Goshen Gourmet: St. Louis' Gooey Butter Cake
This is another one in a series of posts about the food culture of the St. Louis area.
If you're relocating here, we indigenous people might be eating some things that puzzle you -- or downright horrify you -- when you first see them on a plate.
Today's installment features one of the top sweets found in this metro area along the Mississippi River -- Gooey Butter Cake.
This heart-stopping treat was created in St. Louis old-school bakeries and has been a staple of life here since at least the 1930s. It started as a baking mistake involving an underdone concoction that ended up tasting pretty good.
A great Gooey Butter Cake involves the same ingredients that could be used to make a standard yellow cake plus a huge amount of butter, more than a dusting of powdered sugar and a willingness to remove the cake from the oven before it is done.
A traditional GBC has a vanilla undertone, but it is acceptable to also taste a bit of almond or hint of lemon in the batter.
Recently Gooey Butter Cake has taken on a gourmet patina. The square you see on this page is from Park Avenue Coffee in the Lafayette Square neighborhood of St. Louis. They are known for their tasty twists on the traditional recipe, creating the cakes in more than 75 flavors at last count. Examples include Pumpkin, Strawberry, Chocolate Chip, Caramel Apple, Key Lime and many others.
Park Avenue won, but Gooey Louie put up a good fight.You can still catch re-runs of the episode on the cable channel.
You also can find versions of the cakes at St. Louis' largest grocery stores with the best attempt on sale at Dierberg's bakery.
Here's more on the history of Gooey Butter Cake and a recipe so you can try this treat at home.
If you're relocating to St. Louis' Illinois suburbs, you'll want to know all about this decadent dessert so you can fit in with the locals.
You can have GBC for breakfast like we do. Or, you can dress it up with Ted Drewes Frozen Custard from the historic stand on Route 66 for the ultimate St. Louis-style dessert.