Pumpkin Spice Gooey Butter Cake, St. Louis style


St. Louis style Pumpkin Spice Gooey Butter Cake


Is it a pie, a cake or a bar?

Inspired by the gooey butter cake of St. Louis, Missouri, this Pumpkin Spice Gooey Butter Cake has two textured layers: a chewy brown sugar base and a filling so rich with butter, eggs, and pumpkin purée that the middle sinks down into a creamy, custardy valley (Bake from Scratch).


St. Louis style Pumpkin Spice Gooey Butter Cake


The original bakers’ version of this recipe starts off with a yeast-raised coffeecake as base and ends with a rich filling made with eggs, corn syrup and sugar rather than with cream cheese.  An even easier recipe for Gooey Butter Cake adapted for home cooks makes use of store-bought yellow cake mix.
Be prepared to be wowed!  This treat packs a punch, more than you can anticipate by simply going down the ingredient list.  The edges are chewy just like your favorite brownie, the middle is gooey and the filling is oozing with fall flavors, pumpkin, caramel and a hint of rum.  The second time around I substituted one teaspoon McCormick Pure Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend Extract and one teaspoon McCormick Small Batch Pure Vanilla Extract for the spiced black rum in the filling and it worked out perfectly.

Making this for the first time I had a hard time deciding when to pull my cake bar out of the oven.  Unlike traditional St. Louis Gooey Butter Cakes I’ve baked before the pumpkin version does not form a sugar crust top.  My advice is to not walk away from the oven for a long period of time, especially after 30 minutes into bake time.  At some point I looked through the glass and found the center bubbling and falling back into craters.  However, within about 10 minutes the filling began to slowly set.

The cake is fully baked when edges begin to pull away from the pan, top starts to brown and middle is set but very slightly wobbly.  I baked mine for 55 minutes but I think it needed another five minutes in the oven.  Aim for 45-55 minutes of bake time.

Here are my notes.  Use non-stick spray under and on the parchment, butter did not work as well.  Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature.  Whip cream cheese until completely smooth, light and fluffy before adding in pumpkin purée.  Do not forget to sift your confectioners’ sugar; you do not want to over mix to dissolve clusters that form.  Don’t under mix either, incorporate every addition thoroughly.  Preheat your oven to the right temperature.  I used a heavy gauge aluminum baking pan but a glass or ceramic dish will work just as well.  And finally, don’t expect a smooth cake surface, especially towards the center.



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3⁄4 cup (165 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar
1⁄4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1⁄2 cup (113 grams) plus 6 tablespoons (84 grams) unsalted butter, melted, divided and cooled
5 large eggs (250 grams), divided
1 1⁄2 cups (188 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
8 ounces (225 grams) cream cheese, softened
1 (15-ounce) can (425 grams) pumpkin purée
3 tablespoons (45 grams) spiced black rum
3 3⁄4 cups (450 grams) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1⁄8 teaspoon ground allspice
1⁄8 teaspoon ground cloves

Garnish: confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray a 13×9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan; spray pan again.

In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, granulated sugar, 6 tablespoons (84 grams) melted butter, and 2 eggs (100 grams). Add flour, baking powder, and salt, whisking until smooth. Spread into bottom of prepared pan; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese at medium-low speed until smooth. Add pumpkin, and beat until combined, 2 to 3 minutes. Add rum, remaining 3 eggs (150 grams), and remaining 1⁄2 cup (113 grams) melted butter, beating until smooth. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves, beating until well combined. Pour over cake base, smoothing with an offset spatula.

Bake until center is slightly set, about 40 minutes. Let cool completely in pan. Using excess parchment as handles, remove from pan. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.  Makes about 12 servings.

recipe via Bake from Scratch, a seasonal publication from Hoffman Media


St. Louis style Pumpkin Spice Gooey Butter Cake


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