Gooey butter cake is a type of cake traditionally made in the American Midwest city of St. Louis. Gooey butter cake is a flat and dense cake made with wheat cake flour, butter and eggs, typically near an inch tall, and dusted with powdered sugar. While sweet and rich, it is somewhat firm, and is able to be cut into pieces similarly to a brownie. Gooey butter cake is generally served as a type of coffee cake and not as a formal dessert cake. There are two distinct variants of the gooey butter: a bakers' gooey butter and a cream cheese and commercial yellow cake mix variant. It is believed to have originated in the 1930s.
The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission includes a recipe for the cake on its website, calling it "one of St. Louis' popular, quirky foods"; the recipe calls for a bottom layer of butter and yellow cake batter, and a top layer made from eggs, cream cheese, and, in one case, almond extract. The cake is dusted with confectioner's sugar before being served. The cake is best eaten soon after baking it. It should be served at room temperature or warm.
The cream cheese variant of the gooey butter cake recipe, while close enough to the original, is an approximation designed for easier preparation at home. Almost all bakeries in the greater St. Louis area, including those at local grocery chains Schnucks and Dierbergs, use a slightly different recipe based on corn syrup, sugar and powdered eggs — no cake mix or cream cheese is involved.