Tasty Tuesday: St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

I’m trying out something a little new today.  The idea is that every Tuesday, I’ll do a food post.  Sometimes a recipe, sometimes a restaurant review.  We’ll see how it goes.  Though the blog will stay primarily knitting.  Also, yes, I will sometime update the info and blogroll.  Once I remember the administrator password…

A couple years ago I saw a Smitten Kitchen post about St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake.  I was instantly intrigued.  I made it soon after for an Easter dinner that I went to.  The cake was delicious.  Not as indulgent as I thought it might be, but well received.  I don’t often make yeast cakes, so it was more steps than some of my other desserts.  It consists of a cake base/crust topped with a buttery “gooey” layer on top.  You should follow the link to Deb’s version, drool over the beautiful photos and come back here.  After making this cake the first time though, I virtually forgot about it.

A year ago, when Lucas and I were first dating he asked me if I’d ever heard of the Gooey Butter Cake (or GBC as we’ve been calling it.)  His family is from St. Louis.  Was he ever surprised when I said I had made one before!  He found a website that had some historical information (more like urban legends) about the GBC.  It has a recipe attached that uses a cake mix base instead of making the cake from scratch.  I love baking elaborate desserts.  My favorite cookbook is the Cook’s Illustrated Best Recipe books that make you do a zillion steps just to make a cobbler.  But for a west coast girl, I have a fair amount of Mid-West in me.  I love me a casserole and 1950s foods.  This recipe uses a mix of powdered sugar and cream cheese for the topping.  A bit different from the Smitten Kitchen version that uses butter and corn syrup.

I would recommend both versions.  But if you’re looking for a simple recipe that tastes like cotton candy and heaven, I would go with the What’s Cooking America version.  I bake mine in a 9×13 glass pan.  It doesn’t get very tall, but makes about 30 little bars.  It calls for 4 cups of powdered sugar.  I’ve cut mine back to 3 or 3 1/2 cups and it hasn’t hurt the sweetness.

I end up making this recipe all the time.  I recently had to bring refreshments for the knitting guild meeting and brought these.  They are slightly chewy and have a bit of a sugar crust on the top.  I meant to take a picture of the entire  pan, but I ate them instead.  Here’s the last lone piece.  So you can see the side view:

I have even made it with a chocolate cake layer.  Instead of the yellow cake mix, I used chocolate cake mix.  Still pretty good, but I like the vanilla and cream cheese flavors to shine through instead.  The only thing I don’t like about using this recipe is that when people ask me about it, I’m ashamed to have cheated with cake mix.  But cheater baking is still baking, I suppose.  I’ll have to try the SK version again to do a proper comparison.  Try out a GBC this weekend!

I’ll be back soon to show off my loot from Convergence.  Today, I’m doing something I never thought I would do: knitting shoulder pads.  Stay tuned for my latest finished (if not totally sucessful) project.


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One response to “Tasty Tuesday: St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

  1. Pingback: Tasty Tuesday: St. Louis edition | jill & jill

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