Gooey butter Cake Recipe
This Gooey Butter Cake recipe is a St. Louis classic with layers of chewy crust and a buttery vanilla gooey filling with a dusting of powdered sugar on top. We love having it for dessert, but you can also enjoy your gooey butter cake as a sweet breakfast or afternoon treat!
What is Gooey Butter Cake?

Gooey Butter Cake is a St. Louis original with a yeast-raised bottom layer and a rich, buttery baked custard layer made with eggs, corn syrup, and sugar on top. It is a deliciously sweet treat that is more like a cross between a chewy brownie or bar cookie and a dense coffee cake than its name implies.

The story behind the recipe is that it was developed in the 1930’s during the Great Depression when a baker at a St. Louis accidentally mixed up the butter and flour ratio in a cake recipe but went ahead and baked the cake anyway, it being Depression times and all. The resulting cake might have looked like a gooey, buttery mess, but it ended up being popular with customers and the rest is history!

Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

There is a cheater version these days, thanks to Paula Deen who popularized using a yellow box cake mix for the bottom crust and a cream cheese filling for the top layer. It has come to be known as “ooey gooey butter cake” to distinguish it from the original and it’s helped spread the popularity of gooey butter cake far beyond the state of Missouri.

Why We Love This Recipe
  • Gooey butter cake has a dense, almost brownie-like texture, that is divine.
  • Authentic flavor, just like you would get if you were visiting a St. Louis bakery.
  • Instructions for a shortcut version with either a box cake mix hack or from-scratch ingredients

Gooey butter Cake Recipe

Prep Time: 25 mins

Cook Time: 45 mins

Rising Time: 2hrs

Total Time: 3 hrs 10 mins

  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter softened
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
Gooey Layer:
  • ¾ cup salted butter softened (12 Tablespoons)
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (141g)
  • Powered sugar, optional for dusting
Gooey butter cake recipe
Bottom Layer
  1. Combine milk and water in a small bowl. Heat in the microwave for 15-20 seconds until just warm to the touch.
  2. Add yeast, stirring to combine, then let the yeast proof for 5-10 minutes until foamy.
  3. In a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar.
  4. Add egg and salt, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl.
  5. Add flour and milk/yeast mixture. Beat with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed for 7-10 minutes until it creates a sticky, smooth dough.
  6. Spread the dough into an ungreased 9×13-inch baking dish in a thin, even layer.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot for 2-3 hours until doubled in size and puffy.
Gooey Layer
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until fluffy and light, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add egg, corn syrup, water, and vanilla extract, mixing well to combine and scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl.
  4. Add flour and mix well. Gently spread the top layer onto the bottom layer.
  5. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes just until browned around the edges and still jiggly and not completely set in the center. Cool completely.
  6. Dust with powdered sugar and cut into squares to serve.
Gooey butter cake recipe

Storage: Once the cake has completely cooled to room temperature, slice the cake into bars and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

Freezing: Simply bake, allow it to cool completely, then cover tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. If the slices have been cut, you can put them in an airtight container or a Ziploc bag with parchment paper between each one to prevent sticking. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

Easy (But Still From Scratch) Version: In a large bowl, whisk together 1½ cups sugar, ½ cup melted butter, 1 egg, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Add 2¼ cups all-purpose flour, 2½ teaspoons baking powder, and ¾ teaspoon salt. Mix until combined. The mixture will be thick, about the texture of cookie dough. Press into a 9×13-inch baking dish. In the same bowl, beat one 8-ounce package of softened cream cheese using a hand mixer until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add ½ cup melted butter, 2 eggs, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Beat again, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl. The mixture may look curdled. Add 3 cups powdered sugar. Mix well until smooth, then pour over the bottom layer, spreading into an even layer on top. Bake for 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees F until lightly browned just around the edges and barely set in the center. Cool completely, then dust with powdered sugar.

Cake Mix Version: If you want to use the yellow cake mix shortcut, just replace the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in the bottom layer of the easy version with one 15.2-ounce box of yellow cake mix. Everything else about the recipe remains the same.

Flavors: You can change the flavor of this butter cake simply by adding in some flavored extract (a little almond extract in the top layer would be especially delicious), cocoa powder, or use a different flavored cake mix like a spice cake mix or chocolate cake mix if you make the cake mix version.

Gooey butter cake recipe
Nutritional Info:

Calories: 401kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 251mg | Potassium: 72mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 575IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 2mg

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *