Image courtesy of Katherine Bish
While most cakes are known for being light and fluffy, one Midwestern staple bucks the trend. Gooey butter cake is flat and dense, typically made with wheat cake flour, butter, sugar, and eggs, and dusted with powdered sugar.

Generally served in more of a casual format like a coffee cake, this signature dessert is the pride of St. Louis. History links it to the Great Depression, when a German baker mixed up certain ingredients that created a thick gooey topping.

Today, the unique treat is popular all over the country. However, the best place to get a slice of this Midwest classic is still St. Louis. Several of the city’s bakeries and coffeehouses specialize in it, both in traditional versions and in variations. A beloved seasonal rendition occurs in the fall, when the original inclusion is replaced with pumpkin and spices to create Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake.

One of the best places in the city for gooey butter cake is Gooey Louie. The bakery is believed by many to be the top choice for the dessert, thanks to its singular focus on it. It offers a dozen delicious flavors, including Chocolate Chippewa (loaded with semi-sweet chocolate chips), Chocolate Raspberry, Devil’s Food, Key Lime, and Red Velvet. Business Insider recognized Gooey Louie as having the best dessert in the state of Missouri.

Park Avenue Coffee is another spot known for creating amazing gooey butter cakes. The shop has been lauded for its Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake, as well as its specialty selections like Banana Split, Apple Cinnamon, and Berry Explosion.

Image courtesy of Piccione Pastry
The gooey butter cakes at Park Avenue Coffee are made by Ann & Allen Baking Company, its sister operation. One way Park Avenue Coffee has stood out from the crowd is that it also sells box mixes for home bakers.

Artisan bread baker Companion Bakery may be known for its doughy offerings, but this bakery has also mastered gooey butter cake. Its version stands out in that it uses brown sugar. These cakes are available at Companion’s bakehouse, select retail grocery and food shops, and at its Cafe locations.

Gooey butter cake doesn’t always have to come in the traditional version. Piccione Pastry, known for its decadent cannoli, serves up gooey butter cake as a filling flavor for the traditional Italian dessert.

Regardless of how people eat it, the “Show Me State” has really shown its creativity with gooey butter cake.