Real St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

Ain’t nothing like the real thing baby! Real St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake is a yeast bread topped with the namesake ‘gooey’ layer. Walk away from the cake mix and try this legacy treat instead!

For the sweet dough:

  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

For the Gooey Topping:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup cake flour
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

To Make the dough:

  1. Heat the milk until barely lukewarm, about 100 degrees. Put milk in a small bowl; sprinkle yeast evenly over milk. Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir to dissolve. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the egg and beat until incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl.
  4. Add all-purpose flour in three additions and the milk/yeast mixture in two additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Be sure to scrape the bowl of the milk mixture so that all yeast transfers to the dough. After each addition, beat on the slowest speed to combine, scraping the bowl occasionally.
  5. After the final portion of flour has been incorporated, increase the speed to medium-low and beat for 5 minutes or until dough is smooth and slightly elastic.
  6. Butter two 9-inch-square pans; and press and stretch the dough into the pans. (If the dough resists stretching, covering the pan and allowing the dough to rest for 15 minutes or so should help.) Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for 2 hours.

Make the filling:

  1. Shortly before the dough is done rising, combine the butter, sugar, salt and corn syrup in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until light, about 3 minutes.
  2. Scrape down the bowl; add the vanilla extract and 1 egg. Beat until combined, then beat in the remaining egg.
  3. Add the milk and cake flour and mix to combine on low speed. Scrape down the bowl and give the mixture a final stir.
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