This authentic gooey butter cake from my blog Grandbaby Cakes has a chewy blondie texture on the bottom and is topped with a custardy cream cheese layer. Don't frown on using cake mix for this recipe; it transforms when you add ingredients to change the texture. It is the true, original St. Louis classic.
It is so funny how a craze can start. Just a few short years ago, the baking world was consumed by a gooey butter cake trend. Little did most people know that this cake was invented decades ago — in St. Louis, not the South. I know most people are familiar with Paula Deen's version of gooey butter cake, but the credit should be given to St. Louis.
In fact, my mom first received this recipe from my Aunt Beverly, a St. Louis resident, over 20 years ago. She would make it whenever we visited her and her family: my uncle Richard and my cousins LaKeisha and Raquel.
You can find the gooey butter cake around several bakeries in the area because it is a Missouri staple. It is the dessert of that area — and it’s a darn good one to claim.
Key ingredients for gooey butter cake
The bottom layer of this cake is made with yellow cake mix, eggs and butter, creating a wonderful chewy texture. The top layer is made with confectioners' sugar, cream cheese and vanilla, creating a soft and moist texture to complement the bottom.
What does gooey butter cake taste like?
What makes this recipe so special is its very unique taste with different textures coming together as one. The bottom layer starts with yellow cake mix, but as it bakes, takes on a buttery blondie texture that serves as the ideal vehicle for the cream cheese-custard topping.
A final sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar right on top makes this recipe as authentic as it can possibly be.
I can definitely see why the craze caught fire. It is about as easy a baking recipe as there is, but the taste is out-of-this-world good!
1. Make the bottom layer
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Prepare a 9- by 13-inch baking pan with the nonstick method of your choice (I recommend the parchment paper method).
In a large bowl, whisk together all the ingredients until combined and thick. Evenly pat the batter into the bottom of the prepared pan.
2. Mix all the ingredients for the top layer
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, cream cheese, vanilla extract and salt over low speed. Once the sugar is fully incorporated, turn your mixer speed to high. Continue beating until all ingredients are well-blended.
Make sure your cream cheese is completely at room temperature in order to make sure that the top custard layer is smooth and lump-free.
3. Bake the bottom and top layer together
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, on top of the bottom layer, and spread it evenly across the pan using a spatula. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. The center should still be gooey and will look under-baked.
Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve in the pan at room temperature.