top of page

Week 25: Gooey Butter Cake (Missouri)

I've been eager to bake this gooey butter cake ever since I started my 50 state challenge!

The gooey butter cake won the poll, with the paw paw pudding coming in second! Vote for Montana state dessert for this week. Would you like a s'more dessert, huckleberry pie, or huckleberry ice cream?

While many recipes use cake mix in this cake as a hack, I decided to start from the beginning by using a yeast base.

The bottom layer is a dough that has to rise for two hours, but it's definitely worth it! Plus, it's closer to the original recipe that dates back to the 1930s when a baker mixed up the flour and butter proportions and added way too much butter to his cake. Because it was during the Great Depression, the owner of the bakery in which the baker worked, decided not to waste any ingredients and sold his new creation by the square.

The top of the gooey butter cake is pretty similar to the bottom, except there isn't any yeast. It also contains corn syrup and water. With the addition of more liquid, the top layer becomes spreadable, just like frosting.

After you've assembled your cake and bake it oven, the real magic happens. The edges become caramelized and are crisp. The surface of the cake is full of bumps and absolutely beautiful when dusted with powdered sugar. The only rule? Eat your gooey butter cake warm!


|Level:👩🏽‍🍳👩🏽‍🍳|Time: 3 hours|Serves: 8|




  • 1/4 cup milk

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

  • 6 tablespoons butter

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 egg

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour


  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 12 tablespoons butter

  • 1 egg

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • Powdered sugar, for dusting


  1. Whisk your yeast and milk in a small bowl. In your stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar with your whisk attachment. Add the egg and then switch to your dough attachment. Alternate by adding your flour and yeast mixture, ending with the flour. Knead into a ball for 5 minutes and cover to proof for two hours.

  2. Once your dough has risen, begin your top layer. Mix the corn syrup and water in a bowl. Set aside. Beat the butter and sugar in a mixer, adding your egg in once creamed. Add the flour and alternate with the corn syrup mixture.

  3. To assemble, spread the bottom dough layer across a greased, 8" square baking pan. The layer should be thin because the dough will rise. Then spread your top layer over the dough. Bake for 30-45 minutes at 375 degrees F. Once out of the oven, dust with powdered sugar and serve in squares. Enjoy!


- The Bored Baker 👩🏽‍🍳


bottom of page