I’m fairly certain that only three words are necessary here: Gooey Butter Cake.
If I were you, I’d skip all the way to the bottom of this post, straight to the recipe.
Let’s be honest, you’re not going to miss much.
I’ll wax rhapsodic for a while about how, as I was cooking, I kept sneaking tastes of the cake until I was concerned that I might not be hungry at all when my main dish was ready. Then, I might make a joke.
I’ll tell you about how, some sort of alchemy happens when the cake bakes, so, despite the short ingredient list, there’s a rich and deep flavor. Think cotton candy mixed with creme brulee. If you didn’t know what went into the cakebutter, sugar, flour; the basics, reallyyou would think that it had to have a secret ingredient. Your guests will. Indeed, this is one of those things like whole wheat chocolate chip cookies or the bacon pizza at the Famous Ray’s on 9th Avenue in Chelsea where the sum is better than its parts. I’ll go on a little bit about this.
And, after a few paragraphs, I’ll ultimately conclude that, while everything I’ve said is true, it also simply doesn’t do justice to St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake. It’s one of those things that you really just have to try yourself.
So, what are you waiting for?
*With apologies to René Magritte.
For the Cake:
3 TBS Whole Milk, at room temperature
1 3/4 tsps active dry yeast
6 TBS unsalted butter at room temperature
3 TBS granulated sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 large egg
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
For the topping:
3 TBS plus 1 tsp light corn syrup
2 1/2 tsps vanilla extract
12 TBS (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 large egg
1 cup plus 3 TBS all-purpose flour
In a small bowl, mix milk with 2 tablespoons warm water. Add yeast and whisk gently until it dissolves. Mixture should foam slightly.
Cream butter, sugar and salt. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat in the egg. Alternately add flour and the milk mixture, scraping down sides of bowl between each addition. Beat dough on medium speed until it forms a smooth mass and pulls away from sides of bowl, 7 to 10 minutes.
Press dough into an ungreased 9-by 13-inch baking dish at least 2 inches deep. Cover dish with plastic wrap, set in a warm place, and allow to rise until doubled, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
While the oven is heating, prepare the topping. In a small bowl, mix corn syrup with 2 tablespoons water and the vanilla. Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream 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, scraping down sides of bowl between each addition.
Spoon topping in large dollops over risen cake and use a spatula to gently spread it in an even layer. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes; cake will rise and fall in waves and have a golden brown top, but will still be liquid in center when done.
Makes 16-20 servings