Gooey Butter Cake

I first heard of gooey butter cake from Paula Deen, who is not from St. Louis. Her version — a quick gooey butter cake, which I’ve seen in several places — involves a cake mix crust and a topping with cream cheese. It’s not a bad confection, as they go; the cream cheese carries flavor well, and you can do fun things like pumpkin or sprinkles or chocolate chips. But “not a bad confection” is not what I want here, you know?

Enter the real thing.

Actual St. Louis gooey butter cake, the kind with no cream cheese, is a different animal. Television leads me to believe there may be some disagreement to the nature of the crust — this one is a yeast dough, rich for a bread but not overly sweet. It helps balance out the topping, which is pretty much butter, sugar and gooeyness, but in a delicious way.

This disappeared even faster than the cheesecake brownies — the roommates always seemed to be wandering off with a piece. This week’s confection will have to come much earlier in the week!

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake, almost exactly reproduced from Smitten Kitchen

Yeasty crust bit:
3 Tbsp. milk, room temp
2 Tbsp. water
1 3/4 tsp. active dry yeast
6 Tbsp. butter, room temp
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 egg
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour

Gooey filling bit:
3 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. light corn syrup
2 Tbsp. water
2 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
12 Tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temp
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 egg
1 c. plus 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

Make the crust bit first: mix the milk, water and yeast in a small bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl, cream the butter, sugar and salt together. Add in the egg and mix well. Alternate adding the flour and the yeast mixture, which should be a tiny bit foamy. When it’s all together, swap to the dough hook and beat it for a bit if you have a stand mixer, or knead it until you’re annoyed (or 7-10 minutes, whichever comes first) otherwise. It’ll still be pretty messy.

Grease a 9×13 pan or dish (I used a metal pan) and press the dough into the bottom. Cover it with a clean tea towel and let it rise until doubled, a couplethree hours.

Make the goo: Preheat the oven to 350F. Whisk the corn syrup, water and vanilla extract together in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, cream together butter, sugar and salt. When creamed, add the egg and mix well. Mix in the flour and corn syrup mixture, alternating them, until just blended. Dollop over the risen crust and spread out with your favorite spreading implement.

Bake for 25-40 minutes, until the edges are set and golden, but remove it from the oven before the middle sets. Let it cool in the pan and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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~ by iliadawry on 15 August 2012.

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