Today: An ooey, gooey, buttery-as-all-get-out classic from St. Louis, Missouri—and Mark Bittman's latest cookbook, How to Bake Everything. This article is brought to you by Houghton Mifflin. Head here to learn more about the recently released cookbook How to Bake Everything.
Gooey Butter Cake is a cake that needs no frosting, no adornment, no stacking of layers, no occasion. Which isn't to say that it isn't a little outrageous.
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You make two cake layers—one a sweet, sturdy, yeasty thing that you press into a 9 x 13-inch pan (it will be so thin you might be concerned, though you needn't be). The other consists primarily of butter and sugar, loose like a more regular cake batter but with an unusually high ratio of butter to flour (1 3/4 sticks to a measly 2/3 cup, respectively). It seems crazy. It might be! (It makes you wonder how the original maker of gooey butter cake, a St. Louis, Missouri, classic, came to this formula.)
The result—both breadline and something just on the solid side of goopy—is worth waiting the 3 hours for the first layer to rise. As Mark Bittman writes in the latest of his "Everything" series, How to Bake Everything:
This labor of love is ideal for snow days and slumber parties. It looks like a lemon bar, but it tastes like nothing else—an oozing toffee-ish topping over a sturdy, bready crumb. Eat the day (or night) that it’s baked to enjoy maximum gooeyness.
We bet it won't make it past a day. (Especially if you tote it to a picnic or potluck.)