Heritage Meals

Last year really took the cake out of my pantry, flinging chunks of greasy icing staining my kitchen into a Jackson Pollock masterpiece (no thanks.)  It was time to take a quick break from the real world and visit my good friend in St. Louis.  After a very short road trip (you can read more about my trip to St. Louis here), we filled the next 24 hours with food (an amazing mango saIsa that I still need to get a recipe for), from Grandma’s Cookies’ ice cream scoop shaped chocolate chip cookies to Prasino’s lamb burger (and Skewers) both of which I highly recommend.  We topped it off with not just one St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake, but with two, all on the first day.

Regional dishes from the Midwest on PrettyPolishedPerfect.com

Determined to replicate the two completely different Gooey Butter Cakes we had that day, I googled St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake and read a few from the first page turned to google to begin my research.  First up was Food.com’s St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake, a generally uninspired recipe found so many other places you can’t possibly know where it originated from, but was the recipe my friend tested – and recommends halving the amount of powdered sugar (she was right, by the way.)  Next up was a proud St. Louisan (TidyMom.com) with a strong opinion but with a different oven temperature (325oF.) Of course, the NY Times or any other fancy publication makes their own ridiculous version that honestly I just do not have time for.  It also calls for light corn syrup. Does anyone else remember those lame commercials that aired awhile back, attempting to “politely” educate us with an over-simplification of what high fructose corn syrup is – all set in a beautiful picnic scene?)  I made three different cakes before I found the perfect recipe.  One egg leaves the crust too dense (and overbaked in my opinion), but two eggs makes it just right!  4 Cups of powdered sugar is not my taste, so I definitely cut it in half in all three recipes.  I tried a version with egg yolks and egg whites and it was everyone’s least favorite.  I definitely increased the butter by at least 50% because come on, butter (like Paula Deen!)

Regional dishes from the Midwest on PrettyPolishedPerfect.com

I took a little from each recipe and found what I think is the perfect recipe to represent the infamous St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake:

St. Louis Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

15 ounces Yellow Cake Mix
2 large eggs
8 T melted butter (unsalted)

8 oz softened cream cheese
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 C powdered sugar

For the Crust:
Combine cake mix with eggs and melted butter until mixed.  Press into bottom of pan, set aside.

For the Filling:
Cream the cream cheese on high, then incorporate eggs and almond extract until creamy.  Slowly add powdered sugar until completely mixed in.  Pour over crust.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-35 minutes.  The middle will not look done – that’s okay because it needs to set and you want it a bit gooey (hence the name!)  Cool completely before serving.

Regional dishes from the Midwest on PrettyPolishedPerfect.com

My favorite kitchen tools for this recipe (and tools that are generally good to just have on hand) are my springform pans (I only use 9″), shallow cooling pans, white cake platters, fancy gold forks and unique dessert bowls, like these found at wayfair.com.


Erin B.

Kitchen Tools St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake
Erin B.











This post brought to you in part by Wayfair.com – but all thoughts, opinions (and this recipe) are my own.


  1. Michael Blanford says:

    Was this also called a cheese kooka by any chance?

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