Saturday, September 10, 2011

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

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I know I promised I would share a recipe this week, and I nearly didn't! But here it is :)

If a recipe has the words 'gooey' and 'butter' in the title, you can be sure I've bookmarked it. This one has been bookmarked forever, and I finally got around to making it a couple of weeks ago.
If you haven't heard of a St. Louis Gooey Butter cake, you can read more about it here. Well, as you might know there are two variants - a yellow cake variant (usually a box mix), and a yeast coffee cake variant. No prizes for guessing which one I picked. If you know me, and my blog, you know I love working with yeast and so that's the route I took.

This recipe seems to be a very popular one from the New York Times, and I didn't make too many changes.
I was a little scared, I must admit, of all the butter in this cake. But I realized this is a wonderful cake to share. So after a few pieces were shared with friends, I found I ate only 3 pieces myself. That's not too bad, is it?

St Louis Gooey Butter Cake
Adapted from the New York Times recipe
For the Yeast Coffee Cake:
3 tbsp milk, at room temperature
2 tbsp warm water
1 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
For the topping:
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon honey
2 tbsp water
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling.

1. In a small bowl, combine the milk with the warm water. Stir in the yeast and set aside for about 10 minutes. The mixture should now be frothy and creamy.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and salt.
3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl & add the egg. Beat until thoroughly incorporated.
4. Add the flour and yeast mixture alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Make sure to scrape down the sides well between additions.
5. Beat the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
6. Press dough into an ungreased 9-by 13-inch baking dish at least 3 inches deep.
7. Cover dish with plastic wrap set in a warm place to rise until doubled. It took about 2 hours.
8. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
9. In a small bowl, mix the honey with 2 tablespoons water and the vanilla.
10. Cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy.
11. Scrape down the sides of the bowl & add the egg. Beat until thoroughly incorporated.
12. Add the flour and honey mixture alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Make sure to scrape down the sides well between additions.
13. Place large dollops of the topping mixture on top of the dough in the pan. Spread with a spatula and bake for about 40-45 minutes.
14. When done, the cake will be golden brown and slightly crunchy on top, but liquid and gooey beneath it. 15. Allow to cool before sprinkling will powdered sugar. Serve warm.

I loved, loved, LOVED that crunchy-topped, gooey topping. That was seriously the best part. The coffee cake was nice too, barely sweet, - which was perfect with that sweet, gooey topping - but I found it a little dry. I don't know if it was something I did wrong, but this small 'fault' will not stop me from making this cake again. The textures and flavor were just amazing. Next time, I am going to try to infuse some spices into this cake. I think cinnamon and nutmeg would work brilliantly!
This cake reminded me a lot of lemon bars. The gooey part has a similar texture and mouth-feel, without that lemony zing. So after I make that spice variant, maybe a lemon variant? :)

I found it tasted even yummier the next day. It's not a good idea to eat this cold, but after a few spins in the microwave, it tastes even better than it did fresh.
On a personal note - nothing to report so far about the house hunt. I will be sure to keep y'all posted. Thanks for all the support, messages, comments, emails and prayers!

P.S. - I got the chance to review another wonderful restaurant this week. Look out for the review in a couple of days!
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Three-Cookies said...

I am intrigued by this recipe, haven't seen this before. BTW you forgot to include yeast and milk in the ingredients

theharriedcook said...

Thank you so much for bringing that to my notice! I appreciate it :) I hope you try the recipe, and like it... I did! Thanks for stopping by!

Ann said...

Oh, yum!  This is ooey, gooey buttery goodness!  Beautiful pictures and it sounds delicious!

Kimby said...

I like how thorough you are about describing the textures, etc. -- could practically bite into it!  Also, the history behind it was great -- thanks for that link and this recipe!

Kitchen Belleicious said...

This has to be the ultimate cake in my opinion. Not just buttery but oeey and gooey and moist and tender. The pictures just scream EAT ME! I love it, I mean what is not to love about a cake covered in sweet milk? Great job and thanks so much for posting it. I haven't had a good gooey butter cake recipe in a long time

Heatherltallman/basilmomma said...

I love this.  I am going to try it.  I may do the box mix route though, I know that recipe (my mom makes it for church from time to time) I need a dairy recipe for an upcoming article I am doing about my trip to a dairy and I didn't want to do an ice cream :)
Great photography!!

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

Yuuuuumm... never tried a cake that has gooey filling inside.  It looks extra delicious.  I'm going to keep this special unique recipe for the time I start baking (just to keep all good recipes in hand) haha.

SpicieFoodie said...

Hi Marsha, 
I'm sorry to hear that you haven't found a house yet. Don't give up, I'm sure you will soon:) 
I have to admit that I've never heard of this cake. But now I really want a big slice! Thanks for sharing- it looks so delicious. 

Erin said...

I want some of this cake now!!  The crunchy top with the moist cake, delicious!

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