Gooey Butter Cake + Miscellaneous

I live closer to St. Louis than most of you, but I had never heard of a St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake until I came across an article in the New York Times a few month ago. I was intrigued. But not intrigued enough to do anything about it until I saw that Deb loved it. That night I made the cake myself and it knocked my socks off. It is one of the best things I have made in quite some time. For the record, Bryan didn’t agree and claimed it tasted like an Entenmann’s Coffee Cake you would get at the grocery store. I see what he means, but those things are good!

There are some problems with the recipe: The original recipe has you beat the dough in a stand mixer using a paddle attachment for 7-10 minutes and claims that it will pull away from the sides of the bowl into a smooth cohesive mass. That never happened for me and I can’t imagine it ever would— but who knows. I stopped the machine after 10 minutes and the dough seemed right to me so I proceeded. The recipe then says you should let the dough rise for 2 1/2-3 hours, until doubled in size. After 2 hours my dough had not risen or puffed in the slightest. I put it on top of my radiator and after another 2 hours it had finally started to rise a bit. It was definitely not doubled. Unless you live in the tropics you want to plan on between 3-5 hours for this to work, which is an annoying amount of time to spend waiting for dough to rise— I know.  Some of you more adventurous bakers might want to experiment with rapid rise yeast, I think I will try that myself next time.

But don’t let any of these negatives dissuade you from trying this— it is SO good. Somehow the topping turns into this amazing layer of…goo?…that tastes like the filling for a cheese danish. This sweet topping is tempered by the yeasty cake layer. Perfection! Especially when it is still warm. You can go to the Smitten Kitchen and New York Times articles for the recipe.

I’ve been writing over at ReadyMade, so don’t forget to look for me there. I have already written about my favorite streusel recipe (see photo below), the perfect apron and given some party planning suggestions. It is a great team of bloggers and lots of good information each day.

Twitter is fun! For those of you resisting because you think it is stupid, you might be right but it is also fun and I get a lot of good information from the folks I follow. You don’t need to join to read my tweets (mostly about food) which come a lot more often than posts seem to these days. ; ) I hope everyone is getting a first glimpse of Spring this week and looking forward to sunny days and farmers markets in the not-too-distant future.

25 comments to “Gooey Butter Cake + Miscellaneous”

  1. I pretty much died when I saw that photo on SK. Glad it lives up to the hype as I plan on giving it a go real soon. And who knew you could just make crumble for crumble’s sake. Genius.

  2. The interwebs sure are aflutter with this recipe! I’ll definitely have to try it myself. I also tend to have rising issues with active dry yeast. I pretty much just always use the rapid rise stuff. Thanks for the tip!

  3. wow – this does seem to be a favorite blogging recipe! it does look good, but my stack of dessert recipes is already ginormous!

    i checked out the readymade site the other day – i got a kick outta your co-poster’s biscuit story. ;)

  4. I am amazed by the amount of things coming out of your kitchen. go Tim go! Can’t wait to sip and chat with you on Saturday at the big fiesta!

  5. I can hear Paula Deen in the background – “more butter”……………seriously, I have never made this, but must try it. The streusel recipe with ice cream and caramel is to die for. Really enjoy your blog!

  6. Grew up eating this in STL…more powdered sugar! Park Avenue Coffee is a shop for something like 70 different flavors of gooey butter cake. Check it out!

  7. My mom makes an amazing gooey butter cake – but there isn’t a dough. We first had it at the bakeries in Ocean City, NJ – had to be in the ’70s.

  8. Yes! I made this cake last week from Smitten and it was totally heavenly and awesome with tea. I halved the recipe and cut the cake into 2×3 inch pieces and it lasted us all week. One note: I do live in the tropics, and my cake still didn’t rise after three hours, but I had to go to bed so I cooked it anyway. And it was still totally delicious and looked like the picture. So maybe it doesn’t need to rise that much?

  9. Thanks for writing, Natanya- I love that you actually live in the tropics and couldn’t get the dough to rise! Yeah, it seems to work just fine, even if it isn’t fully risen.

  10. You had me at “gooey” and butter sealed the deal. YUM!

  11. You’re well on your way to convincing us all that dessert is indeed, the most important meal. ;)

  12. OK, I’m sold! It’s moving straight to the top of my must-make list.
    I remember a similarly named recipe years ago made with stale Entenmenns (? we don’t get those in Canada that I know of) coffee cake with a sort of butter-sugar goo poured overtop and then baked. This sounds more manageable! Can’t wait. How many hours on the elliptical trainer again?

  13. SK’s post about this was over-the-top. I’m so glad there are still over-the-top people still out there! Thanks for writing about this, it was great!

  14. I threw out the milk/water/yeast combination a couple of times before I remembered that yeast need sugar for activation, so added 1tbsp of sugar to the yeast and viola got frothy within minutes.

    The rising is really s l o w , tropics or not. Left the dough sitting in the oven with oven light on and gave up looking; just figured I’d bake it later in the day.

    Could quite figure out if it was truly bake or not, so ended up with a really brown cake; still it still rather tasty.
    I was tempted to add sliced apples between the dough – ah .. there’s always next time

  15. Oh, yes, I’ll be giving this recipe a try soon! Thanks for the heads up on some of its issues!

  16. You had me at Entenmann’s coffee cake. Gooey butter cake is officially on my to-do list. By the way… I love me a whole lot of food blogs, but yours is what actually inspired me to do my own. I love the Chicago pride + awesome design + miracle fruit post. And more.

  17. Butter & Cake? Holy cow that looks good.

    Tim, thanks for the apron link. I love utilitarian apron’s & I live in Brooklyn!

  18. Alright already, I resisted the NYT version, the SK version, but a third hit? I may be sunk.

  19. These gooey butter cakes have been sitting in my mind for a longlong time. I should make them! Especially when its got gooey and butter right smack next to each other.

  20. You realize that your life is closely alike an ikea life, right Tim? Just open an ikea book, kitchen section, with kids running around and a happy couple cooking up a meal.

  21. My roommate has made this a lot…it’s one of the only things she can cook….but she uses cake mix…and I don’t think there’s any rising involved.

  22. I made this and it didn’t rise for the first 3 hours so I put it into a warm oven to rise further, and in about 1 hour it easily doubled. So maybe it needs a lot of warmth? I baked it for less time than the recipe called for and it was still overbaked. But delicious.

  23. So I made this for dessert this weekend. I used the Quick Yeast and still it took a while to rise. I let it rise for two hours and then I decided to go to a movie and came back 3 hours later. It raised but not much. I think that is all the raising it’s going to do. It turned out pretty good but next time I will let it cook a little less. The bottom half of the cake seemed a little dry to me.

  24. This looks amazing! Definitely trying this out sometime.

  25. I grew up in the St. Louis area, and I know the loveliness of gooey butter cake all too well! I’ll have to add this to my baking queue.

What do you think?