This is another recipe inspired by a number of delicious experiences at Russell Street BBQ. We used to always get the big sundae and share it with the table. That was before gooey butter cake came into our lives. It’s usually only available on the weekends and when it is, the eyes of our party always light up. Seriously. It is that good. I bookmarked SmittenKitchen’s version long before I had ever had the RSBBQ version and totally forgot about it. Because I have so many recipes bookmarked, I recently decided to look through and find some that I either wanted to make soon or just delete. Enter butter cake and the realization that I could make it on my own time. Any time. And now you can too. And should.
Gooey Butter Cake from Smitten Kitchen:
Yields at least 16 to 20 servings
For the cake-
3 Tb. milk, room temperature
1¾ tsp. active dry yeast
6 Tb. unsalted butter, room temperature
3 Tb. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 large egg
1¾ c. all-purpose flour
For the topping-
3 Tb. plus 1 tsp. light corn syrup
2½ tsp. vanilla extract
12 Tb. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ c. sugar
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 large egg
1 c. plus 3 Tb. all-purpose flour
Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling.
To make the cake dough in a small bowl, mix milk with 2 tablespoons warm water. Add yeast and whisk gently until it dissolves. Mixture should foam slightly. It might only be a teensy bit. It’s okay.
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. I followed Deb’s advice and switched to a dough hook at this point to beat dough on medium speed until it formed a smooth mass and pulled away from sides of bowl, 7 to 10 minutes. The dough will still be very soft.
Press, stretch and nudge dough into a greased 9-by 13” baking dish at least 2 inches deep. Use a glass or ceramic one. It works better. Cover dish with plastic wrap or clean tea towel, put in a warm place, and allow to rise until doubled, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. 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 a spatula to gently spread it in an even layer. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, cake will rise and fall in waves and have a golden brown top, but will still be liquid in center when done. It didn’t look golden brown at 30 so I went to 35, though I think absolute perfection was somewhere in between. Allow to cool in pan before sprinkling with confectioners’ sugar for serving.
Yeah, it’s good. A friend of mine commented she liked my crust better than RSBBQ. I don’t know if I is better, but it is so much fun to make at home, so easy, and so delicious.