St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake


St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake a/k/a Chess Squares, Neiman Marcus Brownies, Texas Gold & so on: These are my fave dessert bars ever. EVER! So yummy & easy to make (only a few ingredients) & everyone always gobbles them up & wants the recipe. Love these! Gooey Butter Cake recipe at


You do know Gooey Butter Cake is a St. Louis thing, right? And people who are not born and raised in St. Louis shouldn’t really post about it!{I kid)

Me?….yep, born and raised, so I’m pretty sure that makes ME qualified. Don’t go looking at places like The New York Times, for a St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake recipe, because, it’s not the kind of Gooey Butter Cake any St. Louisan’s (that I know) make……I’m just sayin’ {wink}.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that cake is scrumptious as all get out too, it’s just not exactly the way WE St. Louisan’s make it.

Gooey Butter Cake is a dessert like no other. I’m not even really sure why it’s called a “cake”.  The magic of cream cheese, sugar and egg creates a dessert that is irresistible. While a simple boxed cake mix makes it incredibly easy.

Ok, so grab your apron and lets get started. I’m going to show you the REAL recipe.  It’s really really easy, so don’t be all nervous.

**DISCLAIMER: I will not be held accountable any weight that may be gained from this recipe.  Bake and eat at your own risk.

(recipe below)

Pat your cake mix crust into a 9×13 pan.

Pour the filling

Then enjoy a nice cup of coffee and get the kids to clean the kitchen while it bakes.

Can’t get any easier than that {wink}

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 12

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

Summary: This coffee cake is a St. Louis tradition, where the cake becomes the crust and holds a gooey cream cheese and butter filling. It’s generally served for breakfast, but can easily make an appearance on any dessert table.


  • 1 Box Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 Stick butter or margarine, melted
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 2 cups powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 325°
  2. Combine, Cake mix, 1 egg and melted margarine or butter.
  3. Press into a greased 9×13 pan with your fingers
  4. Blend, cream cheese, 2 beaten eggs, and powdered sugar until smooth.
  5. Spread over first batter.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until edges are brown.
  7. Dust with powdered sugar on top after cake has cooled

**Making this recipe?  Take a picture and share it on Instagram! Make sure to tag it #TidyMom so we can see what you’re creating in the kitchen!

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I like to make this a day or so ahead of time, because I actually like it better when it’s a day or two old the gooey center firms up more. (I don’t like runny gooey)

Gooey Butter Cake

Make this, and you can call yourself a St. Louisan for the day!


You may also enjoy my Nutella Gooey Butter Cake recipe.


more by Cheryl »

Cheryl Sousan

A self-proclaimed neat freak, Cheryl chronicles her journey through homemaking on her blog,, where she shares recipes, tutorials, crafting and her ever-growing love for photography. This St. Louis mom juggles her passion for life, her daughters and her tiger-loving husband, all while her obsession with tidiness cleans up the trail blazed behind her. Google+


  1. Oh My Goodness. That is about all you need to say. 🙂 I have never heard of these before and I’m thinking they might be a problem if I made them. I’m not known for my self control around baked goods.
    So glad I stopped by from the Thirty Handmade Days Link Party!

  2. gooey and butter in the same sentence – you have my attention!

  3. I just love gooey treats and my little son is also a great fan of this kind of treats! Thank you for sharing the recipe with us!

  4. Pingback: She had me at GOOEY «

  5. I made this cake once before and it was definitely not as pretty, but it was delicious!! Great recipe!

  6. Here inthe south we call it a Chess Cake 🙂 sooo easy and so delicious! I also use a lemon cake mix
    Sometimes for delish and easy lemon bar flavor!

  7. Thank you so very much for posting this recipe. I lost my recipe several years ago, and have been looking for this reipe again ever since. You are so very correct that this is definitely a St. Louis tradition. I grew up looking forward to Sundays, this was the day that we visited my grandparents after church and this was our breakfast.

  8. Just re-pinned this. Holy. Moly.

    Yes please!

  9. St. Louis is known for this wonderful confection. Tradition has it that is originated on “The Hill” the Italian enclave in St. Louis, known for its wonderful Italian bakries. Everyone in this town loves this cake. When you buy it in the bakeries around here it is usually 8×8 and served for breakfast. If you haven’t ever heard of it or tasted it, this recipe is wonderful. Ooey gooey sweet dessert or breakfast treat. TRY IT–you’ll fall in love!

  10. I never heard the St. Louis part before, but the base recipe I have is almost the same.
    (It called for a whole pound of powdered sugar, but I cut it to 2.5 cups and it is still plenty sweet.)
    My family loves the pumpkin and pineapple variations. The pumpkin tastes extra good with some real whipped cream on top.

  11. St. Louis has so many yummy things the rest of the country just doesn’t. Pork steaks, toasted ravioli, & Gooey Butter cake to name a few.

  12. Love Gooey Butter Cake – get it every time we’re in the LOU – I will be trying this recipe this weekend! Thank you!

  13. Pingback: St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake « A Life Imagined

  14. I have been looking for a recipe for REAL gooey butter cake (I live in Arizona now and I’m going through withdrawals). This looks like something I’d get at Schnucks or Dierbergs! Can’t wait to try it.

  15. Pingback: Vanilla Cupcake Recipe | TidyMom

  16. My mom’s from St. Louis, I’m from the area and worked in St. Louis for almost 17 years before movng to California. I miss all the good things we had back there. Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I’m going to make it for my husband. I make goey butter cookies and my co-workers drool over them. Wait til the cake hits them.

  17. I’ve made this cake for yrs only its always been called a SUGAR CREAM CAKE! We love it. I make it every yr fir my business partners BDay. Her fav. I love to substitute the yellow cake mix for dif flavors. Lemon, Chocolate, and Cherry Chip are great examples. They taste great! Even Fingertips adds a little kick. It was neat finding smone else that knows this cake. I know of it being over 20 yrs old and I got it from my sister. I know Paula Dean has a Chocolate one she does. Its so yummy and rich and goes a long ways. Might have to make another one soon!! LOL

  18. Paula dean makes this cake and it’s to die for!! In the filling add another
    Stick of melted butter and add some flavoring in it! One one my favorites that I make is
    A butter pecan cake with pecan flavoring in the filling. Or a strawberry cake with the vaNella extract. You cam play around with it and make it your own!!!!

  19. I hate you. 😉
    I’ve been resisting looking up this recipe. I will make it now.

  20. Growing up (St.Louis of course) we made these at every get together we had and then some. Now I live in Colorado and still make them and think of back home in Missouri. I agree it is even better after it sits. Now I want one in my face. LOL

  21. Pingback: Nutella Gooey Butter Cake | TidyMom

  22. Tried this recipe today after having just found it yesterday. Great turnaround, if you ask me. We all loved it! Thanks so much for sharing!

  23. Pingback: Gooey Vanilla Cake Bars (St. Louis Style!) | at350degrees

  24. I have been looking for this for years!!! I wasn’t born and raised in St. Louis, but I did spend 4 years in Floressent MO. My sister and I had some great friends that were native to St. Louis and they made this just about every week. I’m thinking they made them in 2 8X8 pans. Nevertheless, I’m making it tomorrow…Yippie Skippie!!!!

  25. Made this today. Love it! Love it! Love it! and so with my 8-yr-old son and my hubby. Thanks.

  26. I’ve had these wonderful deliciousness before, but always felts so cheated because I could only have a forkful because I eat sugar free. So, when I saw this recipe, and how simple it was, I knew I could make some substitutions to make it sugar free. I used Pillsbury Sugar Free Yellow Cake and made my own powdered sugar using 1 1/4 cup of granulated splenda and 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch which I blitzed for 1 minute in my vitamix (Splenda is sweeter than sugar so you don’t need as much. This didn’t affect the texture or consistency of my cake). I followed the rest of the recipe as you suggested. I am so happy I found this and am extremely pleased with my sugar free version of this amazing treat!

  27. Pingback: Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookie Recipe | TidyMom

  28. Loooove the recipe! However, I wanted to know if I can substitute the cake batter for bisquick. Will that work as well?

  29. I’m a St. Louis native and I love the NY Times recipe. This one is too sweet and too processed. The NY Times one is exactly how it should taste. Sorry guys, the extra time and effort is sooo worth it.

  30. Hi, just wanted to say that your recipe is very good. Very close to original but not the same. Don’t get me wrong, Yours was much easier to make & tasted great, but the original St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake does not start with a box cake & I just don’t think it does it justice. The original has a yeast cake base and yes, it does take a bit longer but worth the time & effort. I had my mind set that this was not going to compare to the original, but was pleasantly surprised! I miss all the breakfast goods & coffee cakes we use to get in Missouri and every German Bakery we went to. You just don’t find that anywhere else in the country. I’ve been to a lot of places in the States and I’ve tried seeking them out and they just are not there. Only alternative is looking up the recipe’s and making them yourself! Going to be trying to find & make the coffee cake my grandmother, great-aunt & mother use to buy & absolutely loved, is the coffee cake that had peanuts on top of it. Loved your recipe, turned out great! Thanks ~Tracy~

  31. luv to see. luv to try. thanks..
    from Malaysia

  32. Pingback: Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies I Heart Nap Time | I Heart Nap Time - Easy recipes, DIY crafts, Homemaking

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  35. I too grew up in St. Louis. We used to get our gooey butter cakes at the bakery. There was a commerical bakery that also made these wonderful cakes. I live in Indiana now and for the life of me can’t remember the name of this business. Do you know the one I am referring to?
    Thank you.

    • Linda Shimek I think you are inquiring about our HAAS Bakery. They were well known for their Gooey Butter Cake, cream cheese cake, rolls and so many goodies that I cannot remember all of them. Sadly HAAS Bakery is no longer. The company went out of business sometime 2012. I really miss buying their bakery products especially gooey butter cake. I hope this is the one you are asking about. Thank you.

      • I thought that was the bakery she was talking about too!! Katie have you tried any of the Gooey Louie gooey butter cakes? I have not, but was wondering if they are similar to Haas at all?

  36. I am from St. Louis and I grew up eating gooey butter cake and this recipe hit the mark. I no longer live in St. Louis and cannot find it anywhere but now I just make it myself, thank you very much

  37. Hi, I’m in the UK and I’m a little puzzled about the mentions of ‘Coffee cake’ but without a recipe using coffee in the ingredients. Are people referring to cakes that are eaten with a cup of coffee? In the UK we call coffee-flavoured cakes ‘Coffee cake’ and they’re delicious!!

  38. My boyfriend talks about a butter kuchen from a bakery in Louisville Ky called Heitzman that has a runny butter top. Is this similar to that? I can’t find a recipe for something like that.

  39. I grew up in Collinsville and miss Kruta’a GBC so much.  Live in CT now, so I am using your recipe for a Thanksgiving treat for our family and friends up in New England.  Thank you so much!

  40. This is the traditional homemade version that most St. Louisans are the most familiar.  Bakery versions use a yeast crust and corn syrup in the gooey part….I prefer the “homemade” versions for sure.  I just think they taste much better.

  41. Thanks for posting this recipe — we moved recently and I can’t find my recipes and haven’t made this in a little while so couldn’t remember all the ingredient amounts.

    This has been one of our family favorites for years. I use lemon cake mix for a lemon twist — my husband just requested it for tonight. Ridiculously amazing. I’ve wanted to try a chocolate version…that’s on my to-do list soon! 🙂

    • ooh, lemon sounds interesting!! I might have to try that!!
      If you like nutella, you’ll have to try the Nutella Gooey Butter Cake I made, it’s been our “go to” for a while now, and it uses a chocolate cake mix.  I’ve also made a Chocolate Chip Gooey Butter Cake, which also uses chocolate cake. 


  42. You are a life saver! I moved away from St. Louis 8 years ago and crave gooey butter cake all the time! When we go back home I always stock up at Federhoffer Bakery!
    At 63 you would think I would outgrow my childhood sweet tooth….but NO!…..Oh yeah, Southwest High…LOL! If you are truly a St. Louis native…you understand!

  43. I’ve been using this recipe for years and it’s definitely a family favorite. I tell them I slaved in the kitchen all day lol (if they only knew how easy it was, shhhhh). BTW I’m a St. Louisan born and raised…go Cards 2015 is our year! Thanks for the back story!

  44. Sorry, but this is not gooey butter cake. This is some Paula Deen style fake gooey butter cake. I was born and raised in St. Louis and the real deal has a plain coffee cake base with the gooey butter bit on top. There is no cream cheese involved. The topping is made with sugar, butter (hence gooey butter cake), corn syrup, flour and egg. I’m sure this is tasty-but it is not gooey butter cake.

    • I mention in the post that I’m born and raised in St. Louis as well (50 years old) – and this is how we have always made gooey butter cake – way before Paula Deen tried to claim it.   – yes, it’s a little different than what you get from the bakeries, but it’s how it’s made at home, by our extended family, and everyone I know who makes it at home.

  45. I am from St. Louis (Lutheran South).  This is the exact recipe my grandma always made!  I have to eat GF now but am going to try this with a GF cake mix for Thanksgiving!

  46. If you make one for the next morning, do you need. To refrigerate it. Want to make it Christmas Eve but have it Christmas morning. Thanksp

  47. I have made this recipe and I have to say very very good. I am a born and raised south city St. Louis resident. Gooey butter cake is a staple here. Make it just like she tells you and let it rest two days and man you’ll eat the whole thing and head back to the store for more ingredients.

  48. Its a good cake but you could of made it more about what kind of cream cheese and etc this only tell how much to use

  49. This might be a nice homemade treat but it is so not the iconic Gooey Butter Cake of legend. I’m also St. Louis born and bred and I’m shocked you consider this the real deal. The original treat was developed by a baker in a South St. Louis bakery in the 1930’s so while I agree that the recipe is probably not best represented by the NYT, to disparage that original for this quick version is incorrect; especially as someone who claims St. Louis as their city of origin. You should have done your homework; you would have discovered these facts!

  50. This sounds wonderful and I will try it. I love the taste of butter, but was worried about the amount of fat, so I started making a combination of butter and coconut oil at half and half with a quarter teaspoon of salt. It tastes great and is more nutritious. 

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