from Maggie Penn of St. Louis, MO

This recipe was given to me by my lovely neighbor Linda Behrends. When we moved into our house she left one of these cakes on our doorstep, and we developed an obsession with it. It is a variant of a traditional St. Louis cake that is called a "gooey butter cake" and is served all over the city.

This is a very adaptable recipe. I have turned it into a "Gooey Lemon Cake" by using lemon extract. I imagine that a gooey vanilla cake with vanilla extract and a scraped vanilla bean would be good too. But try almond first. The recipe is very simple, but the cake looks and tastes impressive. It comes out with a shortbread-like crust and an interior reminiscent of marzipan.

Sadly, Linda passed away a week ago. I hope that others enjoy her recipe as much as we have, and will adopt it as their go-to housewarming gift.


1 1/2 sticks butter (3/4 cup)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
2 teaspoons sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a round 8-9 inch heavy cake pan with a parchment lining. Lightly coat with a vegetable oil pan spray.

In a glass batter bowl, melt butter in microwave. Add sugar and stir until well combined, add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in almond and vanilla extracts with the pinch of salt. Add flour and stir until the ingredients are well blended. Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Sprinkle slivered almonds and 2 teaspoons sugar over top of cake batter.

Bake for 35 minutes or until cake is golden brown and tests done on the outer edges. (the center should remain slightly moist)

Place pan on cooling rack. Cool cake for 15 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely before serving. Cake may be frozen.

Serve in small slices. Great to serve with coffee, fresh fruit, a glass of sherry or port.

This recipe is adapted from a St. Louis Favorite, “Gooey Butter Cake”.

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