Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  • Total: 60 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Servings: 24 to 30 servings
  • Yield: 1 pan

Ooey gooey butter cake is one of those cakes you may see a lot at potlucks and parties. It's very simple to make and is extremely rich.

Butter cake is baked with basic ingredients: butter, sugar, eggs, flour, and leavening agents such as baking powder or baking soda. It is considered as one of the quintessential cakes in American baking.

Butter cakes are traditionally made using a creaming method in which the butter and sugar are first beaten until fluffy to incorporate air into the butter. Eggs are then added gradually, followed by alternating portions of wet and dry ingredients. Butter cakes are typically rich and moist when stored at room temperature, but they tend to stiffen, dry out, and lose flavor when refrigerated.

Gooey butter cake originated in St. Louis during the 1930s. As the story goes, the cake was first made by accident by a St. Louis-area baker who was trying to make regular cake batter but reversed the proportions of butter and flour.

Gooey butter cake is usually about an inch tall and often dusted with powdered sugar. While sweet and rich, it is somewhat firm and can be cut into pieces like a brownie. Gooey butter cake is often served as a type of coffee cake- not as a formal dessert cake. 

The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission highlights a place on its website called Gooey Louie - The Place for Gooey Butter Cakes. "Come taste the cake unique to St. Louis. Voted Best Gooey Butter Cake by St. Louisans seven years in a row: 2009-2015. All flavors baked daily from scratch in small batches."

This ooey gooey butter cake recipe calls for an entire half cup of butter. That, combined with 8 ounces of cream cheese, make these particularly rich.

Ingredients

  • 1 (18-ounce) box yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 4 eggs, divided
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Optional: 1 cup chopped nuts (such as pecans or walnuts)
  • Optional: Powder sugar for dusting

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ooey Gooey Butter Cake ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease 9x13 baking pan.

    greased baking pan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Combine cake mix and butter with pastry blender until crumbly.

    cake mix and butter combined in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Stir in 2 eggs.

    eggs added to the cake mix and butter mixture

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Press mixture into prepared pan.

    cake mixture pressed into the pan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese in a medium bowl until fluffy, about 1 minute.

    cream cheese beat with a hand mixer

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Add the two remaining eggs, and gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until combined.

    eggs, sugar and vanilla added to the cream cheese mixture

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  8. Fold in chopped nuts.

    chopped nuts added to the cream cheese mixture

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  9. Spread batter on unbaked crust. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

    cream cheese mixture poured over the cake mixture in a baking dish

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  10. Cool completely in pan set on a wire rack.

    cake in a baking dish cooling on a wire rack

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  11. Cut into small pieces and dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

    Ooey Gooey Butter Cake in a baking dish

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

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