St Louis gooey butter cake – or, indeed, ‘gooey butter’ as it’s known to the born and raised – was created by mistake, legend holds it. As so many good things, it only makes me wonder: why when I make a mistake the stuff is only fit for the bin?
The legend has it that a St Louisan baker mixed up the proportions of butter and flour in a cake mix and the lot was baked rather than slung, it being the Great Depression, waste not, want not. It sounds too simple – after all the cake has two distinctive layers, one cakey, one gooey (ooey gooey, sometimes called) so unless the baker was baking two cakes on top of each other, there must have been more to it than that.
Never mind – the result matters and the result is the kind of thing that makes every cell in your body sing with joy, it’s that delishhh. Don’t even attempt to bake it if you’re on any diet regime, as it will fly right out of the window.
The gooey butter is sold as breakfast pastry and there are two variants, fiercely defended by the respective factions. One: ready cake mix and a cream cheese topping sounds lovely and easy but the yeast base and buttery sugary goo on top appeals to me with the force of the original. They didn’t have cake mix packets in the 1930s, did they?
I followed the NY Times recipe which, though apparently scorned by St Louisans, is after all attributed to Molly Killeen, the St. Louis native behind Made by Molly, a dessert company in Brooklyn.