…from the California Kitchen
How you doin’? St. Louis is Missouri's second-largest city and is known for its beer, baseball and The Blues hockey team, the Arch, the Mississippi River, the zoo and Ooey-Gooey Butter Cakes all in the center of the country. I’ve only been there a few times on client business and I’m sure there is much more than that—butter cake should be enough. If anyone can help me out, let me know what I’m missing.
I’ve been told that in St. Louis Ooey-Gooey Butter Cakes are more than just a favorite dessert but an essential part of growing up. At first glance it’s just another slice of yellow cake. However, one taste will tell you it is really special—sweet, sticky with contrasting textures: a dense, cookie-like crust, and a sweet, gooey filling reminiscent of a vanilla custard. Nothing too complicated… just flour, sugar, butter, eggs and corn syrup, yet it’s immediately satisfying and luxurious to eat. It’s chewy, rich and creamy… almost like a vanilla pudding that’s been nestled into a blondie.
You can find commercially made Ooey-Gooey Butter Cakes in most St. Louis grocery stores, bakeries, and restaurants, but homemade is so much better. Where did Ooey-Gooey Butter Cakes originally come from? Judy Evans, former Food Editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, says that the origins of the cake are shrouded in myth. Like so many great things it may have been the result of a happy accident. Maybe a baker was making a butter cake and messed up the proportions and voilà!... the ooey gooey butter cake was born. Another story is that this cake just started showing up in the early 1940s.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Proof time: 2 hours
Bake time: 25-30 minutes
Cool time: 20 minutes
Yield: 16 servings
For the cake
1/4 cup whole milk
1 package active dry yeast (2-1/4 teaspoons)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons additional soft unsalted butter for prepping the pans
For the filling
1-1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1-1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 cup cake flour
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar for dusting the cake
To make the cake
ChefSecret: Cake flour is a low protein flour that’s milled into a fine consistency. It contains about 7-9% protein, while all-purpose flour, a harder flour, has anywhere between 10-12% protein. What does this mean for baking? The protein content is directly related to gluten formation. Cake flour’s lower protein means less gluten is formed as you mix the batter together. Less gluten formation means a softer, fluffier texture.
Don’t have any handy? You can make your own cake flour.
Quip of the Day: “My friend hurt his foot walking around a St. Louis landmark...
it was the Arch.”
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