Gooey Butter Cake

This is a dish native to St. Louis; apparently it originated during the Great Depression in the German section in the southern part of town[. It almost always starts with store-bought or leftover yeast coffee cake or danishes that are cut up and fit into a buttered pan. The "gooey butter" part comes from the topping, which is poured over the cake pieces and then baked.]

Total Time:
1 hr 15 min
15 min
35 min
25 min

12 servings


Generously butter 1 (9 by 13-inch) baking pan.

Cut the coffee cake into 2-inch pieces and press pieces in the baking pan to form a snug single layer. In a bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter, sugar, and salt until very smooth. Add the egg, then beat in the corn syrup until smooth. Add the water and vanilla and, when incorporated, lower the speed to low and add the flour, mixing until just combined.

Using a fork, pierce the coffee cake all over. Pour the gooey butter batter over the top of the cake pieces, using the back of a spoon or a spatula to spread evenly. Let stand for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake until the butter is bubbly and golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes, being careful not to over bake, as the cake will not be gooey.

Cool to room temperature, cut into squares, and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar to serve.

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    had this cake every year for thanksgiving as a child loved it now I can cook it for my kids.
    I loved this recipe!!!!!! It was soooo easy to make. I make it for Thanksgiving every year. However, I replace the pumpkin with sweet potato pie filling instead. It is just as good and it is a remix on the traditional sweet potato pie. I am sooo glad that you made this recipe. I couldn't dream of having Thanksgiving without it.
    Oh how this brought back a little bit of St Louis and the bakeries there. This definitely reminded me of the St Louis style Gooey Butter Cake. My family loved it. Thank you for this recipe
    These are easy and LOVED by everyone!

    Living in the south, sometimes this need a little longer cooking time if it is an especially humid day.
    Sorry Emeril it seems like Paula Deen has cornered the market on Gooey Butter Cakes. Yours unfortunately does not cut the mustard or the butter. Call Paula I am sure she will help you.
    This was terribly disappointing. As a native St. Louisan, I am quite familiar with this treat, and this recipe did it no justice. The "gooey" part wasn't even GOOEY! I'm glad Emeril recognized this St. Louis staple, but it just didn't cut it.
    Awesome and easy to make, takes me back home to St. Louie!
    yum, yum, yum, yummmmmmm! The cake didn't last 10 min at the party!
    My grandfather owned a German bakery in St Louis and made "butter cakes." This is just like his were and delighted my entire family who thought the recipe was lost when he closed the bakery and subsequently passed away.
    Very rich and interesting. It was gooey and sweet. Won't do it again.
    This was unexpectedly good! I was hunting for something different but easy for a boat club brunch. Everyone loved it!
    This is a fast easy sweet snack!! The ingredients for diversity are endless!!! Thanks, Sharon Mcbride, Bayside Beach, MD
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