9 of the Best Butter Cake Recipes You Can Eat for Breakfast

Yes, you read that right. Breakfast. That’s the meal these St. Louis cakes are usually served for, and we’re totally on board. What is a St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake? Well, gooey wasn’t just a descriptor to get you to click on this article, it’s actually an important part of the name. If you buy a butter cake at a bakery, you’ll get something different. Go for gooey.

These beauties are about an inch tall with a cake base — traditionally made from boxed mix — as a crust and a cream cheese and melted butter filling that gets crackly on top and, you guessed it, gooey in the middle. Legend has it, according to The New York Times, that this cake came about when a St. Louis baker got his coffee cake proportions wrong and just went with it. Unsurprisingly, it was a great hit. Not all of these are traditional butter cakes (in fact, none of them truly are), but they’re all amazing variations on a beloved midwestern classic.

Cream Pie Cakes, powdered sugar

Source: iStock

1. Smitten Kitchen’s Gooey Butter Cake

This cake doesn’t use a boxed mix, but a yeasted cake base. Yes, it’s non-traditional, but it’s a great stepping stone for folks who don’t like piles of sugar. It’s a little less sweet, which can be a blessing first thing in the morning. Ease in slowly. The recipe recommends using a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish rather than a metal pan to keep the bottom from browning too much and, as always, underbake for gooey-ness.

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 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

Topping

  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
  • 2½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 12 tablespoons 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

Directions: In a small bowl, mix milk with 2 tablespoons warm water. Add yeast and whisk gently until it dissolves. Mixture should foam slightly.

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.

Press dough into an ungreased 9-by 13-inch baking dish. Cover dish with plastic wrap or clean tea towel, put in a warm place, and allow to rise until doubled, 2½ to 3 hours.

Once the cake base has risen, heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

To prepare topping, in a small bowl, whisk 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.

Spoon topping in large dollops over risen cake and use an offset spatula to gently spread it in an even layer. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes. It will have a golden brown top, but will still be liquid in center when done. Allow to cool in pan for no less than 30 minutes — we mean it — before sprinkling with confectioners’ sugar for serving.

Lemon Bars, powdered sugar

Source: iStock

2. Maple Ooey-Gooey Butter Cake

This recipe from Bakers Royale is a little more traditional (it uses a cake mix), but it’s also flavored with maple syrup and has toasted pecans. Naomi suggests serving these in bite-size squares, but we think you should do whatever you want. For controlling the repercussions of doing whatever you want, please see this.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of yellow cake mix
  • 4 tablespoons toasted and finely ground pecans
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • 3 eggs, divided use
  • 1 (8-ounce) package of cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:  Line pan with enough parchment to create a 1 inch overhang on each side. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place the dry cake mix, finely ground pecan, butter, and 1 egg in a bowl and mix until well blended. Press mixture into parchment-lined 8- by 8-inch pan. Set aside.

Place the cream cheese, maple syrup, remaining 2 eggs, sugar, and vanilla and mix until well blended. Pour cream cheese mixture on top of dry cake mix mixture and spread all the way to the edges. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the edges are a light golden brown, and the center still jiggles a little when the pan is shimmied.

Cool completely in pan. Turn out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares.

Almonds Cookies, powdered sugar

Source: iStock

3. Gooey Butter Cake Cookies

If you can eat cake for breakfast, you can definitely eat cookies. Christina of Dessert for Two declares these the softest, gooiest, chewiest cookies she’s ever made. That’s a pretty great string of adjectives describing cookies. She also says that if you don’t chill the dough for the recommended amount of time, monsters appear. OK, that’s not what she says. But they’ll spread and get crispy, and no one wants that.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ plus ⅛ teaspoon fine salt
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar

Directions: In a medium bowl, add the cream cheese and butter. Beat together with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 30 seconds.

Slowly add the sugar to the cream cheese mixture while continuously beating. Beat the sugar into the cream cheese mixture until light and fluffy, 1 minute. Next, add the vanilla, whole egg, and egg yolk. Beat until combined.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add this to the cream cheese mixture in three increments, beating in between each addition. Chill the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Put the powdered sugar in a shallow bowl. Scoop out a heaping tablespoon of dough, roll it in your hands to form a ball. Roll the dough into the powdered sugar before spacing them evenly on the baking sheet.

Bake for 14 minutes. Do not let them brown. The top of the cookies will be puffed and slightly wet. Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheet before serving.

Cake, Brownies, baking pan

Source: iStock

5. Peanut Butter Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake

Cookies may have seemed like a total departure from traditional gooey butter cake, but they have nothing on this Peanut Butter and Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake. This cake from The Girl Who Ate Everything boasts a devil’s food cake crust and a peanut butter gooey layer. As Christy herself says, “There are few things more decadent in this world.”

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 1 (18¼-ounce) package Devil’s food cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup butter, melted

Filling

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 3¾ cups powdered sugar

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a 13- by 9-inch baking dish.

Combine all the ingredients and mix well with a mixer; press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth; add the eggs, vanilla, and butter. Beat together. Add the powdered sugar and mix well. Pour peanut butter mixture over the cake mixture and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Do not overbake.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

6. Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cake

Enjoy a red velvet gooey butter cake like this one from Buns in My Oven for a delicious breakfast or brunch. Filled with sweet flavors and enticing ingredients, this cake will provide you with a tasty start to your day. Make sure you don’t overbake this cake — you want the center to remain nice and gooey!

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 1 box mix for red velvet cake
  • 1 egg
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well. It will be thick and difficult to mix. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13- by 9-inch baking pan.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter and beat together. Add the powdered sugar and mix until completely combined.

Spread the cream cheese mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to overbake as the center should be a little gooey.

Pumpkin cheesecake, cake

Source: iStock

7. Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

Paula Deen may not be from St. Louis, but she sure does know the following three things very well: gooey, butter, and cakes. Definitely serve this Food Network cake with some breakfast cinnamon whipped cream. It’s basically the milk in your cereal bowl.

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 1 (18¼ ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Do not overbake; the center should be a little gooey.

Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Chocolate Brownie Cake, powdered sugar

Source: iStock

8. Nutella Gooey Butter Cake

These cake slices from Tidy Mom are going to look like brownies, but they’re a delightful surprise to anyone who bites in expecting a brownie. This cake is actually the brainchild of Cheryl and her daughter, who needed a dessert for her friends before prom. We think it’s good at any time, any age, boutonniere or not. Is this still in breakfast territory? Sure, it’s kind of like a Nutella-filled crepe, right?

Ingredients:

Cake

  •  18¼ ounce Box Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup butter, melted

Filling

  • 8 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a 13- by 9-inch pan.

Using an electric mixer, combine cake mix, 1 egg and melted butter until well incorporated. Press into bottom of greased pan with your fingers.

Using an electric mixer, blend, cream cheese, 2 beaten eggs, Nutella, and vanilla. Then slowly and powdered sugar and beat until smooth.

Spread filling over cake batter, and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until edges are brown. Do not overbake; the center should be a little gooey.

Dust with powdered sugar on top after cake has cooled completely.

Making Cake, Pouring batter in a baking tin

Source: iStock

9. Chocolate Mocha Gooey Butter Cake

Don’t just have your coffee with your cake, have your coffee in your cake. This Chocolate Mocha Gooey Butter Cake from Midwest Living is a copycat of the Chocolate Cafe and Coffee House in Missouri. With a name like that, you know they know what they’re talking about. It’s going to taste great.

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup butter, melted and cooled, divided
  • 1 (2-layer-size) package chocolate cake mix
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup chocolate fudge topping
  • 2 tablespoons very strong brewed coffee or espresso
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Powdered sugar

Directions: In a medium bowl, stir together 1 egg and ½ cup melted butter. Stir in dry cake mix until combined. Press evenly into the bottom of a greased 13- by 9-inch baking pan. Bake in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add 2 eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Gradually add 16 ounces powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating on low speed until smooth. Slowly add ½ cup melted butter, the chocolate topping, coffee, and vanilla, continuing to beat on low speed until just combined. Pour batter over baked cake crust.

Bake for 35 minutes more. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack before cutting into bars. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar and cut into bars.

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