The Willy Wonka Of Gbc: Park Avenue Coffee
After years of being a strictly local indulgence, gooey butter cake has been gaining a national reputation, most notably when Iron Chef Michael Symon of Food Feuds declared Park Avenue Coffee to have the best GBC in town. The shop, which has five locations in St. Louis, is owned and operated by the brother-and-sister team of Dale and Marilyn Schotte. We grew up in a large Catholic family, and for big events, everyone was commissioned to make a dish, Dale Schotte told HuffPost. Our mom always made the gooey butter cake, using her grandmothers recipe.
For the Schottes, the fun is in the flavors, and they offer a host of imaginative versions that rival Willy Wonkas Chocolate Factory. They bake 73 varieties of gooey butter cake, including moms traditional, red velvet, butter pecan, chocolate chip cookie dough, turtle and Elvis . Seasonally, they offer specials like pumpkin caramel pecan, peppermint bark, eggnog and gingerbread.
We have the top six sellers available at all locations every day, plus six seasonal flavors, he said. We bake 50,000 cakes a year, and weve shipped to all 50 states and around the world. For those who want to re-create the GBC taste in their own kitchens, Park Avenue Coffee offers a bake-at-home mix in moms traditional, double chocolate and white chocolate raspberry versions.
Park Avenue Coffees tips for home cooks
Missouri Baking Company St Louis
Chris Gambaro doesnt claim any ownership of gooey butter cake, though he does make a favorite among St. Louisans who visit The Hillthe neighborhood settled by Italian immigrants who originally made their home and workplace on the citys highest point at the beginning of the late nineteenth century. You can normally find Chris at Missouri Baking Company, the bakery his grandfather, Stefano Stephen Gambaro, opened in 1924 after journeying to America. Stefano came to Missouri to make Italian bread and éclairs for Garavellis cafeteria on DeBaliviere in Gaslight Square. Opened in 1917 by another Italian immigrant, Garavellis closed in 2013. Chris and his sister, Camille Mimi Lordo, own and operate Missouri Baking Company today, and serve some thirty varieties of cookies and more than fifty pastries, along with stollen, Danish, cheesecake, cobblers, strudels, andof coursegooey butter cake. I just use a coffee cake dough in an eight-by-eight-inch mold, butter, sugar, eggs, evaporated milk, and flour to hold it together, Chris explains. His skill and imagination turn this simple recipe into ten different varieties, including eggnog, apple cinnamon, and cherry, depending on the season. The way we bake is the old-fashioned way, Mimi says. You just cant hire that out. Facebook: Missouri Baking Co 2027 Edwards Street 314-773-4122
Was Gooey Butter Cake An Accident
Thanks to its significant German immigrant population, St. Louis always had a plentiful supply of corner bars . The only thing those early residents loved as much as beer was sweet baked goods, so the corners of St. Louis that werent occupied by taverns filled up with neighborhood bakeries. Lots of bakeries meant lots of competition, which led to increasing attempts to come up with new sweet treats that would keep customers streaming to your little corner of the world.
Although there are many versions and variations of the story, the basic legend goes like this: the first gooey butter cake most likely was made sometime in the 1930s at St. Louis Pastries Bakery. It was cooked up by baker John Hoffman, said Dale Schotte of Park Avenue Coffee. But Hoffman mistakenly reversed the proportions in his cake batter. With so little flour, the cake didnt rise, and with so much sugar, it was heavy, dense and caramelized around the crust. Hoffman named his mistake gooey butter cake. People loved it, and a bakery star was born.
Catherine Neville is the publisher of Feast, a regional culinary publication headquartered in St. Louis. Shes also producer and host of the PBS show tasteMAKERS. For her, the key to gooey butter cakes lasting popularity is its roots in home kitchens. Anyone who grew up in St. Louis remembers eating this cake, she told HuffPost.
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Park Avenue Coffee’s Second Location In Downtown St Louis Is Now Open
Situated in the former Starbucks space at 521 Olive, the coffee shop is in the heart of the business district.
Courtesy Park Avenue Coffee
Park Avenue Coffee expanded its footprint in the city today, with a new downtown location opening in the former Starbucks space at 521 Olive. It marks the St. Louis coffee shop’s second location within a five-block radius.
When Starbucks left that space, they left a huge void in the business/financial district of St. Louis, says owner Dale Schotte. Within a two-block area, theres the five biggest buildings in downtown St. Louis. Those business people arent walking five blocks to get coffee.
Accordingly, the new location will be open during the workweek, from 7 a.m.2 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Courtesy Park Avenue Coffee
Courtesy Park Avenue Coffee
In addition to coffee and tea, available food options include a scratch-made quiche and a breakfast sandwich with bacon, egg, and cheddar on an all-butter croissant.
The new location will also offer Park Avenue Coffees regionally cherished gooey butter cakes, with a wide variety of flavors for every occasion. Current seasonal cakes for November include pumpkin caramel pecan , turtle, and pumpkin proper. Next months holiday flavors will include peppermint bark, ginger bread, and pecan pie.
Courtesy Park Avenue Coffee
Follow Park Avenue Coffee on , , and for updates and more information.
How To Make The Perfect Gooey Butter Cake According To St Louis Chefs
On Assignment For HuffPost
Some desserts are made to be eaten while wearing a tight-waisted ballgown or a perfectly tailored little black dress. Light-as-air macarons or adorably tiny petits fours are the post-prandial choice of the sort of person who nibbles daintily, brushes crumbs away from still-lipsticked lips and declares, I couldnt eat another bite.
Gooey butter cake is not that kind of dessert.
In its birthplace of St. Louis, GBC is the sort of treat thats best enjoyed while wearing the roomiest sweatpants possible, preferably while standing at a kitchen counter or seated at a splintery picnic table at a swelteringly hot family reunion . It has never been and couldnt be even if it tried a dessert that puts on airs.
Its looks are unassuming, to put it kindly. In the traditional version, its served directly in its baking pan and covered with nothing more than a light dusting of powdered sugar. Yellow, flat and unadorned, it lacks height, depth and decoration. But take one bite and youll realize that, despite its humble looks, gooey butter cake will get you right in the feels: buttery, sweet, crunchy and creamy sensations come with each blissful bite.
Read Also: Mcarthur’s Gooey Butter Cake Recipe
Why Gooey Butter Cake Specialist Park Avenue Coffee Is Doubling Down On Downtown
ST. LOUIS Park Avenue Coffee this month will open a second location in downtown St. Louis, filling what CEO and Owner Dale Schott calls a “specialty coffee void” left with the departure of the neighborhood’s standalone Starbucks location.
The coffee and baked goods retailer which touts its varieties of gooey butter cake, a St. Louis staple will take over the space Starbucks vacated last year at the corner of Sixth and Olive streets, across the street from One Metropolitan Square, one of downtown’s largest office buildings.
The new store will only be about five blocks east of Park Avenue’s current downtown location at 417 N. 10th St., which Schott launched 10 years ago and intends to continue operating. While Starbucks still operates a location inside the St. Louis Marriott Grand Hotel, a few blocks north on Washington Avenue, Schott believes the departure of the standalone store left a void for office dwellers in that part of downtown.
“The folks getting the coffee in the middle of the day arent walking five blocks to get it. We dont have a lot of those people making the trip to our 10th Street location,” he said.
Though the project has faced some delays, Schott has tentatively scheduled the new location to open on July 19.
Its expansion downtown appears counter to a recent trend of closures some permanent, some temporary among quick-service food and beverage options in that area.
The Neighborhood Spot: Mcarthurs Bakery
Scott Rinaberger is the owner of McArthurs Bakery, which has been in business since 1956. Each bakery in town takes a lot of pride in the uniqueness of its gooey butter cake, he told HuffPost. There are so many variations today that I see it as being similar to fried chicken. Like fried chicken, there is no such thing as bad gooey butter cake. You probably like the one thats closest to what your mom used to make, but you really cant go wrong, no matter what you choose.
McArthurs offers St. Louis south city classic and chocolate chip versions, in sizes from 8-inch squares to full sheets that can feed as many as 80 people. The bakery makes 175,000 gooey butter cakes each year, and the cakes are available both at the bakery and at local Aldis and Save A Lot grocery stores.
Our gooey butter cake is a balance between being sweet and being overly sweet, he said. One thing Ill tell you, we strongly believe in powdered sugar and in having lots of goo in the center. The way I see it, the cake is just there to hold the goo in place. The base of their version is made with yeast. Our base is more delicate, not nearly as firm, as some of the other kinds in town, he said.
What we do well is the classics. Thats what people expect out of the McArthurs brand getting a gooey butter cake like the one their grandparents enjoyed 60 years ago, he added.
McArthurs tips for home cooks
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Cravings St Louis Gooey Butter Cake
Makes one 9-inch cake
Recipe courtesy of Cravings Gourmet Desserts, Inc, 2010
4 ounces unsalted butter
9 ounces granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/8 cup all purpose flour
8 ounces cake crumbs
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and lightly flour a 9-inch round cake pan. Add cake crumbs to the bottom of the pan set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix until well blended. Scrape bowl thoroughly. Beat in corn syrup scrape bowl. Add water. Mix thoroughly. Add vanilla and salt. Add flour on low speed. Scrape bowl. Mix thoroughly
3. Spread the gooey butter batter over the cake crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes until the top forms a crust. It may crack, and thats OK. Cool for 5 to 8 minutes, then invert onto a cake plate and flip back to right-side-up.
The Small Cafe Park Avenue Coffee In Missouri Has Gooey Butter Cake Known Around The World
Gooey butter cake fans, this ones for you! Those of us with a sweet tooth know that theres really only one way to cure it: with a generous helping of gooey butter cake. We can find plenty of restaurants and bakeries that serve tasty gooey butter cake. However, you probably wont find a better selection than you will at this café in Missouri.
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Review Of Park Avenue Coffee
Saw a sign for this coffee house nearby boasting of the best gooey butter cake. A sucker for sweets, had to follow the directions on the sign and try the coffee house. It was like home! Small and quaint with excellent service. The cake melts in your mouth. The service and food were soo good, my husband and I returned the next day. So sorry I did not bring any back home with me.
63 – 67 of 99 reviews
Heard this was the place to get best St. Louis original Gooey Butter Cake so we stopped for mid morning coffee. Coffee was fantastic and the gooey butter cakes were very good. They had at least 15 different kinds the morning we were there. Great staff and a cute little coffee shop in a great neighborhood.
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At our lake & minnetonka boulevard location we serve expertly roasted coffee blends & espressos and our handcrafted beverages, such as mochas and lattes, are created using only the best ingredients. When coffee giant starbucks last year closed its location at sixth and olive streets, schotte, who already operates a park avenue coffee location five blocks west at a 417 n. Iced quad espresso stat .
Freshly baked daily, bread is the foundation of our menu, served alongside flavorful bowls of. Coffee & tea in st. Two people can enjoy their massage experience together, side by side in our couples room.
Caribou coffee on highway 7. Isles bun & coffee company. The shop, located in the heart of the city park, looks like a stone cottage straight out of a fairy tale set on an emerald green sward.
Ranked #2 for coffee shops in saint louis park. Look no further than francis park in south st. Louis where youll find handcrafted coffees, lattes, tea, smoothies, snacks, and more at lanai coffee house, which opened on may 9 th this spring.
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The James Beard Winner: Cravings
Native St. Louisan Tim Brennan owns Cravings Restaurant and Bakery, which is a two-time winner of a James Beard Award for Best Dessert in the Midwest and was named One of 10 Best Places to have Dessert by USA Today.
Brennan learned to love gooey butter cake when he was growing up in St. Louis Soulard neighborhood. When he was a child, a trip to Fresenbergs Bakery was a weekend treat for his family of eight kids.
Its a very sweet cake, and Ive learned from my many years of running a bakery here that this city likes things on the sweet side, Brennan told HuffPost. Hes especially drawn to the point-counterpoint of the cakes crust and filling: I love that contrast in consistency between the chewy crust and the creamy filling. The texture is what makes it so wonderful.
Whenever gooey butter cake is on the menu at Cravings, the loyalists flock in, he reported. Although the dessert has a strong pull of nostalgia for those who grew up eating it, Brennan said its also gained a following from the younger set. Lots of people who love it are way too young to remember the corner bakery version, he said. I have nieces and nephews in their 20s who really like it.
Cravings tips for home cooks
What you drink to accompany that warm-from-the-oven slice is important, too. Brennan takes his GBC with a cup of very strong black coffee. With all that sweetness from the cake, youll need it, he said.