St. Louis Gooey Butter Cakes

May 17, 2012

My battle with yeast continues.  Why will my yeast never foam up?  Why can’t I find a warm enough spot to let the dough rise when I always think my apartment is sweltering?!  Does not rising at all actually mean “doubled in size”?  Sigh, it’s a problem.

Good thing that with this recipe, the rising part is not necessary.  I mean, I’m sure these bars would be quite amazing with a fluffy, typically yeasty base, but I wouldn’t know.  But I can certainly attest to the fact that these bars were nothing short of amazing with a flat, stubborn yeast base.  The base of these bars is just the foundation to the amazing, cheesecake textured, star on top.  Kind of like a nut-less pecan pie filling on spread on top of barely sweet bread.  Think s’mores without the chocolate.  Lemon bars without the lemon.  Buttery, sweet and gooey.

The city with the reigning World Series champs (which I willed them to win – but I’ll tell you about that later) has another star!  This winner doesn’t need any help from me, though.  It doesn’t even need working yeast!  Pretty dependable deliciousness, if you ask me.

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cakes (recipe from NY Times)

For the base:

3 tablespoons milk, room temperature

1 3/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast

6 tablespoons butter, room temperature

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 large egg

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

For the topping:

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon light corn syrup

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 large egg

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Powdered sugar, for sprinkling

1. In a small bowl, mix milk with 2 tablespoons warm water. Add yeast and whisk until yeast dissolves (you know, it may not). Mixture should foam slightly (still will be okay if it doesn’t).

2. Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and salt.  Beat in the egg.  Alternately add flour and the milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, scraping down sides of bowl between each addition.  Switch to the dough attachment, and knead dough on medium speed until it forms a smooth mass and pulls away from sides of bowl, 7 to 10 minutes.

3. Press dough into an ungreased 9-by 13-inch baking dish at least 2 inches deep. Cover dish with plastic wrap or clean tea towel, put in a warm place, and allow to rise until doubled, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl, mix corn syrup with 2 tablespoons water and the vanilla.  Beat the butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes.  Scrape down sides of bowl and beat in the egg.  Alternately add flour and corn syrup mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, scraping down sides of bowl between each addition.

5. Spoon topping in large dollops over risen cake and use a spatula to gently spread it in an even layer. Bake for 30-35 minutes.  The cake will have a golden brown top, but will still be loose in the center.  Allow to cool in pan before sprinkling with confectioners’ sugar for serving.

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2 Responses to “St. Louis Gooey Butter Cakes”


  1. […] the summer for just a second?  Ice creams, and pies disguised as breakfast.  Cakes and…more cakes.  The time has come for my back to school […]


  2. […] the apples as it is about the vehicle to eat the apples: brioche.  I have explained my woes with yeast in the past, and have even overcome some issues I’ve had with it.  But this had to be a […]


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