Get 5 Secrets to Make Homemade Taste Food Better + New Recipes Weekly!
Published August 3, 2022. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
You will absolutely love this delicious St. Louis, Missouri native gooey butter cake that will become your new favorite treat. This cake is said to have been created to enjoy at breakfast or for a mid-day snack.
I can eat sweet desserts or treats all day long; I don’t care what time of day it is or when it was “supposed” to be eaten. If you have a sweet tooth like me, try out my Funnel Cake recipe or Beignets.
Gooey Butter Cake
Gooey butter cake is a St. Louis, Missouri specialty consisting of a buttered cake bottom and sweet butter filling that goes on top. It is a cooked cake, but the top portion of it will be soft and gooey. There are a few different origin stories for this recipe on how it was created, but we know for sure that it 100% has St. Louis German roots.
Gooey butter cake is also said to be made using two different methods, the yeast cake version, and the pre-made yellow cake version. This topic is still controversial today, but I believe it was created using a yeast bottom cake. This would lend more credibility to the roots of both creators, who are said to be the founding father of the gooey butter cake. I’m making the gooey butter cake based on the original St. Louis Bakery version.
The quicker, more convenient recipe uses yellow cake mix, and cream cheese, which I believe are more shortcuts than the original recipe would have used.
One thing is for sure, every single person in Missouri has their idea of what they think Gooey Butter Cake is, which is just fine with me.
- Butter – Use softened unsalted butter for this.
- Sugar – I use a combination of regular granulated sugar and light brown sugar in this recipe.
- Flour – All-purpose flour works great.
- Salt – I always use sea salt in my recipes.
- Corn Syrup – This will be added to the filling portion of the gooey butter cake.
- Yeast – I used active yeast.
- Vanilla – Use good real vanilla for this treat.
How to Make Gooey Butter Cake
Use these step-by-step procedures to make this delicious gooey butter cake recipe:
Start by activating the yeast in some warm milk with 1 tablespoon of sugar
Next, cream the butter, sugar, and salt until it becomes light and fluffy.
Add in 1 egg at a time, and then stop to scrape the bowl and switch to the hook attachment.
At low-speed alternate, add in the flour and the milk-yeast mixture beginning with the flour and ending with it.
Once mixed in, knead on low to medium speed for about 5 minutes.
Cover and let sit in a warm place until it has doubled in size, which takes about 90 minutes to two hours.
With about 10 minutes left in the rising process, cream butter with sugar, salt, and corn syrup in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment to make the filling.
Scrape the bowl and add the vanilla, then 1 egg at a time until mixed in.
Pour in the milk and mix to combine, and then add in the flour just until combined.
Transfer the risen dough to a buttered 13×9 dish and press the cake dough to stretch it across the dish keeping it as flat as possible.
Next, add dollops of the filling to the top of the dough in the dish and then spread out using an offset spatula to cover completely.
Bake in the oven at 350° for about 25-30 minutes or until browned on top but still soft with some brown spots with a little wobble in the middle.
Cool to room temperature, and then sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: You can make this cake up to 1 day ahead of time.
How to Store: Cover and keep this at room temperature for up to 3 days. Alternatively, cover the gooey butter cake and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is gooey butter cake a Missouri thing?
- It is a traditional St. Louis, Missouri cake, but it has become popularized outside the state.
Chef Notes + Tips
- You can alternate using a deep 13×9 casserole dish with two 9” spring form cake pans.
- If using instant yeast, there is no need to wait for a raft to form.
More Cake Recipes
St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake Recipe
For the Cake:
- ½ cup warm milk, 112° to 115°F
- 1 packet active yeast
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 stick softened unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
For the Filling:
- 1 ½ sticks softened unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- The Cake: Add the milk to a bowl and sprinkle the yeast overtop and pour in 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Whisk until combined and let stand until a raft is formed, which takes about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Next, cream together the butter, sugar, and salt until it becomes light and fluffy in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment on medium speed, which takes about 5 minutes.
- Add in 1 egg at a time and then stop to scrap the bowl and switch to the hook attachment.
- On low-speed alternate adding in the flour and the milk-yeast mixture beginning with the flour and ending with it.
- Once mixed in, knead on low to medium speed for about 5 minutes.
- Cover and let sit in a warm place until it has doubled in size, which takes about 90 minutes to two hours.
- The Filling: Preheat the oven to 350°.
- With about 10 minutes left in the rising process, cream together butter with sugar, salt, and corn syrup in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment to make the filling.
- Scrape the bowl and add the vanilla then 1 egg at a time until mixed in.
- Pour in the milk and mix to combine and then add in the flour just until combined.
- Transfer the risen dough to a buttered deep 13×9 dish, or divide it between two 9" spring form pans, and press the cake dough to stretch it across the dish keeping it as flat as possible.
- Next, add dollops of the filling to the top of the dough in the dish and then spread out using an offset spatula to completely cover.
- Bake in the oven at 350° for about 25-30 minutes or until browned on top but still soft with some brown spots with a little wobble in the middle.
- Cool to room temperature and then sprinkle with powdered sugar.