Make this gooey butter cake from a James Beard award-winning chef

Make this gooey butter cake from a James Beard award-winning chef

Prep Time

10 minutes

Cook Time

30 minutes


6 people

Every city has regional specialties that are hard to find away from their birthplace, and for St. Louis, one of those specialities is gooey butter cake. Why this local delicacy has stayed local is a mystery.

Sure, its fairly unassuming on the surface – yellow and flat and anything but fancy. But its impossibly buttery, sweet, crunchy and creamy all at once, and the rest of country deserves a slice of this underrated treat. For most of the country though, that means making it yourself.

That’s why we got this recipe from James Beard award-winning chef Tim Brennan, who serves some of St. Louis’ best gooey butter cake at his  restaurant, Cravings.


  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 9 ounces (1 cup + 2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/8 cup corn syrup
  • 1/8 cup cold water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/8 cup all purpose flour
  • 8 ounces cake crumbs


  • 1 Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add egg and mix until well blended. Scrape bowl thoroughly.
  • 2 Beat in corn syrup, then scrape bowl and add water. Mix thoroughly.
  • 3 Add vanilla and salt. Then add flour at low speed. Then scrape bowl and mix thoroughly.
  • 4 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • 5 Butter and lightly flour a 9-inch round cake pan and add cake crumbs to the bottom of the pan. Then spread the gooey butter mixture over the cake crumbs.
  • 6 Bake for 30 minutes until the top forms a crust. It may crack.
  • 7 Cool for 5- 8 minutes and invert onto a cake plate.


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