The native St. Louis treat gooey butter cake is rich and indulgent, but what magic creates the signature sweet? Apparently it's not magic at all, or at least not totally. Traditional gooey butter cake is made with cake flour, butter and eggs covered in powdered sugar. History goes that it was originally meant to be served as a breakfast pastry or coffee cake instead of a serious dessert, because that's how every morning should start: With a lump of sugar. Nowadays, St. Louisians eat gooey butter cake pretty much whenever they can get their soon-to-be sticky hands on it. While you can find this gooey delicacy in many places around town, it is unlikely that anything will compare to the quality and variety available at Gooey Louie (6483 Chippewa Street; 314-352-2253) and (14628 Manchester; 636-527-5600). Though Gut Check enjoys us some gooey butter cake, we are insufferably picky, and not always fans of it. One trip to Gooey Louie confirmed our love affair was strong as ever, though.
Gooey Louie whips up fresh gooey butter cake from Tuesday through Saturday. When you walk in, you're freshly assaulted with the sugary sweet smell of pure indulgence. After you have composed yourself, you can take a look at the available cake flavors. The every day flavors include: original, chocolate Chippewa, "Hwy 40: Still Drivin' Me Nuts!," "Let's Go Blueberries," chocolate raspberry, chocolate peanut butter and "Turtle Park." Throughout the several seasonal flavors are also made available, such as cherry, key lime, "What a Lemon!," pumpkin spice, amaretto and red velvet. If you've got a sweet tooth and some serious cravings, Gooey Louie's got you covered.
While the kind employee who served us was quick to point out the table full of chocolate-rich cakes, Gut Check bee-lined for the original flavor. There is simply nothing like this familiar favorite. The crust was perfectly browned, with just the tiniest bit of crunch and strength to support all the gooey goodness on top.
We also tried the "Hwy 40: Still Drivin' Me Nuts!" flavor and it certainly didn't disappoint. It had all the pros of the original, plus a lovely mix of kettle glazed pecans and walnuts. It was like pecan pie and gooey butter cake met, made sweet dessert love and had a baby -- a bizarre, meant-to-be-eaten cake baby.
The boxes were still warm as we forked over the cash as fast as we could, in a hurry to get home and devour every last bite. Of course, we fell pathetically short. The boxes might look small and easy to conquer, but the rich, ooey gooey density packs quite a punch. Make sure you bring some friends along to help finish off your cake because these treasures are meant to be shared.
Want to win $15 to Gooey Louie to learn of its enchanting edibles? Tell us what kind of gooey butter cake flavor concoction you'd create. Rules: To be eligible, you must leave a valid e-mail address (or Twitter handle or Facebook profile URL) in the comment-entry field. One entry per e-mail address. Employees of the restaurant in question and Riverfront Times are not eligible.
Update: Congrats to commenter Beverett, who said she'd make a peanut butter cup gooey butter cake or a chocolate raspberry truffle cake. Gut Check would eat the hell out of either of those.