Gooey Butter Cake: Recipes, Variations, and Top Picks from St. Louis

Gooey Butter Cake: Recipes, Variations, and Top Picks from St. Louis

Gooey Butter Cake traces its roots to St. Louis, Missouri, from the 1930s. A baker’s accidental use of proportions resulted in a uniquely textured and flavorful creation. Instead of discarding the mistake, the baker sold it, leading to its popularity. St. Louis residents embraced this dessert, and it’s now a regional specialty.

Key Ingredients and Flavors

Gooey Butter Cake consists of a few key components. The base includes flour, sugar, butter, and eggs to create a dense, buttery foundation. The topping involves cream cheese, powdered sugar, and eggs to form a gooey, sweet layer. The cake combines a buttery richness with a tangy cream cheese flavor, offering a delightful contrast in each bite.

How to Make Gooey Butter Cake

Essential Ingredients

To make a Gooey Butter Cake, gather these essential ingredients:

  • Flour: 2 cups of all-purpose flour for the base.
  • Sugar: 2 cups of granulated sugar for sweetness in both layers.
  • Butter: 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, melted for richness.
  • Eggs: 4 large eggs, divided into 1 for the base and 3 for the topping.
  • Cream Cheese: 8 ounces of cream cheese for the gooey layer.
  • Powdered Sugar: 4 cups of powdered sugar for the topping’s sweetness.
  • Vanilla Extract: 1 teaspoon for a hint of vanilla flavor.
  1. Prepare the Oven and Pan: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan to prevent sticking.
  2. Make the Base: In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, 2 cups of granulated sugar, 1/2 cup of melted butter, and 1 egg. Mix well until the ingredients form a dough-like consistency. Press the dough evenly into the greased baking pan.
  3. Prepare the Topping: In another bowl, beat 8 ounces of cream cheese until smooth. Add 3 eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition. Gradually mix in 4 cups of powdered sugar and continue beating until smooth. Stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  4. Assemble the Cake: Pour the cream cheese mixture over the base, spreading it evenly.
  5. Bake the Cake: Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes. The edges should be golden brown, and the center should remain gooey.
  6. Cool and Serve: Let the cake cool completely in the pan before slicing. Sprinkle additional powdered sugar on top, if desired.

Follow these steps to enjoy a classic Gooey Butter Cake with a perfect balance of a buttery base and gooey topping.

Variations of Gooey Butter Cake

Vegan and Gluten-Free Options

Creating vegan and gluten-free Gooey Butter Cake variants enhances accessibility. For a vegan version, replace the butter with vegan margarine and the cream cheese with a plant-based alternative like cashew cream cheese. Substitute the eggs with flaxseed or chia seed gel (1 tablespoon of seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons of water equals one egg).

For a gluten-free option, use a gluten-free flour blend instead of regular flour. Ensure that all other ingredients, like the baking powder, are gluten-free certified. The process remains the same, ensuring you maintain the classic texture and taste.

Creative Flavor Twists

Diversifying Gooey Butter Cake with creative flavors adds a unique touch.

  1. Chocolate: Add cocoa powder to the base and topping, or incorporate chocolate chips for added richness.
  2. Pumpkin: Mix in pumpkin puree and spice blend (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves) for a seasonal twist.
  3. Lemon: Use lemon extract and zest in both the base and topping to introduce a refreshing citrus note.
  4. Espresso: Infuse the cake with espresso powder to offer a caffeinated boost.
  5. Berry: Incorporate fresh or frozen berries into the topping for a fruity dimension.

Each flavor twist involves slight adjustments in ingredients while maintaining the original preparation steps, ensuring a seamless introduction to diverse taste profiles.

Utilize these variations to cater to different dietary needs and flavor preferences, expanding the classic Gooey Butter Cake’s appeal.

Health and Nutritional Information

Caloric Content

Gooey Butter Cake, while delicious, is calorie-dense and should be eaten in moderation. A typical serving, about 2×2 inches, contains approximately 220 to 270 calories. The calorie count varies based on the specific ingredients used, such as full-fat versus low-fat cream cheese. Additional ingredients like extra sugar or chocolate chips can also increase the overall calorie content.

NutrientAmount per Serving (2×2 inches)
Calories220 – 270
Total Fat10 – 15g
Saturated Fat6 – 8g
Cholesterol60 – 80mg
Sodium150 – 200mg
Total Carbohydrates30 – 35g
Sugars20 – 25g
Protein3 – 5g

Considerations for Dietary Restrictions

Gooey Butter Cake typically includes ingredients like butter, cream cheese, and wheat flour, which aren’t suitable for everyone. If you have dietary restrictions, consider the following adaptations:

  • Vegan: Use vegan margarine, plant-based cream cheese, and a flaxseed or chia seed gel as egg replacements.
  • Gluten-Free: Substitute a gluten-free flour blend and certified gluten-free baking powder to make the cake accessible for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Be mindful of added sugars and fats in these adaptations, which can still affect overall health. Opt for lighter versions of alternative ingredients when possible to keep the nutritional profile balanced.

Where to Find the Best Gooey Butter Cake

Famous Bakeries and Cafés

You’ll discover some of the best Gooey Butter Cake at renowned bakeries and cafés in St. Louis. Park Avenue Coffee offers over 70 unique flavors, including traditional and seasonal varieties. Gooey Louie is famous for its rich, classic cake, often praised for its authenticity and texture. For a modern twist, visit Russell’s on Macklind, where you’ll find a perfected recipe that blends innovation and tradition.

Online Options for Gooey Butter Cake

You can also order Gooey Butter Cake online if you’re not near a St. Louis bakery. Park Avenue Coffee’s website offers nationwide shipping for all their flavors. Gooey Louie provides an online store featuring its signature cake, shipped fresh to your door. Tastes of St. Louis offers a curated selection of St. Louis treats, including a variety of Gooey Butter Cakes from local bakeries. By choosing these online options, you ensure quick access to this delicious dessert regardless of your location.


Gooey Butter Cake isn’t just a dessert; it’s a slice of St. Louis tradition that continues to delight with every bite. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, exploring its various forms—from classic recipes to modern dietary adaptations—offers a rich culinary experience. Don’t miss out on sampling this treat from renowned spots like Park Avenue Coffee, Gooey Louie, and Russell’s on Macklind. And if you’re not in St. Louis, you can still indulge by ordering online from these top bakeries. Enjoy the gooey goodness wherever you are!

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