It's a mashup of two very different cakes: an elegant, yeasted bottom layer - as refined and establishment as a twinset and pearls - and an over the top, brassy, bottle blonde bombshell up above. Unlikely friends but they complement each other beautifully, coming together in a single cake that is, as advertised, gooey and buttery... oozy and sweet and utterly moreish. The edges are particularly good - chewy and crisp. Grab a corner if you can.
St Louis Gooey Butter Cake
Adapted from a recipe in the New York Times
You can buy corn syrup from good delis, but you could also try substituting with golden syrup.
For the cake
3 tablespoons/45 milliliters milk at room temperature
1 ¾ teaspoons/5 grams active dry yeast
6 tablespoons/85 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
3 tablespoons/45 grams sugar
1 teaspoon/5 grams kosher salt (I use Maldon)
1 large egg
1 ¾ cups/215 grams all-purpose flour
For the topping
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon/50ml light corn syrup
2 1/2 teaspoons/10ml vanilla extract
12 tablespoons/170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups/300g sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (I use Maldon)
1 large egg
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons/145g flour
icing (confectioners') sugar, for dusting
In a small bowl, mix milk with 2 tablespoons warm water. Add yeast and whisk gently until it dissolves. Mixture should foam slightly.
Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and salt. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat in the egg. Alternately add flour and the milk mixture, scraping down sides of bowl between each addition. Beat dough on medium speed until it forms a smooth mass and pulls away from sides of bowl, 7 to 10 minutes.
Press dough into an ungreased 9-by 13-inch baking dish at least 2 inches deep. Cover dish with plastic wrap or clean tea towel, put in a warm place, and allow to rise until doubled, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. To prepare topping, in a small bowl, mix corn syrup with 2 tablespoons water and the vanilla. Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat in the egg. Alternately add flour and corn syrup mixture, scraping down sides of bowl between each addition.
Spoon topping in large dollops over risen cake and use a spatula to gently spread it in an even layer. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes; cake will rise and fall in waves and have a golden brown top, but will still be liquid in centre when done. Allow to cool in pan before sprinkling with confectioners’ sugar for serving.