The Real Spirit of St. Louis: Gooey Butter Cake

posted in: Food, Travel, Work 8
Gooey butter cake! (This one is actually pumpkin-flavored.) Photo: Wikipedia.
Gooey butter cake! (This one is actually pumpkin-flavored.) Photo: Wikipedia.


If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you know that I like to learn things about the places I visit and share them with you.

Here’s a post about the Florida panhandle, for example. This dispatch came from from Sioux City, IA; and this one I wrote about Buffalo, NY from Buffalo, NY and in it I discuss the local specialty — sponge candy! — and confess to making myself sick eating a bunch of it.*

Well, greetings from Jefferson City, MO, state capitol — and home of  the gooey butter. Sponge candy, you may have met your match. (I clearly like to learn about places that are known for delicious desserts.)

A gooey butter is a cake, but don’t call it “gooey butter cake” unless you’re from out of town. To locals, it’s just “gooey butter” and it’s legendary in Missouri. As the story goes, a St. Louis baker mixed up the proportion of butter while making up some coffee cake. Rather than throw out what couldn’t be that bad, the cake still being a combination of butter, sugar, flour, and eggs, he baked it anyway. The cake was sugary and sticky; he sliced it up and sold out in short order. Gooey butter was born.

I’m teaching two classes here at the big Missouri State Quilter’s Guild 2016 Retreat and then I’m doing the banquet talk tomorrow night, so I can’t get out to hunt down some gooey butter, but my new pal Terri said she might be able to find some. I told her she’d better not go to any trouble; Terri said, “Hey, if it happens, it happens.”

Terri was the gracious lady who picked me up at the airport and drove us two hours over to Jefferson City. We bonded because we shopped for pajamas together at Target.

The Missouri retreat has a theme each year, and this year it’s “Welcome To My Dream World.” Attendees are encouraged to wear pajamas to the banquet tomorrow night; I have also been encouraged to do this. I thought it sounded sort of silly at first but then I decided it sounded completely awesome. The trouble was that when I was packing yesterday, I realized my nightclothes were not gonna work. Either they were too — how to put this — “wispy,” or they were too old and comfy to become a keynote speaker.

When we got in the car, I asked Terri if there was a Target on the way. She said there was and that hey, she could get some pajamas, too! (She had the same problem as I did re: appropriate public pajamas.)

What I’m getting at is that tomorrow night I may be eating gooey butter in my pajamas — at work. These students loans ain’t gonna pay themselves, people!


*If you go to the right side of the screen and click “Travel” in the list of categories, you’ll see all the PaperGirl posts that have to do with traveling. But note that the “Work” category has a lot of travel writing too, since I’m usually traveling for work. Enjoy!