Fans of gooey butter cake know that the delicious concoction originated right here in St. Louis. South St. Louis, to be exact, when the area was flush with German immigrants. It was first made in the 1930s as a mistake by a new baker at a German bakery who mixed up batter proportions for coffee cake, and it became an instant hit.
Locally, that is. The Gateway City's favorite dessert never quite caught on outside of St. Louis, and that’s fine by us. It’s just another one of our quirky square-shaped local delicacies, and we're happy to recognize its greatness even if the rest of the world doesn't get it.The traditional recipe simply calls for cake flour, butter, sugar, eggs and a dusting of powdered sugar, though some bakeries have taken some fun liberties with it. Pick some up and introduce a newcomer to this St. Louis specialty, or just remind yourself why we fell in love with it in the first place.
Park Avenue Coffee
Multiple locations including 1919 Park Avenue, Lafayette Square
Park Avenue Coffee specializes in authentic gooey butter cake, made from scratch “with love.” The first flavor offered is still available today – “Mom's Traditional.” All four locations of the locally owned coffee shop now offer twelve flavors daily, including triple chocolate and white chocolate raspberry. Special orders can be placed online for one of 73 (!) flavors.
125 North Main Street, St Charles
The Ozenkoski family is said to have been taught its technique by one of the original gooey butter cake bakers. The recipe has since been passed down over the years with only minor tweaks. The old-timey shop offers an original gooey butter cake, as well as flavors such as peanut butter chocolate chip, strawberry cheesecake, brownie and even a gooey butter milkshake.
Multiple locations, including 3055 Lemay Ferry Road, Mehlville
McArthur’s Bakery gooey butter cake was recently named by CNN as one of the richest desserts in the United States. The recipe was developed by Donald McArthur in 1956 at the original McArthur’s Bakery location on Arco Avenue. The bakery also makes gooey butter wedding cakes.
2027 Edwards Street, The Hill
Missouri Baking Company operates on the assumption that butter and sugar are the best combination — making gooey butter cake a "must" on the menu. The recipe is a bit different from the traditional, however. Theirs is an actual cake made with almond paste and a sweet dough, which is more solid and less gooey. The flavors change with the season — right now, cherry, chocolate chip and eggnog are featured. Valentine’s Day brings red velvet, summer offers triple berry with strawberries, blackberries and blueberries, and fall’s featured flavor is brown sugar pecan.
Turn the page for more gooey butter cake destinations.