It's funny how a craze can begin. A few years ago, the baking world was consumed by a gooey butter cake trend. Little did most people know that this cake was invented decades ago--in St. Louis, not the South. In fact, my mom first received this recipe from my Aunt Beverly, a St. Louis resident, over 20 years ago. She would make it whenever we visited her and her family: my Uncle Richard and my cousins LaKeisha and Raquel.
I can definitely see why the craze caught fire. The cake itself is quite a feat! It is about as easy a baking recipe as there is, but the taste is out-of-this-world good! The bottom layer starts with yellow cake mix, but bakes into a buttery blondie texture that serves as the ideal vehicle for the cream cheese custard topping. I guess you could say that Aunt Beverly was a pioneer in the gooey-cake movement. At least, I like to think so.
Bottom Cake Layer Ingredients
Gooey Top Layer Ingredients
For the Bottom Cake Layer
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Liberally prepare a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with the nonstick method of your choice. (I recommend spraying the pan with baking spray, lining the bottom with parchment paper and then spraying the paper to ensure everything pops out perfectly.)
In a large bowl, whisk together all the ingredients until combined and thick. Evenly pat the batter into the bottom of the prepared pan.
For the Gooey Top Layer
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the sugar, cream cheese, eggs, vanilla extract and salt on low speed. Once the sugar is fully incorporated, turn your mixer speed to high. Continue beating until all ingredients are well blended.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, on top of the bottom layer, and spread it evenly across the pan using a spatula. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. The center should still be gooey and will look underbaked.
Let cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve in the pan at room temperature.
In a food processor, combine all the ingredients and grind until the butter is fully incorporated and fine crumbs form. Use immediately, or transfer to a resealable plastic bag and store in the freezer until ready to use.
Jocelyn Delk Adams is the founder of Grandbaby Cakes, a food blog devoted to classic desserts, modern trends and showcasing the pastry field in an accessible way. The blog led Joyelyn to write a cookbook of the same name.
She has been featured by Better Homes and Gardens, Ebony, The New York Times, People, Food52, The Kitchn, the Chicago Sun-Times, and more. She is also the founder of "A Charitable Confection," an annual anti-violence dessert fundraiser featuring the top bakeries in Chicago. Jocelyn hopes Grandbaby Cakes will motivate a new generation of dessert enthusiasts to learn to bake and not feel guilty about enjoying dessert.
Author: Jocelyn Delk Adams
Publisher: Agate Surrey
Penned: Sept. 15, 2015
What's Inside: 50 classic cake recipes inspired by author Jocelyn Adams' Chicago pastry work and lessons learned from her Mississippi-bred grandmother "Big Mama." Blending warm Southern charm with fresh Midwestern flavors, these melt-in-your-mouth desserts include pound cakes, layer cakes, sheet cakes, mini cakes (cupcakes and cakelettes), celebration cakes and holiday go-tos.
Recipes range from traditional favorites, like Mama's 7Up Pound Cake, to gorgeous showpieces, such as five-layer Strawberry Sundae Cake with homemade strawberry ice cream sandwiched between moist, vanilla cake layers and topped with a rich, whipped cream frosting. Each idea shows the degree of difficulty--easy, intermediate or advanced---so it's simple for both newbie and experienced bakers to find where to start. Written with a deep-rooted love of baking, this entertaining collection combines vintage snapshots and charming family stories with gorgeous photography and friendly advice sure to help you create your own sweet-tasting memories.
Time Out: 224 pages
Available: $22.95 hard cover at Amazon and other book retailers
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