A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 15, 2016
Gooey Butter Cake

Entry in progress—B.P.

Wikipedia: Gooey butter cake
Gooey butter cake is a type of cake traditionally made in the American Midwest city of St. Louis. Gooey butter cake is a flat and dense cake made with wheat cake flour, butter, sugar, and eggs, typically near an inch tall, and dusted with powdered sugar. While sweet and rich, it is somewhat firm, and is able to be cut into pieces similarly to a brownie. Gooey butter cake is generally served as a type of coffee cake and not as a formal dessert cake. There are two distinct variants of the gooey butter: a bakers’ gooey butter and a cream cheese and commercial yellow cake mix variant. It is believed to have originated in the 1930s.

The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission includes a recipe for the cake on its website, calling it “one of St. Louis’ popular, quirky foods”; the recipe calls for a bottom layer of butter and yellow cake batter, and a top layer made from eggs, cream cheese, and, in one case, almond extract. The cake is dusted with confectioner’s sugar before being served. The cake is best eaten soon after baking it. It should be served at room temperature or warm.

What’s Cooking America
(1) Information from Richard Danzer (November 22, 2006) – Saw your web site and thought you may want the real story on gooey butter cake:

In late 1942 or early 1943, Johnny Hoffman of St. Louis Pastries Bakery was working on a Saturday and made what eventually turned out to be Gooey Butter Cake.  You’re right, it was a mistake!  He subsequently called Herman Danzer, my dad, and told him he thought he may have something and asked to come to my dad’s shop on Spring & Gravois to see if they could duplicate it.

4 December 1949, St. Louis (MO) Post-Dispatch, pg. 4D, col. 8 ad:
Paul’s Pastry Shop
Deep Cheese 25c
Gooey Butter 45c
(...)
3321 S. Grand

25 March 1950, Illinois State Journal (Springfield, IL), pg. 14, col. 2 ad:
Nice and “Gooey” Butter
Coffee Cakes Ea. 10c
MITCHELL’S
SUPER MARKET
Ph 2-1333 1219 W. Ash

11 May 1950, St. Louis (MO) Post-Dispatch, pg. 3B, col. 6 ad:
GOOEY BUTTER COFFEE CAKE
A REAL DELIGHT...SERVE WITH OUR FINEST COFFEE
EA. 50c
(Straub’s Select Foods.—ed.)

15 June 1951, Morning World-Herald (Omaha, NE), pg. 25, col. 7 ad:
Gooey Butter
COFFEE CAKE
Deliciously fresh and tempting...just the coffee cake for snack of noon meal…
48c
(Kuenne’s Bakery.—ed.)

15 November 1951, Moberly (MO) Monitor-Index and Democrat, pg. 6, col. 1 ad:
GILLAN’S BAKERY
. Danish Crumb Coffee Cake
. Gooey Butter Coffee Cake

1 May 1952, St. Louis (MO) Post-Dispatch, pg. 6A, col. 5 ad:
GOOEY BUTTER CAKE
54c
(Scruggs Vandervoort Barney bake shop.—ed.)

5 March 1953, Alton (IL) Evening Telegraph, pg. 32, col. 4 ad:
Duke Bakery
(...)
Gooey Butter Coffee Cake

6 January 1988, St. Louis (MO) , pg. D1:
Will the gooey butter phenomenon ever come to an end? Probably not in this gooey butter-crazy town. First there was the gooey butter coffee cake from scratch, then the convenience version made with a cake mix. Then came the microwave version. And now, the gooey cheesecake.

New York (NY) Times
Having My Cake and Eating It Too
A Good Appetite
By MELISSA CLARK OCT. 30, 2009
(...)
St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake
Legend has it that the St. Louis gooey butter cake originated by accident in the 1930s, when a baker mixed up the proportion of butter in one of his coffee cakes. Rather than throw it out, he sold it by the square, and the sugary, sticky confection was a hit. Naturally, a slice of gooey cake ends up next to — or in place of — the pumpkin pie at many a Missourian’s Thanksgiving table. Some bakers like to add pumpkin and spices to the gooey filling.

The Huffington Post
Gooey Butter Cake Is Missouri’s Mind-Blowing Dessert That You’ve Got To Try
St. Louis created something magical.

11/14/2016 06:00 am ET
Suzy Strutner
(...)
Behold: St. Louis gooey butter cake from St. Louis, Missouri. The mind-blowing dessert is, at its most basic, a combination of butter, sugar and eggs layered over a chewy, cookie-like crust. Homemade renditions sometimes use cream cheese and/or boxed cake mix, while the original bakery version is said to require a few more ingredients.
(...)
St. Louis legend goes that in the 1930s, a local German baker added too much butter to his coffee cake batter, stuck it in the oven, and sold the gooey result anyway. Some 80 years later, residents are still swooning over its warm, runny goodness.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Tuesday, November 15, 2016 • Permalink