A plate of gooey butter cake, topped with whipped cream.

Hi Bold Bakers!

Gooey Butter Cake, a traditional (and seriously beloved!) cake from St. Louis, is probably unlike any cake you’ve had before, and it is definitely a must-try! People from St. Louis have been eating this cake for over 60 years now, and if you’d talk to a person who calls the area home, I’d bet they’d have plenty of fond memories to share.

The cake itself is indulgently sweet and has a wonderfully dense, firm texture at the bottom, but the top is super soft, gooey, and sweet with butterscotch notes thanks to the brown sugar! The sweet cake is perfect when served alongside a hot cup of coffee — and one of my latest Bold Baking Worldwide recipes.

This cake is so popular that grocery stores, even outside of St. Louis, sell fresh or boxed gooey butter cakes—but an excellent homemade gooey butter cake puts them all to shame! Whip up this easy cake, brew a pot of coffee, and put on Judy Garland’s Meet Me In St. Louis for a real treat!!

[Want More Cake From Around The World? Try My Mum’s Irish Apple Cake!]

What Is Gooey Butter Cake?

Gooey butter cake is a cake made with butter and cream cheese, which makes it so gooey! Some people say this cake resulted from a happy accident in 1930 by a baker in St. Louis who was attempting to make just a regular cake but reversed the amount of butter and flour.

Since this mistake was made during the Great Depression, they weren’t about to throw out a mistake, and so the “flat gooey mess” became a hit!

A tray of my Gooey Butter Cake recipe, with slices removed.

What You Need To Make Gooey Butter Cake

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • 9×9 inch (23x23cm) square baking pan
  • Parchment paper or aluminum foil. 
  • Mixing bowls

How To Make Gooey Butter Cake

This cake has a texture that is unlike anything you’ve had before! I can’t wait for you to give it a try. Here is how you make gooey butter cake (and don’t forget to get the full recipe with measurements, on the page down below):

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 9×9 inch (23x23cm) square baking pan with either parchment paper or aluminum foil. Be sure to use enough that the paper/foil hangs over the edges so the cake can be easily released.
  2. Mix the flour, butter, 2/3 cup (4oz/115g) brown sugar, granulated sugar, 2 eggs, baking powder, and salt. Then, spread the batter evenly into your prepped pan.
  3. Then, mix the remaining ½ cup (3oz/85g) brown sugar, 2 eggs, powdered sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla.
  4. Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the first layer, but do not stir it together. Bake the cake for about 1 hour or until the cake is set but still jiggles slightly when shaken. 
  5. Allow the cake to cool slightly in the pan before cutting into 9 squares. Serve warm!

Dusting my Gooey Butter Cake recipe with powdered sugar.

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making Gooey Butter Cake

  • Be sure your parchment paper or foil goes all the way up the sides of your pan—otherwise, the cake will be hard to get out of the pan!
  • You can add a few handfuls of chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or coconut flakes to the top layer for some fun variations.
  • This is lovely served warm with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream. 
  • Always be sure that your ingredients are room temperature before you begin for the most even mixing. 

How Do You Store Gooey Butter Cake?

You can store any leftover gooey butter cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days!

A slice of butter cake, topped with whipped cream.

Make More Cake & Puddings!

And don’t forget to buy my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook!

Full (and printable) recipe below!

Prep Time 25 mins

Cook Time 1 hr

This Gooey Butter Cake recipe is a St. Louis staple that’s indulgently sweet with complex textures and butterscotch notes.

Author: Gemma Stafford

Servings: 9 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups (7½oz/213g) all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons (3oz/85g) butter (melted)
  • cup (4oz/115g) plus ½ cup (3oz/85g) dark brown sugar (divided)
  • ½ cup (4oz/115g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs plus 2 large eggs (divided, at room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 3 ½ cups (14oz/402g) powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (8oz/225g) cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a 9×9 inch (23x23cm) square baking pan with enough parchment paper or aluminum foil to hang over the edges (for easy releasing).

  • Thoroughly mix the flour, butter, 2/3 cup (4oz/115g) brown sugar, granulated sugar, 2 eggs, baking powder, and salt together and then spread evenly into your prepared pan.

  • Then mix the remaining ½ cup (3oz/85g) brown sugar and 2 eggs with the powdered sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla.

  • Pour this mixture on top of the first layer (without stirring it together) and bake for about 1 hour, or until the cake is set but still jiggles slightly when shaken.

  • Let cool completely in the pan slightly before cutting into 9 squares. Serve warm with whipped cream. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

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