a boxed cake mix. Stumbling upon this was such a great surprise and it’s so refreshing not to see any boxed cake-mix ingredients! Thanks!

  313. Amy

    Another St. Louis native here . . . it’s interesting to read several comments here about it being similar to a german butter cake recipe since, according to local legend, this cake originated in a south St. Louis german bakery. Also thought it was unusual that you and several others served this as a dessert. Not to imply that gooey butter cake comes with rules, but in St. Louis, this is typically served as a breakfast/brunch item. I’ve never seen it served as an after dinner dessert.

  314. Carol

    It was cold, windy and rainy down here in Newnan, Georgia this past Sunday, so after church I yielded to the temptation of making the “real” gooey cake. I’ve made the cake mix version countless times, (too sweet & artificial tasting to me). I really wanted to know what the original cake tasted like. The recipe has intrigued me for quite some time – well, really, I’ve been drooling over the pictures for countless weeks now. If I was going to get over this fixation, I had to make the gooey cake. I followed the recipe to the letter and baked mine for about 40 minutes. I will shorten my baking time to 35 minutes next time. Oh, yes, there will be a next time. Shortly, after I placed my cake in the oven to bake, this sweet, delicate aroma drifted up the stairs, down the hallway and into the family room where I had parked myself while the cake baked. Iquickly made my way back down stairs, totally entrenched in the tantilizing, sweet smell of yeast and butter and waited for the buzzer to go off. I am not a patient person so waiting for the dough to rise, the cake to bake and then cool off were the most difficult of the task. I started sampling less than 10 minutes after the cake came out of the oven – who needed powdered sugar – it could wait! They are simply amazing with no comparison to the cake mix version. I decided since breakfast came before lunch and dinner it would be the perfect time for enjoying these treats. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!!

  315. cathy

    I just made this and it baked in a ceramic dish for 35 minutes. The center topping wasn’t as brown as I thought it should be so I put the broiler on for about 2 minutes and it’s now a beautiful golden brown. So anxious to dig in!!

  316. Jeanette

    I baked it in a metal pan for 45 minutes. too long, didn’t turn out gooey at all. Also, my cake batter never rose at all. It tasted great but was not the gooey butter cake I was hoping for. From reading other comments it sounds like I should try again with a glass dish and much less time. From talking with my family it seems like butter cakes are a bit sensitive to subtle changes in the cooking technique. Try, try again.

  317. Jo

    Oh my goodness. I just baked this cake for a dinner party and it was a complete success. Total baking time in a ceramic dish coupled with my too-hot oven was thirty minutes. The cake didn’t really rise until I helped it along with my space heater…hey, whatever works!

    Anyway, this was the loveliest, gooey-est marvel. We cut it and the goo just oozed everywhere! And the top caramelized just like creme brulee! Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe, it’s definitely going into my repertoire!

  318. Chloe

    I can’t believe I didn’t comment on this last year when I first made it! Absolutely THE yummiest cake EVER. The topping is unbelievably good, and, even though the cake didn’t rise very much, it was still delicious.

    1. deb

      Rapid rise, in the same quantity, does not increase rising time. It’s confusing, I know! You can increase the amount of yeast. If I ever get this recipe retested, I will likely do the same.

  319. doni

    I’ve been looking for an authentic recipe for this, ever since seeing a Food Feuds episode with Gooey Butter Cake. I’ll be making it this very soon. Any suggestions for what liqueur would pair best with this cake, for a Fox in Socks game?

  320. carri

    just made this today and it turned out great. thanks for the excellent, thorough instructions and photos. mine wasn’t rising, so i put it in a warm oven – told it to heat to 225, then turned it off after 30 seconds; did this once per hour during the rising and it created just the right rising temp. like yours, my yeast foamed very little. i let it rise 3 full hours and it rounded out nicely by the 2:30 mark. i added some lemon zest to the top of the dough before it rose, which adds a bit of tartness.

    i pammed my glass 9×13, and put in a slip of parchment just to be sure it wouldn’t stick (that’s spray, parchment, then a little more spray on top of the parchment). worked like a charm.

    i’m serving this at brunch tomorrow, so i hope i can figure out how to store it properly overnight to preserve these extraordinary textures.

  321. carri

    also, since folks struggle to describe the taste, i find that these taste a lot like my neighborhood kolache shop’s cream cheese kolache, but butterier :-) so delicious!

  322. Maren

    I made this last night and it is so fantastic. I ended up substituting sweetened condensed milk for the corn syrup since I can’t find it in Sweden, and it totally worked. I cut back by about 2 tablespoons on the white sugar in the topping since I think condensed milk is so sweet, and I ended up using about 2 teaspoons of yeast in the bread bottom since people seemed to have trouble with the rise. Baked for about 37 minutes, until the top was just brown.
    Make this! It is incredible! Deb, you are a badass.

  323. Caz

    I made this cake last night after revisiting it in my bookmarks for the 1,000th time. So glad I did!

    I ended up using a 10′ round springform pan (it was deep) because my 9×13 was in the oven with a roast. It ended up working perfectly with a 40min cooking time and was oozy and delicious. Oh, I also used golden Syrup since corn syrup is very hard to find here in Australia.

  324. Katie

    This looks delicious, but I do believe this is a recipe for Philadelphia butter cake, not St. Louis butter cake (in case anyone was curious). While the philly style cake is made from a yeast base and a butter-based topping, the St. Louis variety is made with yellow cake base and a cream cheese-based toping. Fortunately, the Philly one is better anyway. Can’t wait to make this.

  325. Meredith

    Hi! I realize this recipe was posted a while back, but I’ve only just made it. First of all, let me say, yum. Seriously wow. Secondly, I was wondering if you think lining the pan with parchment (long enough to hang over the edges) would work. I was hoping this might make for cleaner edges and cuts because you could just life the whole thing out once cooled. Thoughts?

    Fabulous pictures, btw!

  326. Eliina

    I made this cake in an attempt to entice my 11 days past due baby to join us in the outside world. (Earlier attempts included making those fudge popsicles you posted recently). No sign of baby yet, but mama is feeling happier. Also, I used quick-rise yeast because it was all I had on hand, and it turned out fine. There was just enough yeast left to make a loaf of no-knead bread, and since we’re having a cool spell here in Chicago, I’m firing up the oven.

  327. Kathy in St. Louis

    Katie, there are as many different formulations of St Louis-style gooey butter cake as there are bakers. When I moved here and began researching recipes, I found that most of them included both yellow cake mix and cream cheese. Since I would have no other use for it, the cake mix alone kept me from attempting to replicate it at home – until Deb’s version appeared.

  328. Shirley

    Just discovered this site a few days ago and I am just crazy about it. A woman who makes her own marshmallows – a girl after my own heart. My friends thought I was crazy when I started making them but I see I’m not alone.

    My family used to vacation in Seaside Park, New Jersey and the Park Bakery had this awesome butter cake. Returning there a few years ago, the bakery had changed hands and, lo and behold, no more butter cakes. (I think it was a German bakery.)

    Thanks to you I can now make it myself (if I can get over my “fear of yeast.”)

  329. KatiK

    I’ve lived in St. Louis all my life and I have never ever heard of a gooey butter cake made this way, and honestly it doesn’t sound anywhere near as good. I cannot for the life of me imagine that using shortening would be very tasty or using a yeast cake for that matter. While I’ve seen recipes that call for a made-from-scratch cake bottom, nothing beats just using an inexpensive yellow cake (or chocolate or strawberry or whatever flavor) mix for the cake and the “gooey” deserves the finest butter and cream cheese for that rich, almost-too-sweet taste whether you flavor it or leave it au natural.

  330. Amy

    Usually I have such good results with SK recipes. My cake hasn’t risen! It’s been 2 hours and nothing has happened. I have an event to go to in a few hours I think I’m going to resort to making a box cake.

  331. angela

    Well, the recipe does say it may take three hours to rise. I’ve made this twice, and it takes about 3.5 hours to rise both times (our kitchen is quite cool) but it’s definitely worth the wait. It’s so buttery, and not too sweet, and addictive. I hate being the annoying pregnant lady, but this cake makes me want to pull out the “eating for two!” excuse I’ve tried to so hard to avoid.

  332. angela

    @ KatiK – There’s no shortening anywhere in the recipe. (I agree that that sounds gross, but this recipe uses lots and lots of butter). For my taste, M. Clark’s recipe is much better than a box mix, but that could just be personal preference.

  333. Brandy

    Woo! I’m from St. Louis and actually dislike this gooey butter cake (I can’t really have any desserts – I can’t really eat sweets at all due to my tummy) but my family serves it at their restaurant (in St. Louis). I saw the NYTimes article and was excited someone outside from St. Louis noticed this! I may make it for my co-workers (I now live in London) and perhaps they will enjoy it.

  334. Sarah McWeschler

    Oh man, this cake is outrageous! I made Clark’s version from In The Kitchen With a Good Appetite and it blew me out of the water! The only differences are 2 teaspoons of cinnamon mixed into the crust, swap honey for the corn syrup, and add a tablespoon of lemon zest to the topping. Amaaaaaazing! Now I just need another excuse to make it :)

  335. Amy

    I made this cake and it turned out delicious! It didn’t seem to rise much as others have commented on, but it didn’t seem to matter overall. One problem I had is that the topping pulled away from the sides a bit leaving some cake exposed. However, this didn’t seem to matter either, it was still delicious, just not perfectly pretty. Any thoughts? It was a big hit, thanks!

  336. Andrea

    I just made this today and it’s perfect! Soft and incredibly gooey. I ate 3 slices before my hungry brother found me munching on them alone in the kitchen, and you can guess what happened next, haha! I actually made a mistake in the cake base, though. I put about 20 grams more butter than I should’ve, but it probably didn’t make a lot of difference, especially not for a butter addict like me, who puts huge dollops on every bite of bread.

    Anyway, I am compelled to tell you that I’ve made so many recipes from this blog and none of them have failed me. Thank you so much!

  337. Katie

    I made these in a glass baking dish, and after fiddling with the temp on the stove (according to the little doodad my mother-in-law got us, our oven is 75-100 degrees off) it came out perfectly at 30 minutes. The base reminds me of Entenmann’s coffee cake, which makes it perfect for pretty much anytime of day.
    My husband (whose father was stationed in St. Louis for a couple years) says that it is exactly like his aunt used to make him when they lived there. He even scraped the pan after I lifted the pieces out and did a little dance he was so happy.
    This is definitely a winner!

    (and I greased the bottom and sides of the dish so nothing stuck, a step worth taking with this)

  338. Erica in St louis

    Another St Louisan here, but unlike the ones above, I will tell you that this recipe is fabulous. It’s almost laughable to think that so many people make it the lazy way – boxed cake mix & cream cheese, and wind up thinking it’s somehow more delicious than this. Dudes, NOTHING MADE WITH BOXED CAKE MIX IS DELICIOUS, EVER. Do y’all think the bakeries here are using duncan hines cake mix and cream cheese to make their gooey’s? No, they make them from scratch. Thanks Deb, for hooking us up with a recipe for a high quality, delicious dessert.

  339. Morgan

    Made this yesterday, and it was super! My guests and I really didn’t wait for it to set at all, so it was goooooeeeyyyy (totally done though, the top was a wonderful brown color & the cake base was deliciously cake-y.) It had a crust like you would not believe. I don’t like my desserts too sweet, and this was exactly how you said, sweet but not as ridiculous as one would imagine! Thanks for this adaptation!

  340. Sandy

    Is this cake best served warm, or is it still just as good at room temperature? I’m planning on making it for a dinner party and am trying to figure out if I should make it earlier in the day (or the day before) or closer to dinnertime.

  341. Mary in St. Louis

    Actually, Erica, Kaldi’s uses a cake mix for their base…. BUT I agree, the best gooey butter cakes have a not-so-sweet base.

  342. Dima

    Making it right now as a celebration of being done with school! After being away from STL for a couple of years, I am excited to bring a piece St. Louis down to Chattanooga, TN! Thanks for the recipe!

  343. John

    I made this cake the other day, after carefully translating the recipe to Swedish. Had to substitute the corn syrup for golden, and the vanilla extract for ground vanilla powder. And I made the dough in a regular mixer, with a knife. That was a speedy process and the bottom turned out great! A nice, firm dough that didn’t stick and was easy to push out into the baking dish. After that I made the topping, also in the mixer with the knife. This did NOT turn out as great, it acctually became very runny, and I could pour it on to the bottom. Never mind, I thought, and popped it into the oven. The cake looked great, but something of a mystery occured when I cut it. It seemed that the topping somehow hade made its way down beneath the bottom, and all the gooey stuff was acctually underneath the cake. Tasted great though.. =) I’m making it againg tomorrow, but this time I think I’ll make the topping with my electric hand mixer instead, hoping to avoid the too-loose-topping problem. If anyone has got some other idea as to what may have gone wrong, please do tell! I have re-translated the recipe today just to make sure I didn’t get anything wrong. Everything seems fine, except maybe I used a tad to much flour. I hardly think this could have caused it, though.. But what do I know, I only took up baking as a hobby two weeks ago. =)

  344. MaryL

    OMG, I just ran across this recipe and have got to make it. I had Gooey Butter Bread while visiting our Grandmother in Kirkland MO, there was a bakery there that had the BEST. I have not had it in years, I mean years 20+. Would love some now with some coffee and just the fond memories.

  345. Liz

    I was really excited to try this (I named my ultimate frisbee team “Butter,” I love it so much), but I was also scared it would be too sweet. So I reduced the sugar by a third, used part whole wheat flour, and experimented with three different flavors between the layers: dark chocolate chunks, peach slices, and rhubarb. All came out great – especially the peach, but I think it was just an exceptional peach. Anyway, I wanted to share that there didn’t seem to be any problem with sticking yummy things in between the layers, if others were thinking about trying that, and that reducing the sugar by a lot leaves it still plenty sweet and gooey. Thanks for the new fun cake!

    1. Amy

      Thank you Liz! I have a dinner party this weekend and was torn between baking what I want (which is ALWAYS something I haven’t tried yet from SK) and using up things in freezer- Serendipity.

  346. Elaine

    How long do you suppose this would last in the fridge or at room temperature? I want to take this to youth group tomorrow night but don’t know if it would be a good idea to make it today.
    Thanks! :]

  347. I made this cake tonight and it was delicious. The bottom layer didn’t rise as much as I thought it would, but it still turned out. I’m in Australia, where I have yet to see corn syrup at the store, but I used glucose syrup and it worked just fine. Gooey, delicious texture (especially the edges – oh my!). The buttery taste is the star, but I think it would pair really well with some in-season fruit or a fruit sauce.

  348. Tess

    I made a vegan version of these yesterday & they’re fantastic! (To be fair, I’ve never had St.Louis Gooey Butter Cake before, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I am an assistant pastry chef if that helps my credibility!) Here’s what I did for the cake..
    Milk: substituted almond milk (or any nondairy milk)

    6T Butter: creamed 4T nonhygrogenated vegan margarine (like Earth Balance buttery sticks) then streamed in 2T walnut oil. I was concerned that the marg wouldn’t have the flavor complexity of butter- & walnut oil is delicious
    Egg: used 1 egg’s worth of flax goo (ground flaxseeds mixed with water to make a goop)

    And for the topping…
    12T Butter: creamed 9T margarine, then added 3T walnut oil once it was fluffy
    Egg: more flax goo!
    3T Corn syrup: used 2T corn syrup and 1T amber agave syrup, again to add richness since I wan’t using butter
    1 1/2c sugar: used 1 1/4c sugar and 1/4c brown sugar for the same reason as above

    It all came together wonderfully, and I can say with professional authority that St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake is the most dangerous & ugliest pastry I have ever made. Like a cake made of donuts!

  349. Mrs Alban

    I made this AMAZING DECADENT dessert for christmas eve and it was the hit of the party. Initially our guests looked at it and said “thats awfully light for a lemon bar” I explained that it wasn’t a lemon bar, it was Gooey Butter Cake. Now being from Los Angeles where EVERYONE is watching their weight the name didn’t go over very well…that was until they humored me with a taste. Wouldn’t you know our guest devoured this amazing St. Louis treat. Thank you Smitten Kitchen and my St. Louis friend Aakash for introducing this to a So Cal Gal!!!

  350. Marsha

    I’m really late to the party, but thought you’d like to know that your recipe for the St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake is almost identical to one that was printed in the St. Louis Post Dispatch in January, 2012, which was the original Lake Forest Bakery (sadly, no longer in business) recipe. The only differences were: in the topping, theirs had 1/4 cup whole milk and cake flour instead of all purpose. I lived in the St. Louis region and then in St. Louis, itself, for almost 35 years, so I’ve eaten my fair share of these scrumptious delights. I think I’ll buy some yeast tomorrow and make one.

  351. Marsha

    Addendum: I just re-read the Lake Forest recipe and noticed they baked theirs in 8×8 square pans (which was how they always were sold in the bakery, and baked them 20 – 25 minutes.

  352. Marsha

    They divided the dough between two pans, instead of a 9 x 13. So no, they weren’t thicker – just smaller. Sorry I wasn’t more specific. Hmmm…I just did the math – they would actually be just a tad bit thinner than a single one baked in a 9 x 13 pan.

  353. April

    I’ve been meaning to make this for ages and just finally did – AMAZING! I’ve never had St. Louis gooey butter cake before and am happy that it seems to have turned out just right per your instructions. I baked it for 40 minutes in a glass dish, the cake base rose perfectly and the sugar spun topping tastes like creme brûlée meets toasted marshmallow with a hint of caramel. Thanks for the great recipe and wonderful instructions! I will for sure be checking your blog often for more inspiration!

  354. Susan

    Yikes! Somehow my dough looked nothing like the one in the pictures. There was so little that I didn’t have enough to spread into a 9×13 glass pan to a 2″ thickness. It was more like a inch if that. I’m new to using active yeast, though I’m not new to baking and cooking. Until now I’ve never had to use active yeast.

    Deb – Are you supposed to let the yeast mixture sit for a while before adding it to the butter, salt, sugar mixture? I wonder if that’s where I went wrong. I added the yeast mixture immediately after I dissolved the yeast in the water and milk mixture to the butter mixture which I had made beforehand. I also didn’t notice any bubbling when the yeast was added to the milk and water. The active yeast package was new (with a due date of Nov. 2014). Because of the size of the final mixture, I proofed the yeast to make sure it was active. It seemed it was still active, though it took a while to double per the proofing instructions.

    Your thoughts? Anyone? I would love to make this cake which I’ve had in Park Slope and can attest is amazing. Thanks.

  355. deb

    Hi Susan — I, too, had a small amount of dough and it spread thinly. (I nudged and stretched it, like I suggest in the recipe.) You can see my photo of the dough in the pan above, right after the one of the dough hook. As for the yeast, you’re just looking for it to foam slightly. Once it has, you’re good to go. This can happen quickly or take a couple minutes. But if your yeast was good, as it sounds like it was, it wasn’t the issue, just that I may not have warned clearly enough that this is a thin, thin yeasted base.

  356. Susan

    Thanks, Deb. I actually ended up making a little more of the yeast mixture and adding it to the dough which helped. My other issue was unlike your dough (pre-more yeast), mine wasn’t gooey and soft, but firmer and not very sticky. In the end it still turned out tasty, though more yeasty in flavor than the original.

    You’re right now that I look again at the pictures, your initial dough was small like mine. I think I confused the picture of the dough after it had doubled as being the pre-rise dough you spread into the pan. The 2” thickness only added to my confusion since my dough was about 1” if that (prior to my adding more yeast mixture), but still below the 2″. The next time I make this, I’ll definitely give the yeast mixture a few more minutes to react rather than a few seconds before combining with the butter mixture and flour.

    Thanks again for your input and for making this. I saw the original article by Melissa Clark in the NYT but was hesitant about making it until I came across your website.

  357. Made this today, still lost for words. Crispy on top, gooey in the middle – such a splendid caramel flavour. YUM. Thank you Deb! <3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3

  358. I just made this and it came out wonderfully, though I had a bit of a hiccup with the rising. I think my mistake was not to wait for the butter and egg to reach room temperature. They probably cooled off the yeast mixture when I started adding everything together so the rising took a VERY long time. I ended up leaving the batter in the oven with another pan of very hot water overnight (!) to get it to double. But it all came together in the end and is quite delicious!

  359. michelle

    i have attempted this recipe 3x this wkend and have failed miserably. The first time the dough did not rise at all, so i thought it was the yeast and bought a new jar. the second time it still did not rise so it too was thrown away. the third time, i proofed the yeast prior to adding it to the dough by adding about 1/4 tsp sugar. it still did not rise. i checked the temp of the water/milk and it was warm as directed. my kitchen is about 73 degrees, so it was not due to a cold environment. i feel like i have wasted my entire Easter weekend.

  360. Khalilah

    @michelle – i agree. I will not be making this again. It looked amazing and frankly mine did as well. The taste on the other hand, was not.

  361. My coworker was talking about the St. Louis butter cake yesterday. He said he got the box mix to make it at home. I scoffed at that remembering that you said the yeasted base makes all the difference.

    Anyway, I came home and decided to make it. I feel like I did everything possible to mess it up (the milk wasn’t quite to room temperature when i added the yeast, left it in a pilot-lit oven to rise overnight, used raw sugar instead of regular), and it still came out amazing. I baked it in the morning, brought it to work. An hour later, it’s all gone.

    The coworker guy said he’ll never make it from a box again. THANK YOU, DEB!

  362. phoenix

    I am from Saint Louis and here is the ORIGINAL RECIPE FROM SAINT LOUIS: The Route 66 Cookbook: Comfort Food from the Mother Road

  363. Jill

    I made this cake for the first time and paired it with your mango curd and freshly cut mango. It was unbelievably amazing. The curd was an amazing counterpoint to the sweetness of the cake.

  364. Lily

    First time baking with yeast. On-and-off-commenter. So many mistakes I made. This was a terribly panicky bake. And yet, this is the best everyday cake I have made so far. Scrumptious!

    Milk-water-yeast mixture-clumping:

    I wasn’t sure if the room temperature milk and warm water were both supposed to be in a range of 100-110 F. SK has never failed me, so I followed the directions (as I interpreted them). I mixed 3 Tbs room temperature milk with 2 Tbs warm water (108 F). Unfortunately, when I dissolved the yeast into the milk mixture, it clumped. I googled it up to see if it was salvageable.

    Yes it was! Solution: Keep whisking until yeast is completely dissolved. Or, dissolve yeast in warm water, and then add milk. [] Also, my yeast did bubble, but barely. And I wasn’t sure if it was from all that whisking I did. Anyhow, it worked and the dough did rise in 2.5 hours. Maybe earlier, but I didn’t check until 2.5 hours. (I waited the full 3 hours just in case. Yay!

    Then, my next screw-up:

    During the process of making the topping, I thought I would save myself a bowl by combining butter, sugar, salt, and then, adding the corn syrup, water, and vanilla with the flour. See how I skipped the egg in-between? Yes, I did forget to add in the egg. But, I remembered just after I put the cake into the oven. It had already started to warm up. It was barely a minute! I then quickly scraped the topping off, and remixed with topping with the egg.

    My final one:

    I took it out of the oven at 30 minutes. It looked ugly and puffed up. I turned off the oven. I hesitated when it didn’t immediately “deflate” and placed the cake back in the oven (without re-heating the oven) so it would mildly bake a bit longer. I took it out five minutes later only to realize that, yes, that was how it was supposed to look out of the oven. So, I slightly over-baked my cake.

    Final verdict:

    Despite the terribly finicky bake I had (and it was entirely my fault for baking in the middle of the night), it tasted exactly as Deb describes: spun sugar, cotton candy, caramelized sugar of creme brulee. The overdone edges were pretty tasty. No, I did not mind them at all. It’s absolutely the best everyday cake I ever had.

    Thank you for the recipe.

  365. Alice

    Deb, do you think I could turn this into a PUMPKIN gooey butter cake by simply adding a 15oz can of pumpkin to the topping? The only pumpkin recipes I can find out there use the cream cheese version of the topping.

    1. deb

      Alice — I’m not sure. A lot of the goo comes from a butter-sugar thing; pumpkin is fibrous and rather thick and creamy. However, I imagine it could be delicious in the base, perhaps a cup whisked in with the egg.

  366. Jennifer

    St. Louisan here, real St. Louis gooey butter cake would NEVER have corn syrup in it. The topping should be eggs, cram cheese and powdered sugar, some people add other flavors seasonally, like pumpkin to the topping. My sister, a Baker, adds lots of seasonal flavoring to her gooey butter cake. Corn syrup in gooey butter cake is an abomination AND makes a simple recipe much more complicated than it needs to be.

  367. Rachel

    The only disadvantage to owning your cookbook is that I can’t comment on the recipes! I made the gooey cinnamon squares for a party this week – adapted them gluten free! Just winged it and hoped it would turn out. The gooey layer puffs up a little wonky, but otherwise? People went crazy over them. I have so many new friends now!

  368. Terri

    Hello. Another St. Louisan here and I have to agree with Jennifer, especially about the corn syrup. Don’t make a gooey butter cake more complicated than it needs to be.

    The pumpkin gooey butter cake is THE most requested desert I make, and when I’m in a hurry or feeling lazy (funny how often those 2 seem to go together?) I mix a can of pumpkin (organic makes it seems somehow virtuous enough to balance out the fact that I’m mixing all this pre-packaged stuff), dash of vanilla, a block of full fat, softened cream cheese and most of a box of powdered sugar. Toss it all in your handy dandy mixer, think happy holiday thoughts and whip it all together. Pour it over the top of the cake and voila! Happy Holiday Campers.

    For post-oven presentation, I dust it lightly with cinnamon and call it a day.

    BTW, all toppings are easily adapted…dark chocolate is my favorite.
    Thanks again for your great blog. I came on here looking for an inspired chicken salad recipe and got caught up in the “C” section of recipes, at which point I found this recipe. Love it!

  369. Moya

    I followed this recipe EXACTLY as it said and I’m extremely annoyed my cake was neither ooey or fricken gooey. Total waste ofy time and ingredients.

  370. Julie

    I know that other people have posted similar results, but I just want to confirm that I’ve made these with corn syrup three times and honey once, and aside from a very slight honey flavor in one case (probably unnoticeable if you’re not looking for it), it worked just the same. So I would conclude that chemically, honey works the same! Delicious. I LOVE this recipe.

  371. Made this for my wife’s birthday and it didn’t come out right. User error on our end, I presume. While it WAS tasty, we had to trim off all the sides and just serve the slightly … fudgier … center. The texture reminded me of dense blondies, with a sort of softer middle. The taste was great, though — I can’t stop nibbling. But we’re torn if this will be a repeat attempt.

  372. Cheryl

    I just made this from Sweet Caroline’s website …with the cinnamon sugar topping. OMG is it tasty!!! Tastes just like a snckerdoodle cookie but much better!

  373. Marsha

    Don’t know if you’ve ever made this again, but one of the recipes I have for this wonderful creation, says to press the dough slightly up the sides of the pan to form a lip. Then, when putting the topping on, spread it almost to the sides. No burnt topping on the pan.

  374. I have just read your St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake posting. My memories started bursting from the depths of my childhood. Your cake, though maybe 5 minutes too long in the oven, looked exactly like the cake my mother made me go to the local bakery to get every Saturday morning. The edges MUST be darker then the middle of the cake, and crunchy. The very best part. Thank you, can’t wait to try yours. So tired of the cake mix fakes that one is forced to eat now.

  375. Jenn

    So glad I found this recipe on Yummly!! I’m making today for my Thanksgiving dinner, topping with vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce. YUMMY!

  376. Maro

    wow, i can’t believe how much the topping rose and overflowed the crust! i pushed the crust up the side of the pan a bit, as suggested by a commenter, and the filling still just shot right past it. smells and looks amazing, though, so i don’t much care :)

  377. Brandy

    Hi – native Saint Louisan here, though a bit late to the party ;) Since moving to the UK I have wanted to make this traditional sweet dish for a long time and now it is waiting to rise. The cake should not be gooey as in runny, just kind of a bit gooey in your mouth when you bite into it. Personally, I hate this cake because I cannot handle sweets and I find it overly sweet. (There is a reason it is often served with a large glass of cold cold milk).

    My aunt’s restaurant, Eleven Eleven Mississippi serves it on the dessert menu, and my entire family makes it for family celebrations. I do not believe anyone makes it with cake mix – that would not give the proper texture!

    Anyway, anxious to see how it turns out! Thanks for posting, Deb!

  378. Kat

    Hi, I am a Native St. Louisian, who still lives in the St. Louis area, who DID grow up on Gooey Butter Cake. I have read all of these comments and I find it interesting that several native “St. Louisian’s” say the Cake made with Cream Cheese is the original cake, it is Not. This one is the closet to the Original Cake in taste and texture. Thank you for posting.

  379. At Night

    Hi! I’m looking to cut these into squares and wrap them in some wilton cellophane treat bags for give-aways for a party. After reading all 500+ comments, I only saw one talking about how long they keep. I would like to make and wrap these the day before. I know yeast doughs often have a short shelf life but I was wondering if anyone has found a way that they KNOW (not speculates) will keep them good for 24 hours so I can make them the day before- even if I have to do the cutting and wrapping the day of. I’m making a test batch today but I fear I’ll have to find another dessert that tastes like creme brûlée (the guest of honor’s fav dessert) if these can’t be made the day before.

    1. deb

      At Night — I’d cut and wrap them once they’re cool, then put them in the fridge overnight. You can let them get back to room temperature before giving them away. Hope that helps.

  380. Ginny

    Hi. Your description in the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook had me smitten.
    I used foil instead of parchment lining to prevent leaks, and the cake didn’t turn out gooey and the top wasn’t like brittle burned sugar? Did it sound like I just cooked it too long (I did 30 minutes) and it was brown on top? or did the foil screw something up? Thanks!

  381. deb

    Ginny — It might be. What I hear from other commenters is that it’s only a moderately gooey topping, but it shouldn’t be brittle. The “burned sugar” bit is more about the flavor.

  382. Julie

    I’ve made this cake several times and it’s been amazing every time. I’m thinking of experimenting with browning the butter for the cake first; how do you think that would turn out?

  383. Shelly

    So ligit! Thank you for your tips! I am a St. Louis native living in Vail, CO., and I used your recipe as a thank you gift for a fellow St. Louisan here. Having never actually made one, I had my doubts of how it would turn out; but this happens to be the best gooey butter cake I’ve ever had and she loved it too!

  384. Dana

    Hi Deb! I have been looking for a burnt sugar cake recipe. Are you familiar with this kind of cake? I’m wondering if this one of yours would be similar to what I am looking for. Thoughts? Thanks!

  385. Kris

    Hello again! I try to always comment on your recipes when I make them (since I get a lot of good info from other people’s comments!) and lately it seems i’ve been commenting *a lot*! :) This one I’ve had bookmarked since you posted it and it is DELICIOUS. I burned my tongue on it because I just couldn’t wait for it to cool to try it. The burnt marshmallow/crème brûlée comparison is right on. I halved the recipe to make it in an 8×8 glass pan, but after 3h of rising it had certainly not doubled in size – and I realize my mistake was probably halving the quantity of yeast, since this would make the rising process longer – I think? Maybe should have kept the yeast quantity as is? However, I put the cake batter in a slightly warm oven for an hour and then it rose ok, and otherwise, seems to have worked great, and took about 28 min to cook. Even using a glass pan I had the same problem as you though – the edges were too browned. I also would like to thank you for doing your homework on corn syrup and clarifying misconceptions about some sweeteners being “better” or “worse” than some others.

  386. Rachel

    I’ve made the cinnamon version of these from the book (though no yeast?) and my gooey layer has sunk. So I have crust, gooey layer, cakey layer. Still delicious! But I don’t know how it’s happened!

    1. deb

      I don’t usually advise freezing cakes before baking them. Baking powder and soda work on contact, so having batters mixed for a long time before baking cakes is often a recipe for cakes that don’t full rise.

  387. Liz

    I just finished this! The top part is sweet and moist (it better be with that much butter!)…. but the “goo” is all gone. Did I overbake it? I waited till the top was brown like in your picture, but maybe it was too long. At least it tastes good and the yeasted base has a nice crumby texture.

  388. Mimi

    As a family full of St Louisans, I can vouch for this recipe! Everyone loved it, I just only cooked it for 20mins in a glass dish. It was juggly when I took it out of the oven, but set up perfectly. Everyone agrees, better than schnucks and dierbergs!

  389. Emalee

    I just made this, and I was dog tired when I did, so I accidentally added 1.5 cups of sugar to the cake batter and only 1 cup of flour. Let it sit to rise, after 3 hours it hadn’t risen. Realized my sugar flour mistake, scooped it out of the pan, added more flour, let it sit for 1.5 hours to hopefully rise, it didn’t, then I added the gooey topping (looked extremely similar to the cake batter) and I cooked it for just 30 minutes since the directions say it should be liquid in the middle. Let it rest for 15 minutes before I had to cut a piece to try. Its very gooey! I baked it in a glass 9×13 dish, and feel like the bottom is very done though, even though most of the rest is goo. I will probably look up other versions of this cake and compare recipes and try it again (with the appropriately less amount of sugar).

  390. Mel

    Wonderful. Made this several times and every time it came out perfectly. Fyi, I had the pleasure of tasting Molly Killeen’s St. Louis gooey bar at the Park Slope Green Market which was fantastic. I was happy to find Molly’s recipe here.

    1. Pam

      This recipe came out perfect as written. Only change I made was using maple syrup as that’s all I had. And it didn’t impose a maple flavour which was what I was hoping. So success. Oh yes, also, I baked it for 30 min.

  391. My grandparents owned Fresenburg Bakery in St Louis years ago, back when my dad was just a kid. I have their original gooey butter cake recipe and this is the closest recipe I’ve ever seen to theirs.

  392. Lisa Oliver

    Novice baker alert! I do not have a stand mixer – would a electric hand mixer (is that what they are called? You know – with the beaters children and ladies lick?) work? I realize this may be a stupid question.

  393. Shaye

    Hi – STL hometowner here (now on the west coast). I thought I would try to explain the cream cheese/cake mix comments v. the yeast cake. Bakery gooey butter cakes were always this version (yeast cake) — I have some old recipes from STL bakeries that are very similar. Then, sometime in the 60s or 70s, a “quick” gooey butter cake recipe made with cake mix and cream cheese starting making the rounds (I wouldn’t be surprised if it was in the Post-Dispatch) — I have some neighborhood and school cookbooks from the time and the recipes are labeled “easy” or “quick” because you didn’t have to mess with yeast, etc. Those are the cakes we would see at parties, bake sales, etc. — no one was making the yeast one anymore! But the yeast version is what you still see at bakeries in STL — and it is so much better! Really, the cream cheese/cake mix version is a different cake — you need the yeast cake and the corn syrup topping to make it a true gooey butter cake.

  394. So. Good!! I, too, had a little trouble at first getting the yeast to do its job. I had my son start with the cake dough so that I could make the topping and bake it when I got home. I suspect that the ingredients were a little too cold, and with that and the high fat content, the dough had not risen at all three hours later. I warmed it up in the microwave (in the dish) a little and that did the trick.
    We used a parchment lined glass dish and baked for 35 minutes. The topping was perfect, soft and gooey in the middle and chewy cookie-like around the edges. I love the idea of serving it with fresh berries! Will try that next time.

  395. Gnascha Baker

    You used to include weights for your recipes but lately not so much. Why? I am a British baker and find cup measures a bit of a pain and not precise.

  396. Rhonda

    This “version” looks so much better than the ooey gooeys in the St Louis stores. They are too sweet for me. Thanks for always finding the best and most interesting versions of familiar dishes! I’m making your Jacked Up Banana Bread this morning. xoR

  397. I am so excited to try this! Can I substitute instant yeast? Also after letting it rise, could I refrigerate overnight, let it warm up for an hour, then add the topping, and bake?

    Thank you!!

  398. Deb! I am so excited about this recipe! I made it exactly as you described, and used a ceramic baking dish (Emile Henry), but the cake still had the same issues as yours, even though I used a ceramic dish (9×13)…. a little too brown for the yeast cake part, and the not enough “goo”. I’m from St. Louis, so I am very familiar with how it should taste, texture and all. So…. I did a bunch of research, and I am so thrilled to share with you what I consider to be the solution. I used two 8″x8″ metal cake pans, “Magic Line”, and having the cakes spread a little thinner means that they cooked up a little faster… about 27 minutes was perfect. The cakes were still tender, and the “gooey” part was just the right amount of gooey, with crisp on top. I wish I could post a picture here! Being from St. Louis, I am so happy to be able to share this experience with my daughters. They love anything yeasty, and now they love St. Louis style Gooey Butter Cake!! Thanks for sharing the great recipe!!!

  399. helenfichtel

    So I made this, and it came out perfectly, but and I have to ask: who one earth can eat something so sweet? I couldn’t eat even a single slice of it, and I would class myself as having quite a sweet tooth!
    Going to have to bin the whole pan, which is such a waste of good ingredients :(

    1. I’m from St. Louis, and grew up eating this cake (only occasionally). I think it is perhaps an acquired taste? The yeast cake underneath the topping should not be sweet, so it helps to balance out the sweet topping, but the cake is still very sweet. Even a bit too sweet for my kids!!! They did NOT grow up in St. Louis.

  400. I d never heard of a St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake until I read about it from Melissa Clark in the New York Times. Deb was also transfixed at the time. But unlike me, she got off her duff and did something about it. And in her typical fashion, she put her own spin on it and recast the recipe in her bestselling cookbook

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  402. These are sooooo good!

    I had some drama with my yeast – it’s a Melbourne winter here and I couldn’t find a warm place in the house, so I stuck my step ladder in the front garden, and sat my dish on the top step to catch some afternoon sun. When this didn’t work, I stuck it in the oven on the lowest setting, but still managed to overheat it and I think kill the yeast! it didn’t quite double in size, but still worked out perfectly :D

    I also replaced the syrup with honey, as syrup is apparently one of those things we don’t get to have in COVID times!

    Can’t wait to make it again. Will attempt to keep yeast alive next time.

  403. Jeanne

    I am so excited to try this for my husband’s birthday today! I am curious – I’ve noticed you use the paddle attachment frequently, and I don’t have one with my hand-held mixer. What does the paddle attachment do? In this situation, where you’re creaming, can you use regular mixing attachments or something else that is more common? Thanks – LOVE your work!

  404. Karen

    Delicious dessert!
    We served this tonight for Canadian Thanksgiving! Served with blueberry coulis and a barely sweetened whipped cream.
    Followed the recipe as written with the exception of heating the milk/water mixture to 110 degrees prior to adding the yeast (it foamed well) and then used a slightly warmed oven, as suggested above, to proof the dough. My one tip is to make sure that the eggs are at room temperature.

  405. This looks SO good! I bake every Saturday to take with me to work. I have to be in by 11 ( or so) but REALLY want to make this. How is is the day after baking? Should it be served warm? Can I make the yeast dough the night before and let it sit in the baking dish in the fridge, then bring to room temp the next morning before putting on the gooey topping and baking? I could make it in the morning before I go in…but I wouldn’t make it there until afternoon, lol. Thoughts?
    Thanks -Elise

  406. Pics and description look delicious but I do have one complaint/comment. And to be fair I noticed this same thing in the original recipe that Melissa Clark posted on NYT Cooking. To my mind, if water is being used as an ingredient, then it should be listed in the ingredients. If water is being used only as a cooking agent, ie boiling pasta, bain marie, etc. then of course it doesn’t need to be listed. But in this recipe, water is used an ingredient twice and it isn’t listed. I suspect that is the reason why a few comments here were of the “I’m disappointed” variety.