Gooey Butter Cupcakes with Lemon and Strawberries (Rob's Guest Post!)

Friday, May 11, 2007

So a while ago, I challenged Rob to finally bake something and post about it. He finally did it. It only took a year for me to get him too. Anyways, hope you enjoy Rob's first post on Vanilla Garlic!

Well as you know, Garrett finally succeeded in getting me in the kitchen to show off my baking skills. I couldn't ignore the challenge, after all, my reputation was at stake. But yeah... I wouldn't believe me either. Let's face it though, I met his challenge just so I wouldn't have to listen to him gloat.

For those of you who have been to St. Louis and had the opportunity to sample gooey butter cake - found only in St. Louis according to the city's tourist website - will agree with me when I say this is one of the densest, richest cakes out there.

Now like many of you I had never heard of gooey butter cake; I learned of it recently at a business conference hosted by a company based in, you guessed it, St. Louis. Before the conference started each representative of the host company stood up and introduced themselv
es and also rattled off their favorite dessert as a sort of ice breaker. As expected the same standard line of dessert was rattled off with numbing predictability. Cheesecake. Bread Pudding. Chocolate cake.

Gooey butter cake. Wait. Stop. I wondered to myself, what this delightfully named pastry could be? One of which I had neither heard of nor seen before in any of my travels.

After a quick Google search once back home, I was able to adapt a recipe all of my own, and let me tell you the cake lives up to its name. I adapted the recipe to a cupcake recipe as well, of course, would Garrett have it any other way? The cake is heavy and dense, and very gooey with all the cream cheese. It was actually too rich, but I squeezed fresh lemon juice over it which toned down the sweetness, the sour-tart juice balancing everything. We also served it with strawberries to add a different kind of fresh sweetness to lighten the cake a bit.

It wasn't labor or time intensive and was the perfect choice for Garrett's bake-off challenge.

Lemon Gooey Butter Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes / 350 F oven

What You'll Need...
1/2 cup of butter
1 box of yellow cake mix
3 eggs
8 oz of cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
4 cups of confectioners sugar
2 lemons

What You'll Do...
1) Preheat oven to 350. Using cooking spray (Pam) spray a cupcake tin and the cupcake liners you intend to use, the batter sticks to anything and everything otherwise.
2) Melt the butter, then mix it, along with one egg, into the cake mix to form a bulky dough. Press the dough into the prepared cupcake papers.
3) In a large bowl mix the cream cheese, almond extract, remaining 2 eggs, and sugar until thick and creamy. Spread over the tops of the yellow cake.
4) Bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes or until brown on top. Allow cupcakes to cool. Cake will be gooey on top so be sure to not over bake.
5) Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the cupcakes and serve with strawberries.


  1. hello, Rob!
    your cupcakes are beautiful.... :-)

  2. Uh oh, Garrett. Looks like you got some serious competition. Rob your cupcakes look and sounds mouth watering.

  3. I agree with Cheryl, watch your back! Rob has got some great cupcake baking skills there (although you are still the king!!) - these are stunning!

  4. Oh man. Rob, lovely cupcakes. I'm drooling over them!!

  5. Now those look splendid, Rob......That cream cheese along with the yellow cake must have tasted heavenly.....I bet it's even better right out of the oven- who cares about the mess? not me!


  6. How do I find the Yellow Cake Mix or a comparison here in Australia? Would love to make them :)

    Cheers Amelita

  7. Squishy - Hmm... I am not sure, here every single store carries a bunch of ready make yellow cake mix boxes. I think any sort of cake mix will really do (except chocolate). Possibly a simple mixture of butter, flour, sugar, and a few egg yolks may do the job.

  8. Oh, what? Now there are TWO of you producing gorgeous cakes and making me jealous of the fact I don't have the skill, time or equipment to bake? Give me a break guys. ;)

  9. This is Rob's first post? He's a natural! Seems like he's been doing this for years. And the cupcakes are gorgeous! :)

  10. weird, i didn't know it was native to st. louis. I thought it was a southern thing (I'm in north florida). it's one of paula deen's staples. It really is amazing, but I've never seen it in cupcake form. Such a good idea!

  11. GOOEY BUTTER CAKE! This was my birthday cake for as long as I can remember!!! Yes, I think my Mom got the recipe from relatives in St. Louis...I've never ever seen or heard of anyone else making it. A few squares of gooey butter have ruined a few diets all by themselves! YUM.

  12. I grew up in the St. Louis area, and when I moved away at 21, I found out the only place that had Gooey Butter Cake was that area of the world!!! So, I have had to either have it shipped by family members to me all over the world, where ever I was living, or gone home for a visit to "stock up" on the best cake I've ever tasted. My mother, now in her late 70's always knows when I come home to vist, we will be having Gooey Butter Cake everyday I'm there! So, I can't wait to try your recipe and see how close it is to the original Gooey Butter Cakes! Linda DeB

  13. Help! I just tried baking these the other night and unfortunately they didn't turn out quite as beautiful as the ones shown. The top Gooey Butter layer ended up dripping all over the oven (so I suggest to others that you put a baking sheet beneath your cupcake tins) and later they all caved in the middle while cooling. I followed the recipe and the one thing that's still not clear is the proportion of yellow cake batter to the Gooey Butter layer.

    I'd love to make these again (being from St. Louis and all) so any advice as how to improve would be very much appreciated!

  14. Annonymous - They will cave in a bit. It's the nature of gooey butter cake. As for the overflow, I'm not too sure. =/

  15. Rob, I made the cupcakes for a bake sale and they were a huge hit! I've had many requests for the recipe and have sent them to your website. The recipe is so easy and they tasted fantastic!

  16. I'm from St. Louis and though I haven't lived there in years, I decided to make a Gooey Butter cake today and was just perusing the web for other articles and stories for grins.

    It hurts my heart to see the cake mix version. There is not a bakery in St. Louis that would offer this concoction. I'm sure it tastes fine but real Gooey Butter Cake is a yeast dough base filled with a mix that turns gooey with nary a touch of cream cheese in it.

    My recipe is from a 1977 edition of a book sold by the St. Louis Art Museum. No longer in print, 'The Artist in the Kitchen' is a compilation of recipes from the 'Friends of St Louis Art Museum' and is a collection of favorite recipes, both local and from their own personal collection. I'm hoping it's truer to form.

    This might appear meaningless to many, but when every Sunday of your young life was a day of family, church and breakfast with a Gooey Butter Cake; it's sort of a big deal. :)


Hey, you're leaving a comment! That's pretty darn cool, so thanks. If you have any questions or have found an error on the site or with a recipe, please e-mail me and I will reply as soon as possible.

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