Sunday Brunch: St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake Recipe

Sunday Brunch: St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake Recipe

[Photograph: Sydney Oland]

This cake may be little known outside its hometown of St. Louis, Missouri (unless you've watched enough Paula Deen.) It's often made with boxed cake mix then topped with the gooey topping, but this version uses a simple yeast based cake. It's very buttery and very rich, but with a strong cup of black coffee it can really hit the spot first thing in the morning.

  • Yield:8
  • Active time: 30 minutes
  • Total time:2 hours 30 minutes


  • For the cake:
  • 1/4 cup warm milk
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 6 tablespoons room temperature butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • For the topping:
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour


  1. 1.

    Sprinkle yeast on warm milk. In a standing mixer beat butter, sugar and salt together until fluffy. Once yeast has started to bubble add it to butter mixture along with egg and flour and mix until dough begins to come together and come away from sides of bowl. Cover with a towel and let sit until doubled in volume – about 2 hours.

  2. 2.

    For the topping: Whisk together light corm syrup, water and vanilla until combined. In mixer cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Add egg, flour and corn syrup mixture and beat until combined.

  3. 3.

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Press cake into 9x13 baking dish, and dot with topping using a spatula to smooth if. Bake until golden brown and set, about 30 minutes. Serve sprinkled with confectioner sugar with a strong cup of coffee.