Serious Eats: Recipes

Cook the Book: Paula Deen's Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Gooey butter cakes are to the Deen family what shrimp is to Bubba Gump. All you need is a boxed cake mix (any flavor) and fruit or other toppings for the gooeyness—from there, just go to town.

"You can make pineapple gooeys, carrot gooeys, peanut butter gooeys (like a Reese's gooey, ya know?), chocolate chip gooeys, banana gooeys, strawberry gooeys, sweet potato gooeys..."

Over the weekend I got to meet Paula Deen's son Jamie, and when I mentioned the gooey butter cakes, he broke into some kind of sermon. (I swear there were more listed.) The Deen family rotates the gooey butter cakes—sometimes they even throw an "ooey" before the "gooey"—at their restaurant, Lady & Sons, in Savannah, Georgia. It's kind of like soup du jour, except gooey du jour.

This is the only Paula Deen recipe I've ever made and every year I do, I think, really? Two sticks of butter? And a whole box of powdered sugar? And four eggs? And a brick of cream cheese? Yes, just go for it all. They're pretty decadent but only relatively speaking for Paula (there's no mayo or deep-frying involved). One little square is powerful—definitely more intense than pumpkin pie. And when you get tired of the pumpkin, just sub in another form of gooey.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have a copy of The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook to give away this week. Enter to win here »

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes

Adapted from The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook.

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