Gooey butter cakes are a specialty of St. Louis. Lemon Gooey Butter Cake in a Brioche Crust takes this homey cake into another realm. The original gooey butter featured a yeast raised crust. It was later changed to a yellow cake by some. I have skirted the issue by using a rich brioche dough that is so easy to make you won't believe it. I came up with this method years ago and it was featured on the cover and in a 10 page article in Bon Appetit magazine where it was used in 12 recipes I developed. It is also one of the chapters in my first book, The New Pastry Cook. The name 60 Second Brioche comes from the fact it takes about that long to mix in a food processor.
Because the dough is very rich in eggs and butter, a starter is used to multiple the number of yeast cells available to the finished dough. See Yeast as it Relates to Bread.
Gooey butter cakes are very rich. This Lemon Gooey Butter Cake is no exception. To help cut the sweetness of the filling I have paired it with a lemon curd. The curd cannot be made in a smaller amount so only half of it is used.
To make this Lemon Gooey Butter cake an even more remarkable dessert or coffeecake, it can be made in its entirety and frozen. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight, then briefly heat it in a 350 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes just to take the chill off.
I have included instructions for making the brioche in a mixer if there is no processor available.
60 Second Brioche - For how to photo's, please go to here. Make sure you use the ingredients listed below.
⅔ teaspoon instant yeast
1 ½ tablespoons warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
Pinch of sugar
1 ⅓ cups bread flour (185 grams or 6 ½ ounces)
1 tablespoons sugar
⅓ teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, cold (114 grams or 4 ounces)
2 eggs, room temperature
3 tablespoons light cream or half and half, room temperature
In a small bowl, place 2 tablespoons of flour removed from the 1 ⅓ cups of flour, the yeast and a pinch of sugar. Stir in the warm water, cover with film and allow to double in bulk – about 15 to 20 minutes.
In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, place the remaining flour, salt and sugar. Process 5 seconds to mix. Cut the cold butter into ¾ inch slices and place in a circle over the dry ingredients. Process until the butter is indistinguishable in the mixture, about 20 seconds. Scrape down and process 20 seconds more. Place the eggs in a circle over the dry ingredients, pour the cream over the eggs, and add the sponge, also in a circle. Process approximately 25 seconds until the ball which initially forms breaks down into a creamy, evenly dispersed batter in the processor bowl. Do not stop processing until this batter is formed, as the motor may stall when you try to restart it.
The batter will be very sticky and that is as it should be. Remove it from the processor bowl and place in a greased bowl. The batter has very little elasticity and is easily managed with a large plastic bowl scraper. Cover securely with plastic wrap directly on top of the batter and cover with a towel. Let rise at room temperature 2 ½ to 3 hours, longer if the room is cool until doubled in bulk. Stir down with a spoon, re-cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The dough may or may not rise again in the refrigerator. It doesn’t make a difference. Deflate the dough, if risen, and use as directed.
The butter for this method must be at room temperature.
Make the sponge as above.
After the sponge has risen, place everything but the butter in the mixing bowl, preferably fitted with a dough hook. Mix the dough then beat it for 3 minutes. Add the butter about 1 tablespoon at a time. Add more butter as the previous amount has been absorbed until it is all added.
Continue as above.
Note: This dough may be held in the refrigerator up to 3 days before using.
Lemon Curd - You will be using ½ of this. For how to photos of the Lemon Curd, please go to https://europeantarts.com/2012/08/05/lemon-curd/
2 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
½ cup sugar (100 grams or 3 ½ ounces)
½ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed - do not use the bottle version
1 stick cold butter, cut into 6 pieces (114 grams or 4 ounces
Place the eggs and yolks in the top of a double boiler. Whisk to combine. Whisk in the sugar and lemon juice. Add the butter. Place over hot water and, stirring constantly, bring to 172 degrees on a candy thermometer.
Pour into a storage container, cover the surface with plastic wrap; poke a few holes in it and refrigerate to cool. This may be made days ahead of time.
Yield: 1 ⅔ cup or approximately 450 grams
Gooey Butter Filling 1 ¼ cups sugar (250 grams)
1 stick butter, room temperature
¼ teaspon salt
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour (160 grams)
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla
Beat the sugar, butter and salt together until combined. Add the egg and cornsyrup, beating just to combine. Add the vanilla and water as well as the flour and mix to combine.
Cold brioche dough
½ Lemon Curd
Gooey Butter Filling
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 10x2 inch pan well. I have used a deep dish quiche pan here with a removable bottom. A regular round pan of the same size can also be used. If either of these are not available, use a 9x2 inch pan and bake a bit longer. Set aside.
The brioche must be very cold to work. Form it into a ball and pat it flat. Roll it out quickly into a 14 inch circle. Place it in the pan making sure the brioche is seated well into the edges by pulling the sides in and laying them into the edges of the pan. Let the excess overhang the pan. Clean finish the edge by cutting the dough off at the top of the pan with the palm of your hand.If the brioche gets too warm to work at any point, refrigerate it until it is workable.
Spread the Gooey Butter Filling in the bottom of the pan. With the back of a spoon, make wells at random in the filling. Fill with the lemon curd. With a spatula, turn the gooey butter filling over the lemon curd without going through to the bottom of the brioche. Smooth the top. Rap the pan on the table. Loosely fold the overhang into the pan. It will not cover the filling. The filling should still be visible in the center. Press down lightly. Cover and let rest at room temperature 20 to 30 minutes.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the brioche is nicely browned. The filling will seem loose. As it cools, the filling will firm up. Refrigerate overnight. Remove from pan and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Allow to come to room temperature. Cut and serve.
[email protected] says
Helen, this Butter Cake looks just beautiful. I appreciate the hands on photos. When working with pastry, it is always nice to be able to "see" each stage. I have pinned it for others to enjoy.
Thank you so much Mary. I am fortunate to have my husband, a retired professional photographer, work with me.
Vicki Bensinger says
Oh Helen I love gooey butter cake and in fact had been thinking of trying to make a pumpkin one but your version sounds way to good to pass up. It's sort of like a galette in form. Wonderful!
Thanks so much Vicki: We sold these at the shop and people just fell in love with them.