For my husband's birthday last week, he requested a St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake. He had seen this recipe in the Oct/Nov 2008 edition of Cook's Country and has been drooling over it for months! It turned out really well (what from Cook's Country doesn't really?). The bottom layer is a yeasted cake that is not too sweet and really retains a yeasty flavor. It is topped with a gooey, pudding layer and then finished with powdered sugar. It only made an 8 x 8 inch pan so we weren't overwhelmed with cake for days and days. If super sweet cakes are your cup of tea, this cake is not for you, but if you like quirky, regional specialty cakes, this one will be a hit! I'm sending this over to Susan over at Wild Yeast for her weekly YeastSpotting event.
St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake adapted from Cook's Country Oct/Nov 2008 edition
1/4 c. whole milk, warmed to about body temperature
1 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
1/4 c. sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. high gluten, unbleached flour (or all purpose flour)
6 Tbls. unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces and softened
1/2 c. sugar
4 Tbls. unsalted butter, softened
2 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 Tbls. light corn syrup
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 c. high gluten, unbleached flour (or all purpose flour)
3 Tbls. instant vanilla pudding mix
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. When oven reaches 200 degrees F, shut the oven off. Line an 8 x 8 inch pan with a few wide strips of foil that hang over the edge to help in removing the cake from the pan when it is done. Grease the foil, the pan, and a medium bowl.
2. For the dough: Combine the milk and yeast and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the yeast dissolves. Add the sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt, and flour and mix until combined. Increase the speed and add the butter, one Tbls. at a time. Continue mixing for 5 minutes to help develop the gluten. Transfer the batter to the greased bowl, cover with Saran wrap, and put in the warmed oven to rise for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, spread the batter into the prepared pan. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
3. For the gooey layer: In a bowl, beat the sugar, butter and cream cheese together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Reduce the speed and add the corn syrup, egg, and vanilla. Add the flour and pudding mix and mix until combined. Dollop mixture evenly over the batter and spread gently into an even layer over the cake batter.
4. Place the cake into the oven and bake until the outside is golden and the topping is still jiggly and just starting to color slightly, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pan for at least 3 hours, remove the cake from the pan using the foil strips. Place the cake on a plate, remove the foil strips, and dust the cake with confectioners sugar. Serve and refrigerate any leftovers.