How to warm up on a cold Spring day…St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

Every time I think spring is here and summer is just around the corner, we have yet another cold snap. I’m fighting off this weeks’ frostiness with St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake. The oven warmed up my kitchen, while we were warmed up by this masterpiece of a baked treat, made even more masterful with the perfection that is le beurre salé de Bretagne (salted Breton butter).IMG_8222

 St. Louis Gooey Butter CakeIMG_8210

From Melissa Clark at the New York Times, with a few notes from Caely
Makes 16 to 20 servings

For the cake:

45 ml (3 tablespoons) milk at room temperature
1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
85 grams (6 tablespoons) butter at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt (if you used unsalted butter)
1 large egg
195 grams (1 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour

For the topping:

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon light corn syrup (I subbed for honey as corn syrup kind of freaks me out)
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I’m running low on my precious vanilla supply from the states and this seemed like a lot, I used 1 teaspoon)
170 grams (12 tablespoons or 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
340 grams (1 1/2) cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling.

In a small bowl, mix milk with 2 tablespoons warm water. Add yeast and whisk gently until it dissolves. Mixture should foam (very) slightly.

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. Beat dough on medium speed (I subbed paddle attachement for a dough hook at this point) until it forms a smooth mass and pulls away from sides of bowl, 7 to 10 minutes.

Press dough into an ungreased 9-by 13-inch baking dish at least 2 inches deep (I did grease the pan as I always, always have trouble getting things out of a dish cleanly and in one piece). 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, mix 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 40 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. Allow to cool in pan before sprinkling with confectioners’ sugar for serving.

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