Ahead of Thanksgiving, the New York Times has put together a list of dishes from every state, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. We don't usually think of this as a Thanksgiving food, but gooey butter cake represents Missouri, and we couldn't be more proud.
The Times sourced its gooey butter cake recipe from a St. Louis native baking in Brooklyn -- Molly Killeen of Made by Molly.
Legend has it that the St. Louis gooey butter cake originated by accident in the 1930s, when a baker mixed up the proportion of butter in one of his coffee cakes. Rather than throw it out, he sold it by the square, and the sugary, sticky confection was a hit. Naturally, a slice of gooey cake ends up next to -- or in place of -- the pumpkin pie at many a Missourian's Thanksgiving table. Some bakers like to add pumpkin and spices to the gooey filling. Not so in this yeast-risen version from Molly Killeen, the St. Louis native behind Made by Molly, a dessert company in Brooklyn. Her recipe is soft-centered, crisp-edged and not too sweet. The leftovers are excellent for breakfast the next morning.
Here's the recipe:
3 tablespoons/45 milliliters milk at room temperature 1 ¾ teaspoons/5 grams active dry yeast 6 tablespoons/85 grams unsalted butter at room temperature 3 tablespoons/45 grams sugar 1 teaspoon/5 grams kosher salt 1 large egg 1 ¾ cups/215 grams all-purpose flour 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon/50 milliliters light corn syrup 2 ½ teaspoons/10 milliliters vanilla extract 12 tablespoons/170 grams/1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 ½ cups/300 grams sugar ½ teaspoon/3 grams kosher salt 1 large egg 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons/145 grams all-purpose flour Confectioners' sugar, for sprinkling
1. In a small bowl, mix milk with 2 tablespoons warm water. Add yeast and whisk gently until it dissolves. Mixture should foam slightly. 2. Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and salt. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat in the egg. Alternately add flour and the milk mixture, scraping down sides of bowl between each addition. Beat dough on medium speed until it forms a smooth mass and pulls away from sides of bowl, 7 to 10 minutes. 3. Press dough into an ungreased 9-by 13-inch baking dish at least 2 inches deep. Cover dish with plastic wrap or clean tea towel, put in a warm place, and allow to rise until doubled, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. 4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. To prepare topping, in a small bowl, mix corn syrup with 2 tablespoons water and the vanilla. Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat in the egg. Alternately add flour and corn syrup mixture, scraping down sides of bowl between each addition. 5. Spoon topping in large dollops over risen cake and use a spatula to gently spread it in an even layer. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes; cake will rise and fall in waves and have a golden brown top, but will still be liquid in center when done. Allow to cool in pan before sprinkling with confectioners' sugar for serving.
Did she get it right? Let us know in the comments! You can find all the recipes here.
Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at Nancy.Stiles@RiverfrontTimes.com.
Follow Nancy Stiles on Twitter:
Riverfront Times works for you, and your support is essential.
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of St. Louis and beyond.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep St. Louis' true free press free.