For some reason, be it St. Patrick’s Day or what, I got a real hankering for Gooey Butter Cake. If you’re not from the St. Louis area, you may have no idea of what Gooey Butter Cake is. If you are from around here, chances are you have eaten your share. History is that this cake was actually a mistake made back in the 1930s by a St. Louis bakery when two different types of butter were confused in a recipe. The baker, being thrifty-minded and as it was the depression, decided he’d make the best of the mistake and sell the cakes anyway. And sell, they did! So from what started out as a mistake, became a St. Louis tradition.
I was looking around the internet for the recipe and many of the recipes I read seemed much more complicated than what I remembered. After browsing around for a while, it suddenly hit me that I had this recipe and it was included in one of my old church cookbooks. This particular cookbook, complied by the Mothers Club of the parochial school, was printed in 1977 and remains on my shelf today. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dug this book out to find a recipe for something I’ve eaten many times before. It’s definitely worn, used and loved.
This two-step recipe is very easy to make and starts out using a yellow cake mix. I don’t know if you have noticed, but as with many other things (boxes of cereal, etc), the volume included in the box has been reduced. What was originally 18.25 oz by volume is now 16.5 oz and in some brand mixes, has been reduced even further, to 15.25 oz. Same price for lesser amount. So how does this reduced volume affect your recipes? I’m not really sure, it would seem that the ratio of liquids to solids would be different. It definitely makes for smaller cakes, and fewer, less full cupcakes, even though I’ve read that some of the manufacturers deny this. Since this recipe is over 35 years old, I thought to be safe, I would do as is recommended on some websites and add an extra 1/4 cup flour to the recipe.
Gooey Butter Cake
For bottom layer, mix together:
1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick melted butter
and press into a 9×12 pan.
For top layer, mix together:
2 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 – 8 oz. cream cheese
and pour over cake mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until cake is browned.
Click here for a PDF of this recipe.