Learn how to make gooey butter cake without a cake mix. This easy made from scratch gooey butter cake recipe will leave you craving more! This recipe is always a hit with the whole family!

While many classic gooey butter cake recipes start with a box of cake mix for the easiest shortcut, sometimes you want a cake without a trip to the store. Make one from scratch with very little effort and all the reward!

Learn how to make gooey butter cake without a cake mix. This easy made from scratch gooey butter cake recipe will leave you craving more!

First off, I LOVE gooey butter cake – being raised in St. Louis a love for gooey butter has been engrained in me. Here we eat it for breakfast and dessert, because why not?

It’s something we’ve always made when hosting out-of-town guests and is always a crowd pleaser.

Christina from Dessert for Two mixed it up and made gooey butter without a cake mix, and I know you’re going to love it, so I’m sharing it with you today! For more of her effortless and delicious recipes, you can find her cookbook here.

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What is Gooey Butter Cake?

Gooey Butter Cake is a St. Louis staple that goes back to the 1930s. It’s said that the dessert was created when a German baker made a mistake while trying to make a coffee cake.

The mistake in ingredients left time with a cake that was completely gooey. To the satisfaction of many, it was a happy accident that left everyone with an amazing new treat.

Ever since then the recipe has traveled from house to house of St. Louis families everywhere. Gooey butter cake really got it’s time to shine when Paula Dean made her own gooey butter cake. Now the dessert is widely known from those all over the country to enjoy as much as us St. Louisans.

Why You’ll Love this Gooey Butter Cake

  • Pantry ingredients- it starts with a cake mix!
  • Decadent and sweet
  • Great for breakfast, brunch, parties and more
  • So easy to make
how to make gooey butter cake without a cake mix - so easy and always a crowd pleaser

See the full printable recipe card below.

Gooey Butter Cake Ingredients

  • Butter – Salted or unsalted, your preference. Learn How to Soften Butter here.
  • Sugar
  • Eggs 
  • Salt
  • Flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Cream Cheese – Full fat cream cheese is recommended
  • Brown Sugar – Light or dark, your preference.
  • Vanilla
  • Powdered Sugar – Also known as confectioners sugar or icing sugar, this gives the cake it’s amazing consistency and is perfect for sprinkling on top!

How To Make A Gooey Butter Cake Without A Cake Mix

  1. Prep – Preheat and grease baking dish.
  2. Crust – Combine crust ingredients and spread into pan.
  3. Filling – Combine and top crust with filling.
  4. Garnish – Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
  5. Bake – It will remain slightly gooey.
  6. Enjoy!
easy gooey butter cake recipe without a mix

Julie's Tips

  • Grease baking dish or line baking dish with parchment for easy removal.
  • Use an 8×8, 8×8, 9×11 or 9×13 pan. Just adjust baking time – the thicker your gooey butter cake is, the longer it will take to bake.
  • It’s done when a crust has formed on the top, yet the cake is slightly gooey and jiggles a bit when you shake the dish.
  • Make it ahead or bake and enjoy when it’s warm.

How to Store

  • Room Temperature – Store gooey butter cake covered in an air tight container for up to two days at room temp.
  • Refrigerate – The cake will last up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Freeze – You can also freeze the cake for up to a month by wrapping it in plastic wrap or in a large freezer bag.

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A white baking dish full of sliced gooey butter cake without a cake mix.
5 from 13 votes

Gooey Butter Cake without a Cake Mix

Learn how to make gooey butter cake without a cake mix. This easy made from scratch gooey butter cake recipe will leave you craving more!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 9
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Bottom Layer:

  • 6 tablespoons butter melted
  • ½ cup white granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar packed
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder



  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease or line a 9×9 inch baking pan with parchment paper
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, salt, flour and baking powder. Press into prepared baking dish.
  • Combine cream cheese, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and powdered sugar and pour onto the bottom layer.
  • Bake 55-60 minutes until it slightly jiggles. Allow to cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.
Serving: 1g | Calories: 564kcal | Carbohydrates: 95g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 120mg | Sodium: 378mg | Potassium: 223mg | Sugar: 77g | Vitamin A: 680IU | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 1.7mg

Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

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  1. Made this recipe tonight I cooked for 57 minutes still seemed way too jiggly. It was getting so brown. I had to take it out or it would’ve burned. Haven’t tried tasting it yet. Will see..

    1. Hi Heather,
      I’ve never tried it, but generally almond flour is a 1 to 1 substitute. Sometimes recipes will call for an extra egg to help with binding when you sub almond flour, but you’d have to experiment with this one! Since it’s such a moist cake I bet you’d be fine.
      Please report back to help others who might be wondering as well!
      Have a beautiful week,

    1. Hi Jia,
      I would make this gooey butter cake up to two days in advance. The cake will last between for 1-2 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
      Freeze – You can also freeze the cake for up to a month by wrapping it in plastic wrap or in a large freezer bag.
      Hope that helps- enjoy!

  2. I want to make a 9×13 pan so should I 1.5x the ingredients? Bake for the same amount of time? I even thought maybe doubling it, but would they be too thick?
    Last, do you just line the bottom with parchment paper? Or the whole pan?

  3. I have my go to recipe for these bars WITH cake mix and have searched more than once for a recipe from scratch when I didn’t want to run to the store. I hadn’t been able to find one until last week when I stumbled upon yours. These are so delicious! I actually chopped half of them up in bite sized pieces and threw them in an ice cream recipe. It was a hit with the family! Thank you so much! Yum!

    1. So glad you enjoyed it! I love serving warm with ice cream. To mix it up next time try browning the butter! It’s insane!