Gooey St. Louey

At a glance, it looks like a mistake. Something must have gone wrong in the oven, or perhaps before. Maybe carelessly measured ingredients, an inaccurate thermometer, or poor technique led to such a homely appearance. Sunken in the middle, crackled and broken across the surface, it’s no wonder most versions are drowned in a flurry of powdered sugar, as if trying to cover these flaws. Then, there’s the sweetness; oh, such sweetness, as if plain sugar was a bitter pill by comparison!

St. Louis gooey butter cake has quite a reputation, along with a fervent following that wouldn’t have it any other way. It turns out that this Depression-era cake was indeed the result of a Missourian baker’s error. As the legend goes, the ratios were somehow skewed but because ingredients were precious, it was simply sold anyway, repositioned as a pudding-like treat you could eat with a fork. It’s all about marketing, right?

Most modern recipes start with boxed cake mix and use about a pound more sweetener than I would really like to ingest in a year. Purists may scoff, but it genuinely hurts my teeth to think about. If you’re still with me here, craving that same luscious gooey texture with a fuller flavor less obscured by sweetness, pull up a seat and grab a fork.

Everything is better with sprinkles, don’t you agree? If we’re going to make a simple cake, it might as well be a confetti cake. Staying true to its simple vanilla roots, a touch of fresh lemon juice brightens the batter without taking command. More nuanced, delicate, and mature, yet whimsically colorful all at once, this rendition pulls it firmly out of the Depression and back into contemporary kitchens.

A pinch of salt balances out the topping, while the amount of sugar is slashed in half, compared to conventional recipes. Yes, it’s still plenty sweet, but no longer the stuff of dental nightmares. You can indulge without bracing yourself for a sugar crash later in the day.

Gooey butter cake may just be my favorite mistake. If only all our blunders could be so delicious!

Yield: Makes 9 - 12 Servings

St. Louis Gooey Butter Confetti Cake

St. Louis Gooey Butter Confetti Cake

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake gets a plant-based facelift with less sugar, more flavor, and a touch of sprinkles for color! It's just as rich and satisfying as the original, with none of the animal products.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


Cake Base:

  • 1 1/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Cornstarch
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Turmeric
  • 1/2 Cup Vegan Butter, Melted
  • 1/2 Cup Aquafaba
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Almond Extract
  • 2 Tablespoons Sprinkles

Cream Cheese Topping:

  • 1 (8-Ounce) Package Vegan Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Vegan Butter, Melted
  • 1/4 Cup Aquafaba
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Cups Confectioner's Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons Sprinkles


    1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper or aluminum foil and lightly grease; set aside.
    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder and soda, salt, and turmeric. Make a well in the center the dry ingredients and add in the melted butter, aquafaba, lemon juice, vanilla, and almond extract. Stir together with a wide spatula until all ingredients are fully incorporated, being careful not to over-mix. Fold in the sprinkles last.
    3. Transfer the cake batter to your prepared pan, and press it into the bottom with your spatula. Smooth it out into an even layer, making it as flat as possible.
    4. For the topping, place the cream cheese, melted butter, and cornstarch in a medium bowl and beat until smooth. Slowly incorporate the aquafaba, followed by the salt and vanilla. Whisk together the confectioner's sugar and cornstarch before adding both, about a cup at a time, stirring vigorously until smooth and creamy.
    5. Pour the cream cheese mixture over cake and top with sprinkles.
    6. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, until golden brown all over, but the center is still slightly jiggly, much like a cheesecake. Let cool completely before slicing, and chill for at least an hour for the cleanest cuts. Top with additional sprinkles, if desired.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 370Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 447mgCarbohydrates: 53gFiber: 0gSugar: 37gProtein: 2g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.

14 thoughts on “Gooey St. Louey

  1. this looks great! I’m not a big sweets eater, and am definitely put off by anything oversweet. So glad you cut back on the sugar, AND didn’t use a cake mix.

    1. You’re a baker after my own heart! I love dessert but can’t stand how most are more sweet than flavorful.

  2. Thank you so much! I’ve been trying to veganize this cake for YEARS! i will be trying this recipe!

    1. Oh I’m so happy to hear that! I hope this one lives up to your expectations. Please let me know what you think!

  3. Oh Wow Hannah…. that is some cake…. One I will be passing along for my daughter to make.. This is perfect for her….. Sending smiles your way dear Hannah….. Happy Creating your delicious recipes.. <3 <3 <3

    1. You’re so kind! I hope you both love the cake. Getting your encouraging comments is a treat enough for me. :)

    1. Haha, no doubt about it! You could still cut back further… But I feel like it would be a completely different dessert at that point. ;)

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