Gooey Butter Cake

Gooey butter cake is a St. Louis classic.

There are many versions of how this classic Midwestern cake was invented, but one thing is for certain: Gooey butter cake originated in St. Louis.

This recipe sticks to the more traditional style with a cookie-like crust and buttery center, which caramelizes beautifully during baking. Thick and gooey, this humble golden cake is made sweeter with a final dusting of powdered sugar.

Gooey Butter Cake

Yields | 24 bars |


  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp malted milk powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup (1 stick), plus 2 Tbsp, unsalted butter, melted


  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • powdered sugar, for dusting

| Preparation – Crust | Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking oil spray. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, malted milk powder, baking powder and salt. Add the egg and melted butter; stir to incorporate. Evenly press mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking pan.

| Preparation – Filling | In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy, 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add egg; mix until combined. Add vanilla extract, corn syrup and 2 tablespoons water; mix until combined. Add flour; mix on low until combined and smooth.

| Assembly | Using an offset spatula, evenly spread the filling over the crust. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the edges and top are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar, cut and serve.

Teresa Floyd is a Kansas City-based food writer, editor for the online food publication feedfeed and contributing monthly columnist for Feast Magazine’s Sugar Rush. Find her current creations on Now, Forager, a pastry blog featuring seasonal desserts.

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