St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake, & a #Giveaway!

A Layer of Sweet Yeast Cake is Baked with a Gooey, Buttery, Sweet Custard Topping in this Scratch-Made Indulgence.  All-Natural Ingredients, Pantry Staples, No Box Mix Required.

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake | Baking a Moment

Zulka sugar reached out to me again!  I love this product.  You can read more about it here.

Basically it is a more natural, less processed, organic, non-GMO version of the good ol’ granulated sugar we already know and love.  So, they wanted me to post a recipe in honor of non-GMO month, which happens to be, hello, October!

I had to think long and hard about this.  Just like the last time I posted a recipe for Zulka, I wanted to make sure that whatever I did really allowed the sugar to shine.  I mean, I use a lot of sugar here on Baking a Moment…

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It’s all good, but for this post, I didn’t want any other ingredient to outshine the sugar.  No pumpkin.  No chocolate.  No fruit.  No peanut butter.  Just pure, unadulterated cane perfection.

Also, let’s be sure to shed light on the idea of a fabulous dessert that is baked from REAL ingredients.  Not from a mix, not from a box, just wholesome, fresh, actual food, that was grown from the ground, or produced by animals that are healthy, well-cared for, clean, and happy.

Have you ever heard of gooey butter cake?  I had.  It first crossed my radar about 10 years or so ago.  It was popularized by a certain celebrity chef who shall remain nameless.  It consists of a boxed cake mix, a block of cream cheese, and a pound of powdered sugar.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s seriously delish.

But I’ve always longed for a slightly more homespun version.

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake | Baking a Moment

Oh my lordy.  Lordy, lordy, lordy.  I cannot even tell you how happy I am to have discovered this recipe.

You know how I have that neurotic compulsion to only post original recipes here?  Ya, well, that’s going out the window today.  This one is, as is, absolute perfection!  I had some ridiculous notion about bruleeing the top…  Totally unnecessary.  This is it.  Don’t change a thing.  PERFECTION, I tell you!

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake | Baking a Moment

Do you see those crusty corners?  I wish you could taste them through your screen.  They are so crunchy-chewy and caramelly.

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake | Baking a Moment

The puffy cake on the bottom?  Omg.  It’s a yeast cake, people.  PEOPLE.  It’s so fluffy I’m gonna die!

And that gooey topping?  So buttery sweet, soft and sticky…

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake | Baking a Moment

I’m head over heels in love with this cake.  Did I mention that it is totally from scratch?  I love baking from scratch.  Baking from scratch gets such a bad rap.  It’s really not hard.  I think it’s actually easier than using a mix.  Who doesn’t keep butter in their fridge?  And eggs?  And sugar and flour in their cupboard?  I mean, isn’t it like a thousand times easier to just stay cozy at home and bake with all the things you already have, than to make a special trip to the store to purchase a box of heaven-knows-what?

I’m gonna give a shout out to a few of the wholesome, high-quality, super fresh and fab ingredients I used to bake up this pan of sweet perfection (and no, they aren’t paying me):

Rosenberger’s Milk
Keller’s Butter
Zulka Sugar
Alderfer’s Eggs
Manuka Dr. Honey
Lagrima Vanilla

I’m lucky enough to live in an area where fresh eggs, butter and milk are all produced within a three mile radius.  I’ve already filled you in on the fabulousness of Zulka.  I had the pleasure of sampling Manuka Dr. Honey at IFBC, and besides being loaded with all sorts of health-boosting properties, the flavor is outstanding.  And I’m sure you remember Lagrima vanilla extract from this post.  Superb.

Now wouldn’t you rather have a cake crafted from these kind of quality ingredients, than something you dumped out of a cardboard box?

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake | Baking a Moment

Especially when it tastes this amazing?

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake
Cook time: 
Total time: 
A Layer of Sweet Yeast Cake is Baked with a Gooey, Buttery, Sweet Custard Topping in this Scratch-Made Indulgence. All-Natural Ingredients, Pantry Staples, No Box Mix Required.
For the Base Layer:
  • 3 tablespoons milk (I used 1%), at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 packet active dry yeast (about 1¾ teaspoons)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
For the Topping:
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Make the Base:
  1. Stir the milk, water, and yeast together in a small bowl. Set aside to proof.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and salt. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and beat in the egg. Alternately add the flour and milk mixture, scraping the bowl after each addition.
  3. Beat the dough on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Press the dough into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13-inch baking dish. Set in a warm place and allow to rise until doubled in size (about 2 hours).
Make the Topping:
  1. Stir the honey, water, and vanilla together in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and salt together until pale and fluffy.
  3. Scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl, and beat in the egg.
  4. Alternately add the flour and honey mixture, scraping the bowl after each addition.
  5. Dollop the mixture evenly over the top of the base layer, and smooth into an even layer with a spatula.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Cake should be golden on top but still liquid in the center. Cool completely in the pan before cutting into squares.
Recipe barely adapted from The New York Times

Also I love that this recipe is called “St. Louis” Gooey Butter Cake.  It’s such a happy coincidence that I ended up making it the same week that my dear sister-in-law (originally from St. Louis, MO) gave me another neice!  Yay!  I’m an aunt!  Again!  😀


Now it’s time for the giveaway!  I’m so happy to be able to offer two of Baking a Moment’s readers each a four-pound bag of Zulka sugar.  You can make a wholelotta St. Louis Gooey Butter Cakes with that!  All you have to do is answer this question: what is your favorite homemade sweet treat?  Leave your answer in a comment at the bottom of this post.  If you want a few extra entries, you can like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter and/or tweet about the giveaway, and like Zulka’s Facebook page.  Good luck, friends!  And enjoy your St. Louis Gooey Butter Cakes!  😉

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  1. Mo says

    I just LOVE a good old fashioned Philadelphia Buttercake – and your recipe looks super authentic! I’ll have to give it whirl sometime soon! As always, your pictures speak a million words. Gorgeous. Just gorgeous!

    • says

      Thanks, Mo! I have had my eye out for a recipe like this FOREVER! I couldn’t believe how, when I finally spotted one, they called it “St. Louis Buttercake”…??? I always thought it was a Philly thing! Oh well, whatever you call it, it’s fabulous. Thanks so much for reading and for the sweet comment <3

  2. says

    What a great giveaway, Allie! I love how simple this cake is… my boys like simple. And, we’ll be devouring this. Looks like something I can whip up pretty fast for my sweet tooth. LOVE! Already pinned and put on my baking list ….cz I don’t always like to make my own creations. I love just baking what you’ve already tested out for me! (Can always trust your recipes, every time!)

    • says

      That’s so nice to hear, Gloria! Although I have made my fair share of mistakes, believe me! You can see how readers have pointed them out to me in the comments, lol! Sometimes I wish I had someone to help me edit…

      My boys like simple too, although sometimes they are so stinkin’ picky it’s infuriating! The big one told me this was too buttery (wha???) and the little one wouldn’t even try it because it’s not chocolate. I just can’t win with those two! Oh well, I’m glad you liked it! Hopefully your boys will too 😉

  3. says

    I love Zulka’s Morena sugar. I was so sad when I used all of mine up. Girl, I’ve heard of gooey butter cake before but I’ve never tried it. After reading this post and gawking at your gorgeous photos, I need butter cake in my life stat. You had me at those crispy caramelly corners!

  4. says

    My favorite “from-scratch” item are smoothies! I love whipping up all sorts of healthy shakes for breakfasts!

    I love this post (and find it quite funny, since I just posted about how using a box mix & doctoring it up gets a bad rap – but that I am ok with it). So funny, love it Allie :-)

    • says

      Ha! How funny is that?! Well, I guess we all have our preferences. It’s all about how you like to cook, or bake, as it were… I just never seem to have a mix on hand when I want one, so I’ve come to prefer recipes made with pantry staples. But I do understand the convenience factor, and if you aren’t a big baker, then box mixes probably take up less storage space. So I get it! And I’ll grub just the same either way, lol! Thanks for the comment, Rachel, and for entering my first giveaway! <3 <3 <3

  5. says

    Who can say no to a crunchy caramel crust with a fluffy cake on the inside that looks this good? Definitely not me. This looks so good!! I’ve never tried gooey butter cake before but I love that you decided to make it with quality ingredients instead of from a box. Thanks so much for sharing and pinning :)

    • says

      Thank you, Kelly! I had been looking for a recipe like this for ages, and I was so happy when I finally stumbled across it! The cake mix version is really good too, but I just never seem to have a cake mix on hand! Now I can make it at a moment’s notice- which is probably dangerous! Thanks so much for the sweet comment, Kelly! xoxo

  6. kesha says

    These look delicious! I love that you made it from scratch with awesome ingredients and not from a cake mix! I will have to try them!

    • says

      Thank you, Kesha! I know a lot of people love the box but I just can’t seem to get into it. For me it’s easier this way! Not to mention healthier and more economical, I’m sure. Thanks so much for reading and for the great comment! 😀

  7. says

    There is nothing like a good apple pie in my house. That would have to be our favorite. But your gooey butter cake looks so good Allie! Thank you for sharing it with us!

  8. Whitney says

    Hi Allie, I just wandered over to your site today after making chocolate chip cookies that spread way too much…your post was so helpful and I can’t wait to try them out soon.

    My favorite treat to make is scones. I love making cinnamon blueberry scones and eating them for breakfast or with tea for a snack.


  9. Joan Smith says

    Love the gooey cake! Made it last night for teachers, it’s delicious and we all fought over the caramelized edges I cut off and saved for my family. Thank you for a great, original recipe made from scratch!

  10. Betty Mallorca says

    When I was a young newlywed, the box mix gooey butter cake recipe was given to me by a dear neighbor friend. Now that I’ve cut Way Back on processed foods, it’s time to give your recipe a try! But there’s no cream cheese–do the other ingredients replace that item satisfactorily? I hope so. I’ll get myself some yeast (it always expires in the cupboard) and give this a whirl. Thank you!

    • says

      Hey Betty! I’m so glad you like the recipe! You’re right, there’s no cream cheese but in my opinion, “satisfactory” doesn’t do justice. It’s seriously to-die-for. So gooey and buttery and good! I hope you agree. Thank you so much for reading and for the great question!

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