Gooey Butter Cake

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I’m beginning to feel badly for starting a cooking blog during the two craziest months of the year.  I was running a big dance event when I started this, then had finals, and now I’m studying cramming for the LSAT, the Law School Admissions Test, which I’m taking on June 8th.  I’ve been super lax in commenting on the other SMS’ers posts, and this week completely forgot to post the cherry pie!  I have a whole bunch of recipes I’ve made and taken pictures of in the last month, but haven’t gotten around to posting them, so I’m going to try to kick my butt and get them up.  In the meantime, I’m really sorry for being an absent commenter, and I will try harder to get posts up and comment on everyone’s pages, pinkie promise!

Anyway, I made this cake about a month and a half ago.  Mike’s on the school’s Formula SAE team, which builds racecars and takes them to competitions around the country.  In April he was in Virginia for a week with the team at their biggest competition of the year.  There were 21 total teams there from universities around the country, and U of I came in third!  When Mike got back, I made him a tray of butter cake, since it’s just about his favorite kind of cake there is.  I think it’s a local Springfield thing, because I’d never heard of it before we started dating.  In fact, the cookbook I have describes it, saying “Some people say Gooey Butter Cake was the result of an accident in a Springfield bakery.  Others say it was created in St. Louis.  Whatever the source, buttery, rich Gooey Butter Cakes are a Springfield tradition.”  It’s basically a very thin, buttery cake with a nice vanilla flavor, which is then topped with a sort of cream cheese icing, and then baked.  It is very rich and sweet, with a nice bit of “crunch” from the topping to contrast the gooeyness of the insides.

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Your ingredients.  You can make this using a boxed cake mix, or not.  I used the boxed cake mix for speed, and because I couldn’t find dry milk powder that day.

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I love this stuff.  It’s a cooking spray with flour mixed in, so you don’t have to grease and flour a pan separately.  It just cuts down on a lot of time.  There are a lot of companies that make it, and I don’t really notice a difference between brands.

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Mix all of your cake ingredents, or your cake mix, and press the dough (it will be very stiff, which is why I don’t consider it a batter) into your greased pan.

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Whip your cream cheese until it is creamy, then add your eggs and vanilla.  If you’re lucky, they’ll make a smiley face!

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Add your powdered sugar, and mix well.

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Pour the topping over the unbaked cake dough…

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and spread it out to the edges of the pan.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  The topping will be browned and shiny from the baked sugar.  If your oven heats unevenly, turn the cake halfway through.  I didn’t, which is why one side of the cake is browned and the other isn’t.  Oops!

I don’t have a picture of the inside of the cake (it’s not nice to bring people cakes with a slice cut out), but the layers kind of meld together, although the top of the cake is usually more gooey than the bottom.  And goodness gracious, is this stuff good!

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This book is called “Honest to Goodness”, and is produced by the Junior League of Springfield, Illinois.  Mike’s mom gave it to me for Christmas a couple of years ago, and it’s full of wonderful recipes, everything from down-home classics to more upscale recipes.  It also has a lot of little tidbits about the Lincoln family, including excepts from letters they wrote and menus for various state dinners.  It’s really a wonderful book!  If you’d like to get a copy for yourself, you can order one following the directions here.

Gooey Butter Cake

Makes one 16×11 inch cake

3 c. cake flour

1 ¾ c. sugar

1/3 c. dry milk powder

2 ½ tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 c. plus 2 Tbsp. butter, melted

2 eggs

1 ½ tsp. vanilla


8 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 pound powdered sugar

Sift together cake flour, sugar, dry milk, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  Add melted butter, eggs, and vanilla.  Beat together to make a thick batter.  Spread into greased 16×11 inch jelly roll pan (I think my pan is 17×12 inches, but it works fine).

Prepare topping by beating cream cheese until creamy; add eggs and vanilla.  Blend in powdered sugar.  Spread topping on cake batter.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until top is golden brown.  Cool and cut into 2-inch squares.

An 18 1/4 ounce yellow cake mix, without pudding added, may be substituted for dry cake ingredients.  Reduce melted butter to 1/2 cup and omit vanilla.  Prepare cake batter by combining cake mix, melted butter, and eggs.  I made this with a cake mix with pudding added once (I wasn’t paying attention when I was shopping), and I think I actually liked that one better).


1 Comment

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One response to “Gooey Butter Cake

  1. Oh, the LSAT is horrible. But, it will be over soon! And you’ll be so happy when it’s done; it’s really an amazing feeling! Good luck; I know you’ll do great. I just signed up for a bar review course a few months ago (and already, I’m feeling the nerves. Plus, can we talk about how BARBRI costs $3800?!) Annnyway, this gooey butter cake looks awesome!! Stay strong; you’re almost done.

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