Also known as the Ooey Gooey Cake, this is a recipe that dates from the 1930s. According to legend, it was created by a German-American baker who inadvertently switched the proportions of butter and flour, ending up with a cake that was very dense yet gooey.
Not wanting to be wasteful — this was during the Great Depression after all — his bakery decided to offer it for sale in order to see what would happen. People of course loved it and it quickly became a best-seller, giving us the legendary St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake.
And from what I’ve read, the original recipe actually had some yeast in it. It was like a yeasted crust with a gooey top, but most people nowadays make it using store-bought cake mix and cream cheese, so that’s what I’m going to use today.
Flat and dense with two distinct layers, it is typically served as a coffee cake rather than a dessert. Dusted with powdered sugar, you get a deliciously sweet and rich, somewhat firm but gooey cake that you can cut into squares similar to a brownie.
I adapted my recipe from Paula Deen’s Original Gooey Butter Cake.
St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake
- 9" X 12" pan
- Large mixing bowl
- hand mixer
- 1 box yellow butter cake mix 15.25 oz
- 1 egg
- 1 stick salted butter, melted 1/2 cup, or 8 tablespoons
- 1 pkg cream cheese 8 oz, room temperature
- 2 eggs
- 1 stick salter butter, melted 1/2 cup, or 8 tablespoons
- 1 lb powdered sugar 16 oz bag
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350˚F
- In a large bowl, add cake mix, egg, and butter. Mix with a hand mixer on low speed until well combined and a dough forms.
- Spray a 9” x 12” pan with baking spray.
- Add the dough to the pan, using your fingers to pat it out into an even layer. Press the dough up slightly around the edges to form a crust.
- In a large bowl, add the cream cheese, using a hand mixer to beat for one minute to lighten the cream cheese.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Add the melted butter.
- Add the powdered sugar in two batches, mixing on low speed to avoid spraying powdered sugar.
- When the mixture is smooth, pour it over the crust and spread it out evenly.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes. The batter will turn golden and puff up, deflating as it cools. Do not overbake.