Authentic St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

Total Time
2hrs 10mins
Prep 25 mins
Cook 1 hr 45 mins

There are many great gooey butter cake recipes out there but this is different from the cake mix variety because it has a yeast dough bottom. I grew up eating these cakes from a little bakery in Clayton, Mo and this recipe is as close to those as I've ever come across.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. For Dough:.
  2. In large bowl cream sugar, shortening and salt until light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg and beat well 1 minute until well blended.
  4. Dissolve yeast in the warm milk.
  5. Add flour, then milk-yeast mix and the vanilla to the sugar mixture.
  6. Mix 3 minutes. (Use dough hook if possible).
  7. Turn dough onto lightly floured board and knead 1 minute.
  8. Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a towel.
  9. Set in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.
  10. Than divide dough into 2 equal pieces.
  11. Pat (or use a rolling pin)each half into a circle about the size of the cake pan. (I usually use two 9" cake pans. Springform pans can also be used.).
  12. Transfer dough to each pan and pat up the sides so the gooey butter doesn't run underneath.
  13. Prick a few times with a fork to keep from bubbling up during baking.
  14. For gooey butter:.
  15. In large bowl, combine sugar, butter and salt.
  16. Add egg and corn syrup.
  17. Mix enough to blend well.
  18. Add the flour, water and vanilla, mixing well.
  19. Divide the gooey butter in 2 equal parts.
  20. Spread over dough in each pan.
  21. Let stand for 20 minutes.
  22. While cakes are standing, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C).
  23. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until topping starts to turn golden.
  24. Do not over bake or the topping will not be gooey.
  25. Let cakes cool completely on wire rack.
  26. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.
  27. Serve at room temperature and store uneaten cakes in fridge.
Most Helpful

I grew up in the St. Louis area. I'm 62 years old, so I've had more than my share of real St. Louis Gooey Butter Cakes, and this recipe doesn't even come close. I spent a whole afternoon preparing it, and ended up throwing it out. It not only didn't taste like Gooey Butter Cake, it was awful.

mastevens January 31, 2011

Ok. I grew up in St. Louis. On his way home from work at 5 a.m. my dad would pick up Gooey Butter cakes from a bakery on Telegraph Rd close to Lemay Ferry Rd. (A mom and pop storefront no longer in business) It was comparable to the other bakeries in the area. I made this recipe today for my son's birthday and he thinks it's awesome but doesn't know really how it's supposed to taste. The center has a flour taste and is hard on the top and gooey and pasty inside. The cake is definitely missing something, perhaps cream cheese? It should NOT taste like flour. Period.

mustang October 19, 2013

I made this recipe to the T. Though it was a decent cake, the yeast flavor was pretty pronounced and overpowered the other flavors, giving it a bit of an off taste. I also found that making it in the 2 9" pans, that they baked short and seemed like it needed more height. My dough did rise enough, yeast was fresh, etc. Maybe it was me...I dunno, but it seems like it needs a bit of tweaking to get it right.

ForeverMama February 15, 2013