By Libbie Summers from her book, The Whole Hog Cookbook (Rizzoli)
Photography by Anna Heritage
If it involves a boxed cake mix, it’s NOT a real Gooey Butter Cake. This yeast based crusted square of all things good and holy is an original. A St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake. No fake. Less Sweet. Perfection.
No-Fake Gooey Butter Cake
(the original, St. Louis Style)
serves 18, makes 2 cakes
1 packet active dry yeast
1⁄2 cup warm milk
2 3⁄4 cups granulated sugar
1⁄4 cup leaf lard or vegetable shortening
1⁄4 teaspoon plus 1⁄8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
4 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (Check out this Video for the Trick to Softening Butter FAST!)
1⁄4 cup light corn syrup
4 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the milk and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream 1⁄4 cup of the granulated sugar, the lard, and 1⁄4 teaspoon of the salt until light and fluffy. Add 1 of the eggs and beat well. Change the whisk attachment to a dough hook and add the 21⁄2 cups of flour, yeast mixture, and 1 tablespoon of the vanilla. Mix for 3 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead with your hands for an additional minute.
Lightly grease a bowl and put the dough inside, turning once. Cover the bowl with a towel and set aside in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.
Grease two 8-inch square stoneware baking pans and set aside.
Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Using your hands, pat the dough into the bottom of each prepared baking dish and up the sides. With a fork, prick the dough in
a few places so it doesn’t bubble up when baking. Set aside while you prepare the gooey part.
Combine the remaining granulated sugar, the butter, and the remaining salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Mix until very fluffy. Add the remaining egg and the corn syrup, mixing well after each addition. Finally, add the remaining flour, 1⁄4 cup water, and the remaining vanilla, mixing well after each addition. Divide the gooey butter equally between the two prepared pans. Using a spatula, spread the mixture evenly over the dough in each pan. Let the cakes rest for 20 minutes before baking.
Preheat the oven to 375 ̊F. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops begin to turn golden brown. Do not overbake. Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack. Sprinkle each cake with 2 tablespoons of the confectioners’ sugar. Serve at room temperature.
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