A rainy day in Seattle = Gooey Butter Cake. This cake was in the New York Times last Sunday, which means thousands of people all over the country have already made it. If you were not in that group, consider joining. I do not think of myself as much of a cake person. Usually, the only cakes I like involve either a good soaking of liquor or a lot of fruit and spice, like upside down cakes. I LOVE upside down cakes. But this cake, this is a good and weird cake. It is reminiscent of butterscotch brownies in taste and texture, but even more chewy and gooey. It involves making a yeasted dough which you will allow to rise for a few hours in the pan. Then a wetter batter is smoothed over the top of the risen dough and the whole thing is put in the oven. Some magic or miracle or science happens in the oven and what emerges is a golden brown, crackly topped, melty, soft and rich cake. This is not a bad idea for a Thanksgiving – it may not replace the requisite thanksgiving pies, but it can supplement a thanksgiving dessert spread, and will serve 15 people handily.
St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake
From the New York Times, November 4, 2009
- 3 tablespoons milk at room temperature
- 1¾ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
- 2½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1½ cups sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons 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, 2½ 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 40 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.