Missouri - Gooey Butter Cake (Old St. Louis Bakery Style)

You may be familiar with Gooey Butter Cake, but probably the newer, convenience recipe that uses a cake mix, cream cheese and confectioners sugar.  Well this, is the real deal -the original - Old St. Louis Bakery Style Gooey Butter Cake. 

There are several legends of how the Gooey Butter Cake came about, but long story short - somebody goofed!  The baker was trying to make a traditional cake batter and accidentally reversed the amounts of sugar and flour.  What resulted was a confection with a cake like bottom layer, and a gooey, buttery top layer.  

This goof, turned into a delicious surprise and the people of St. Louis and Missouri have embraced it since the 1930's.  

While there are plenty of recipes for "quick" Gooey Butter Cake,  I wanted to make the authentic version and was pleased to find this recipe on St. Louis Today (www.stltoday.com). 

for the sweet dough...

1/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar 
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • Heat 1/4 cup milk until barely lukewarm, about 100 degrees.  Put milk in a small bowl; sprinkle yeast evenly over milk.  Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir to dissolve.  Set aside. 
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat 6 Tablespoons butter, 3 Tablespoons sugar and 3/4 teaspoon salt on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add 1 egg and beat until incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes.  Scrape down the bowl. 
  • Add flour in three additions and the milk mixture in two additions, beginning and ending with the flour.  Be sure to scrape the bowl of the milk mixture so that all yeast transfers to the dough.  After each addition, beat on the slowest speed to combine, scraping the bowl occasionally.  After the final portion of flour has been incorporated, increase the speed to medium-low and beat for 5 minutes or until dough is smooth and slightly elastic.
  • Butter two 8 inch square pans or two 9 inch round pans; and press and stretch the dough into the pans.  (If the dough resists stretching, covering the pan and allowing the dough to rest for 15 minutes or so should help.)  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for 2 hours. 

for the filling...

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 cup cake flour
powdered sugar, for dusting 

  • Shortly before the dough is done rising, combine 3/4 cup butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and corn syrup in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium speed until light, about 3 minutes. 
  • Scrape down the bowl; add the vanilla extract and 1 egg.  Beat until combined, then beat in the remaining egg.  Add 1/4 cup milk and cake flour and mix to combine on low speed.  Scrape down the bowl and give the mixture a final stir. 
  • When the dough is done rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cover the dough with dollops of filling, dividing evenly between cakes.  Spread filling almost to the edges.  Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, until topping is crisp and golden brown.  (Topping will melt and spread as it bakes.)
  • Let cakes cool in the pans on a rack.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before cutting and serving. 

You can not imagine how divine this cake is!  You will be sooooooo glad this recipe makes 2 cakes - that way, you can share one and hide the other one just for you!  

I can't wait to find a reason to make Gooey Butter Cake again!  


Mississippi - Mississippi Mud

M - I - crooked letter - crooked letter - I - crooked letter - crooked letter - I - humpback - humpback - I.

Who knows what that spells?  I used to love hearing Mississippi spelled that way when I was growing up.  Anyway, Mississippi's signature sweet is... Mississippi Mud.  Some people make it as a pie, but most people make it as a cake.  

This uber-rich sweet gets it's name because it resembles the muddy banks of the Mississippi River.  

For this southern classic, I used Southern Living's recipe. 

for the cake...

1 cup butter, melted
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
1 (10.5 ounce) bag miniature marshmallows 

for the Chocolate Frosting...

16 ounces (1 box) confectioners sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa 

* mix all ingredients together until smooth 


  • whisk together melted butter and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl
  • stir in flour and chopped pecans
  • pour batter into a greased and floured 15 x 10 inch jellyroll pan
  • bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean
  • remove from oven; top warm cake evenly with marshmallows
  • return to oven, and bake 5 minutes
  • spread Chocolate Frosting over warm cake, cool completely

Pour yourself a big glass of milk with this one!!!! Yum!


Minnesota - Bars / Scotcheroos

When I started researching the sweet I would feature for Minnesota, I kept coming across threads on food blogs where Minnesotans kept mentioning "Bars" and I wasn't quite sure what they were talking about.  This blurb from Wikipedia sums it up best:

"Guidelines for bars and bars in Minnesota"
"Though similar to cookies, bars are not considered cookies and require no dough measuring.  Rice Krispie treats are considered bars in Minnesota, but a brownie is not a bar.  Bars are considered one of two essentials for potlucks in Minnesota, the other being hotdish.  According to You Know You're in Minnesota When...: 101 Quintessential Places, People, Events, Customs, Lingo, and Eats of the North Star State by Berit Thorkelson, the bar is a Minnesota staple and a "typical Minnesota dessert".  Thorkelson notes that bars are not included in Webster's Dictionary, and the word pronunciation of the "ar" is with "a pirate-like arrr" followed by a soft clipped s.

Because of the frequent Minnesota practice of bringing "a pan of bars" to potlucks and other social occasions, the ingredient combinations and variety of bars is mind-boggling."

Isn't that fun!  I love it - exactly what Sweet State of Mine is all about! So, now that I understood what the heck Bars referred to, I had to find a specific Bar recipe to make and I really wanted it to have Midwestern roots, don't ya know.  

Then I remembered eating this thing called a Scotcheroo while in Wisconsin for work a few years ago.  One of my coworkers at the time walked around the office offering treats, I took one - had a bite and commented how good it was, and then asked "What is it?"  Shocked she said "you've never had a Scotcheroo????!!!!!"

Apparently, Scotcheroos are a very common and popular variety of Bars in Wisconsin and Minnesota and since it was new to this southern gal, I decided it would be the perfect recipe to use! Thanks for sharing your recipe with me Jenna! 

1 cup light Karo Corn Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
6 cups Rice Krispies
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips


  • cook corn syrup and sugar together in a large pan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar
  • bring mixture to a boil
  • remove from heat and stir in peanut butter.  mix well
  • add Rice Krispies and stir to coat
  • pour into greased 9 x 13 and pat into place
  • melt chocolate and butterscotch chips together in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly
  • spread over cereal
  • cool at least 45 minutes or until firm 
  • cut into baaaars  ; )

Potluck Perfection!  


Michigan - Cherry Pie

As I work my way through Sweet State of Mine, I have enjoyed learning how everyday ingredients made their way to our country.  

Like Cherries for instance - turns out Peter Dougherty, a Presbyterian missionary north of Traverse City, started modern-day cherry production in Michigan in 1852. Now, Michigan grows about 75 percent of the nation's tart cherries and Traverse City calls itself the cherry capital of the world.  

Who knew?  

Well, the people of Michigan did - and having an abundant local cherry crop can only mean one thing - lots of Cherry Pie!

This recipe is from Midwest Living Magazine

1 1/4 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons quick cooking tapioca
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
5 1/2 cups frozen unsweetened pitted tart red cherries or fresh cherries
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Two crust pie dough*
* you can use the refrigerated store bought pie crust but I made the dough included in this recipe which you will find below.  I think in a simple fruit pie it's best to make the crust from scratch.  


  • in large bowl, stir together sugar, tapioca and cornstarch
  • add frozen cherries and lemon juice, gently toss until coated
  • let stand 45 minutes or until fruit is partially thawed but still icy.  If using fresh cherries, let stand about 15 minutes or until a syrup forms, stirring occasionally.
  • prepare and roll out pie crust 
  • line a 9 inch pie plate with half of the pastry
  • transfer cherry filling to pie crust
  • cover with top pie crust (lattice if you wish)
  • trim overhanging crust to an even 1 inch all around
  • tuck under and flute edges
  • lightly brush with water and sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • put foil around edges of the pie
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.  Remove foil.  Bake 50 minutes more until filling is bubbly and crust is golden brown.
  • Cool for 2 hours before serving. 

Helen's Two Crust Pie Pastry
3 cups cake or all purpose flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1 /2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup shortening
7 Tablespoons cold water
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons lemon juice

  • In large bowl stir together flours and salt.  Use pastry blender to cut in butter and shortening until pieces are pea-size
  • In medium bowl, stir together 6 Tablespoons cold water, egg and lemon juice
  • Using a large fork, gently toss together flour and egg mixture
  • If any dry parts remain, add last Tablespoon of water and gently toss to moisten evenly (should be a mass of very large crumbs)
  • Turn crumb mixture out onto a lightly floured surface.  Using your fingers, gently form a ball.
  • Using just a bit of flour, knead 4 - 5 times to form a ball
  • Divide in half.  Flatten each half into disc about 1 inch thick
  • Chill 1 - 2 hours or until easy to handle. 

Delicious!  Serve with whipped cream or a la mode with your favorite ice cream!  You just can't beat a homemade cherry pie!