Some friends are heading to Saint Louis, Missouri this week – the land of toasted ravioli, a big arch, and Nelly – but more importantly, their upcoming trip reminded me that the locale is famous for a sweet treat that takes the cake. Saint Louis Gooey Butter Cake tops a thick batter of boxed yellow cake mix and butter with a sugary cream cheese mixture before it’s baked. Once cooked, the loose cheesy topping both saturates the cake and pools in the middle for a decadent dessert experience.
1 package yellow butter cake mix (18.5 ounces)
½ cup butter, melted
4 eggs, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
½ teaspoon salt
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease the bottom of a 9” x 13” baking dish and insert a parchment sling that measures 6 ½” wide by 19” long lengthwise into the pan; allow 3 inches to hang over the ends. Grease the parchment paper as well.
In a large bowl, whisk together the boxed cake mix, melted butter, 2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Use a rubber spatula to gently press the batter into the prepared baking dish.
In the same bowl, use a handheld mixer to beat the softened cream cheese with 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and salt until smooth. Slowly beat in confectioner’s sugar one cup at a time. Spread this mixture evenly over the cake layer. Bake for 45 minutes or until the edges are slightly browned and the middle has a skin but is still somewhat jiggly.
Set the pan of Saint Louis Gooey Butter Cake on a wire rack and allow it to cool completely before cutting. Alternatively, refrigerate the cake until cold for cleaner edges when cutting. Once cooled, grip the parchment handles that hang over the edges and gently lift the cake from the pan. Cut into squares with a very sharp knife, cleaning the cutting edge with hot water after each slice.