Gooey Butter Cake

The St. Louis recipe lives up to its name
50 Ratings
75% would make again
Gooey Butter Cake Recipe Without Boxed Cake Mix
Photo: Andrew Bui

Tamara Keefe had never had gooey butter cake before moving to St. Louis. But now, it's the main component in one of her best-selling ice creams at local microcreamery Clementine's, called (naturally) gooey butter cake. And while many recipes rely on a cake-mix base—a move that surely has its time and place—everything is made from scratch in this recipe. The aptly named treat was invented by accident, but lives in the St. Louis culinary canon right next to sweet-crusted ribs and toasted ravioli. Here's wishing all our baking fails result in something so edible.

To learn more, read “Arch Madness."

Gooey Butter Cake

Recipe adapted from Tamara Keefe, Clementine's, St. Louis, MO

Yield: One 9-by-13-inch cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus cooling time

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes, plus cooling time


For the Crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1½ cups granulated sugar

½ cup nonfat dry milk

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

12 tablespoons melted butter

For the Filling:

1 cup (8 ounces) cream cheese

3 eggs

4 cups confectioners' sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla


1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and set aside.

2. Make the crust: Mix the flour, sugar, nonfat dry milk, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Then, add the eggs and butter, and mix together to form a sticky ball. Press evenly into the bottom of the pan and set aside.

3. Make the filling: Set aside 4 tablespoons of confectioners' sugar. Place the cream cheese in a large bowl and whip it to soften using a hand mixer. Gradually add the eggs, the remaining confectioners' sugar and vanilla extract, and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture evenly over the crust in the pan.

4. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, until golden brown. The filling should be "gooey" when removed from the oven. Cool completely and cut into squares. Sprinkle with the reserved confectioners' sugar and serve.

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