01/10/2012 12:35 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

One of my good friends and his family used to love this special St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake from a specific bakery for special occasions.  There are a lot of recipes floating out there using yellow cake mix, but according to him, these are not the authentic gooey butter cakes he knew and loved.

Many have tried and failed to replicate this amazing dessert; it seems nothing yet has come close to replicating the perfect gooey buttery bliss of his memories.  For his birthday, I decided to take a stab at it using a recipe similar to this one... I know it won't be the real thing, but hopefully it comes close!

To prepare the dough:

Whisk to combine the water (1/4 cup warmed to 110 degrees Fahrenheit) and yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast) mixture to then set aside for a few minutes.  Next, cream the sugar (1/3 cup) and butter (1/2 stick at room temperature) together until fluffy:

Mix in the egg (just one) and vanilla (2 tsp):

Stir in the water-yeast mixture, milk (1/2 cup warmed to 110 degrees Fahrenheit), salt (1/4 tsp), and 2 cups of the total 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour needed.  Switch to using a dough hook and knead mixture for about 5-8 min, gradually adding last 1/2 cup of flour as needed to result in a smooth dough.

Cover bowl with a towel (I also covered in saran wrap) and leave in a warm place until dough rises to about double in size (about 1 hour).

To prepare the Gooey Butter Topping:

Combine granulated sugar (2 1/2 cups), butter (2 sticks unsalted, softened), salt (a dash), egg (just one), light corn syrup (1/4 cup), vanilla extract (2 tsp), water (1/4 cup warmed to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, flour (2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour) and beat in an electric mixer until well-combined.

When the dough is ready, gently punch it down and press lightly into greased baking pan to fit; press up the sides to keep gooey mixture from running under. 

Prick the dough with a fork and spread gooey butter batter over the dough:

Bake in preheated 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes. Topping should be bubbly and golden brown. Be careful not to over-bake; the topping will not be gooey if cake is baked too long.  Cool cake on wire racks until the topping settles and sprinkle top with confectioners sugar - serve warm or at room temperature.
Yields: 2 - 9x9" cakes; 9 servings each or 1 - 9x13" cake; 12 to 15 servings.