Michael Ciapciak's Gooey Butter Cake


You will all know Michael of Bang Bang Pie and his inimitable gingham shirts.

I reached out to him for a recipe that came from childhood memories and he presented this one that I think makes for a great Easter offering. It’s easy, crowd pleasing and deliciously sweet and gooey. It’s so easy, I recommend making two because a crowd bigger than 8 might be left wanting. (Our photographer Paul inhaled two slices after shooting, declaring it delicious!

Photography by Paul Strabbing

Take over Michael…..

“Growing up in St. Louis, it wasn't a proper family gathering on my father's side of the family unless my Uncle Mark baked his home made gooey butter cake ~ of course my mother adopted the recipe & all too often whipped up a batch for me & my siblings at home! It was the best treat back then & am equally giddy all these years later sharing it with my own kids on trips home to St. Louis to see family! Sure there are grocery store bought varieties & now whole bakeries devoted to different flavors of the stuff but nothing is more reminiscent than the good ole semi-homemade (it is boxed yellow cake mix after all) variety! We even turned it into a pie recently & people were clamoring! Hope y'all crave it as much as I did & do! Enjoy “

Uncle Mark’s Gooey Butter Cake
1 Prepackaged Yellow Cake Mix (15.25 oz)

¼ lb Unsalted Butter (1 Stick)

4 Eggs – Divided

8 oz block Cream Cheese – Softened

1lb Box Powdered Sugar

Heat oven to 350°

Line a 9’ by 13” baking pan with parchment.

In a large bowl, with a hand mixer (not essential but much easier) beat together cake mix, butter and 2 of the 4 eggs until well blended. It will be quite stiff.

Press this mixture into the bottom of the baking dish, making a crust.

In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese and the 2 remaining eggs.

Then gradually beat in the powdered sugar.

Pour over the crust and bake until cake is golden brown with darker edges 30 – 40 minutes.

Cool then cut into bars & dust with powdered sugar!

Johanna Lowe