The Best Gooey Butter Cake Recipe

LAST UPDATED: Oct 01, 2020 | PUBLISHED: Dec 28, 2019 | By: Julie Blanner

Gooey Butter Cake is an easy make ahead breakfast danish or dessert recipe with luxurious texture! This St. Louis classic is made in minutes with a cake mix to provide a foundation for an amazing gooey filling you’ll crave again and again!

gooey butter cake in baking dish and a slice on a white plate
Originally published March 2011, updated with new photos and tips December 2019

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake has been served for years both as a breakfast danish and as dessert. Sweet, rich and oh so good! It can be made from scratch or with a box of yellow cake mix.

The best way to describe Gooey Butter Cake is 3 amazing layers – a thick bottom layer made from cake batter. A delightfully light and creamy cream cheese and sugar layer and a thin, flaky crunchy layer that forms on top when it’s baked. It’s heavenly!

It’s delightfully buttery and sweet, balanced with a little tang from cream cheese. 

slice of gooey butter cake on a white plate

The History Of The Gooey Butter Cake

Gooey Butter Cake may have been made famous by Paula Dean, but it originated in St. Louis. It was first made in the 1930’s in error by a baker who reversed the proportions of butter and flour.

Gooey butter, intended for danishes and stollens was smeared on top. It instantly became a hit!

You can find it at just about every bakery in St. Louis including Park Avenue Coffee (73 flavors), Russell’s, McArthur’s, Missouri Baking Company, Hartford Coffee Company, The Mudhouse, Yolklore, Boundary, and at all the grocery stores.

You’ll also find it on a lot of restaurant menus served warm for dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or frozen custard. It’s a delicious combination you have to try!

close up of st louis gooey butter cake

To Make Gooey Butter Cake You Will Need

simple pantry ingredients!

  • Yellow Cake Mix – Golden Recipe Yellow is the best
  • Butter – Salted or unsalted, your preference
  • Eggs
  • Cream Cheese – I use full fat, but you can use reduced if you’d prefer.
  • 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!

breakfast danish in baking dish

How To Make Gooey Butter Cake

  1. Prep – Preheat and grease a 9×12″ pan.
  2. Combine – Mix cake mix, butter and eggs until thick and smooth.
  3. Spread mixture in pan.
  4. Combine the remaining ingredients on low until smooth. Pour over cake mixture.
  5. Garnish – Sprinkle powdered sugar on top to garnish.
  6. Bake, leaving it slightly gooey.
  7. Enjoy!
gooey butter cake sliced in a baking dish

Variations

While the traditional gooey butter is our family favorite, we also really love the Chocolate Peanut Butter Gooey Butter Cake, Brown Butter Gooey Butter Cake and Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake as well.

We St. Louisans even make Gooey Butter Cookies and Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cookies.

All things Gooey Butter are a staple at any bakery in this city and there’s good reason for it – it’s ridiculously good!

More Variations to Try

  • chocolate chips
  • blueberries
  • blackberry
  • lemon juice and or lemon zest
  • espresso powder
  • toasted coconut

st louis gooey butter cake in baking dish with blue napkin

Top Tips To Make This Gooey Butter Cake Recipe

  • Grease your pan so that the cake doesn’t stick. This is the best baking spray.
  • 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.

To Store:

  • Refrigerate – 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.

Serve it for New Year’s brunch, Easter brunch, Mother’s Day Brunch, or warm with a scoop of vanilla custard.

Amazing gooey butter cake recipe - a beautiful brunch recipe
original photo of Gooey Butter Cake

More Amazing Cake Recipes

slice of gooey butter cake

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gooey butter cake in baking dish and a slice on a white plate

Gooey Butter Cake

Julie Blanner
The best Gooey Butter Cake recipe, a sweet and rich breakfast danish.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 15
Calories 369.86 kcal

Ingredients
  

Layer 1

  • 1 Golden Butter Recipe Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 2 eggs

Layer 2

  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 4 c powdered sugar (1 pound)
  • 1 egg

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a 9x12" pan.
  • Mix cake mix, butter and eggs until thick and smooth.
  • Spread and press mixture in pan (with the back of a spatula or your hands).
  • Mix the remaining ingredients on low until smooth. Pour over cake mixture. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top to garnish.
  • Bake 45 minutes, leaving it slightly gooey. You'll notice a slight crust on top rather than a jelly texture.
  • Garnish with sprinkles of powdered sugar, cool and serve.

Notes

Optional Fold Ins

  • chocolate chips
  • blueberries
  • blackberry
  • lemon juice and or lemon zest
  • espresso powder
  • toasted coconut
Tips
  • Grease your pan so that the cake doesn't stick. This is the best baking spray.
  • Bake in whatever dish you have on hand - 9x11, 9x13, 8x11, etc. Adjust bake time as needed.
  • 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.
Store
  • Refrigerate - 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.
Serve at room temperature for a breakfast danish or warm and serve a la mode for dessert.

Nutrition

Calories:369.86kcalCarbohydrates:61.01gProtein:3.34gFat:13.11gSaturated Fat:7.64gCholesterol:65.64mgSodium:366.61mgPotassium:49.21mgFiber:0.41gSugar:46.74gVitamin A:439.67IUCalcium:94.29mgIron:0.95mg
Did you Make This Recipe?Mention @JulieBlanner
Disclosure

mini loaves of bread gift wrapped