Gooey butter cake is the creation of German bakers who formed the backbone of the St. Louis industrial market, and it's now available in Chicago thanks to Grace Bahn, who missed the gooey butter cakes of her St. Louis youth.
Bahn started a business making the cakes that operates from a shared kitchen space in the Lakeview Kitchen and Market.
"They're creamy and sweet but a little crunchy," Bahn said. "They're kind of hard to describe but they're delicious. Once you try it you will love it."
Bahn's business partner, Laura Patterson, said the base of the cake is flour and sugar. Then melted butter and a few eggs are added. The base layer is then pressed out into a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Meanwhile, Bahn gets to work on the topping.
Cream cheese is beaten in a stand mixer, along with melted butter. The mixture is scraped down and beaten it until it's smooth. Then, eggs that have been beaten with vanilla extract are added.
"There's seven eggs per batch, so we probably go through a couple dozen per week," Bahn said. "We want to make sure that it gets nice and smooth and creamy, so I like to wait until it's all one consistency and it's very, very smooth, and then we'll add the powdered sugar."
Make that two-and-a-half pounds of powdered sugar. Once that's all incorporated, the topping is poured on top of the base layer, then spread evenly into each corner with an offset spatula. The cake is then baked for precisely 28 minutes and allowed to cool completely.
"This is after it cools, so it comes up and then sinks down a little bit. So we cut it and then we put powdered sugar on top," Bahn said.
Bahn uses a customized tool that marks the cake precisely where it should be cut. The bars are then packaged and sold online or at the Lakeview Kitchen retail space.
They also make cookie versions and sell smaller sized bars for special events.
"We do a lot of catering, so we'll do slices of cake in a bag with a ribbon so it can be a little wedding treat, favors. A lot of St. Louis brides like to have it at their wedding," Bahn said.
Lakeview Kitchen & Market
3109 N. Broadway
Also availalble at:
738 N. Clark St.
In Steve's Extra Course Video, he goes back to the Lakeview Kitchen and Market to talk about two other dessert-focused businesses on site.