Gooey Butter Cake is a St. Louis classic that everyone should try! A buttery, ooey gooey filling on top of a sweet dough base, and crispy edges surrounding creamy center…it’s utterly divine!

squares of gooey butter cake stacked up on top of each other

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

This St. Louis gooey butter cake is addictively sweet and wonderfully delicious! Kids and adult alike are going to love this unconventional, ooey gooey cake.

You’ll think you’ve gone to heaven as soon you get a bite! The texture is unbeatable, and the flavor is just delicious.

This cake also inspired my Gooey Butter Cookies, Gooey Chocolate Cake, Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake, and of course these Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies. All are so delicious!

Why You’ll Love this Gooey Butter Cake Recipe:

  • GOOEY: It’s right in the name. The buttery filling will melt in your mouth!
  • CRISPY: The crust comes out with lovely crispy edges, which perfectly balance out the creamy cake.
  • VERSATILE: This makes for a great weekday treat, dessert, or even to pair with your coffee!

This is the perfect sweet treat for parties and game day! The recipe serves up 18 indulgent squares of deliciousness, so it’s perfect for pleasing the crowd.

slice of gooey butter cake on a spatula
close up on a fork slicing into a piece of cake

How to Make Gooey Butter Cake

Be sure to see the recipe card below for full ingredients & instructions!

  1. Mix your dough ingredients to form a stretchy dough.
  2. Transfer the dough into a prepped baking pan, spread into an even layer, and allow to rise.
  3. Mix your filling ingredients in a stand mixer bowl.
  4. Spread the filling evenly over the dough base and bake until golden brown.
  5. Dust with powdered sugar, allow to rest, then serve and enjoy!
how to make gooey butter cake step by step photos
What is gooey butter cake?

Gooey butter cake is a St. Louis classic! It consists of a layer of sweet dough topped with a sugary butter-based filling. It’s baked until crispy around the edges and creamy in the center. Some describe the texture as a cross between a blondie and a lemon bar.

Why is it called gooey butter cake?

According to legend, a German baker living in St. Louis added the wrong proportions of ingredients in the coffee cake batter he was making, and it turned into a gooey, pudding-like filling. It was an instant hit, and has been a classic ever since!

Why doesn’t this gooey butter cake recipe use cream cheese?

This is a recipe for the traditional St. Louis butter cake. The traditional recipe is made with a yeast-raised sweet dough and sweet, buttery filling. The more commercial variation (often called ooey gooey butter cake) consists of yellow cake mix with a cream cheese filling.

Can I make gooey butter cake with boxed cake mix?

Although a yeasted cake base is more traditional, you can absolutely make the cake layer with a 15.25-ounce box of yellow cake mix. Use just the cake mix (not any of the ingredients listed on the box), and mix it with ½ cup of melted butter and 2 large room temperature eggs.

What should I do if my yeast isn’t foamy?

If your yeast isn’t foamy, it’s either expired or was killed by milk that is too hot. Check the temperature of the milk, and aim for 100-110°F. Any hotter could kill the yeast. If the temperature is good and the yeast still doesn’t foam, your yeast is probably expired and should be discarded.

Does gooey butter cake need to be refrigerated?

Nope! Gooey butter cake can be left at room temperature for up to 2 days. For longer storage, you can put it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

This simple yet indulgent cake is perfect with a glass of milk or a nice iced coffee.

overhead view of St. Louis gooey butter cake
overhead view of gooey butter cake cut into squares

Make Ahead Instructions

Gooey butter cake is one of those desserts that taste even BETTER the next day. Time permitting, bake the cake 1 day in advance of when you plan to serve it.

Storage Instructions

Store leftover gooey butter cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Serve at room temperature.

Freezing Instructions

Freeze gooey butter cake tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and set in an airtight container or Ziplock bag for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before enjoying.

Butter Cake Variations

  • Add ¼-⅓ cup of unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder to the cake and 1-2 tablespoons to the filling for a chocolate butter cake.
  • Stir a few teaspoons of cinnamon into the cake and filling for a cinnamon butter cake.
  • Drizzle raspberry sauce over the filling and swirl with a toothpick or toss some raspberries or strawberries into the filling before baking .
  • Add chocolate chips or chopped nuts to the filling before baking.

Tips for the Best Gooey Butter Cake

  • Grease AND flour the baking pan for easier release.
  • Use REAL butter. Most of the flavor in this cake comes from the butter, so don’t use any other substitute.
  • Use room temperature ingredients for the smoothest mixture.
  • Leave the oven door closed until about 10 minutes before the baking time is up. Opening the oven door before then reduces the oven temperature and can cause the cake to collapse.
  • Check the cake about 10 minutes before baking time is up. You don’t want to overbake this cake or it won’t be gooey. The center should jiggle just a bit, but the edges should be set.
  • Let the cake cool completely before slicing. It will fall apart if sliced before then.
  • Use a hot knife and wipe it down between cuts for cleaner slices of cake.
close up on a stack of ooey gooey butter cake pieces

This homemade gooey butter cake is such a great example of simple ingredients making an indulgent dessert! The mix of creamy and crispy textures makes these gorgeous squares so addictive. If you love brownies, blondies or anything sweet, then this is for you!

If you make this recipe be sure to upload a photo in the comment section below or leave a rating. Enjoy!

By Papa

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