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Welcome to Hill Reeves, a blog where I write about the things I cook and bake in NYC.

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Ube Gooey Butter Cake

Ube Gooey Butter Cake

Ube Gooey Butter Cake - Hill Reeves
Ube Gooey Butter Cake - Hill Reeves
Ube Gooey Butter Cake - Hill Reeves
Ube Gooey Butter Cake - Hill Reeves
Ube Gooey Butter Cake - Hill Reeves
Ube Gooey Butter Cake - Hill Reeves
Ube Gooey Butter Cake - Hill Reeves
Ube Gooey Butter Cake - Hill Reeves

I'm writing to you, dear readers, from 2 inches from my air conditioner. New York City remains the temperature of a flippin Fourth of July hot dog. We're talking like 90 plus degrees. Oof. Mama is ready for Christmas. And for the days when turning on the oven to bake doesn't sound like the worst idea of my life. 

I think I mentioned last time that my best bud got engaged! And since we have the tastebuds of small children (may I remind you about #DonutBucketList?), we toasted with a glass of champagne and then immediately moved onto the more important ice cream toast at Ample Hills. We both, plus Matt, ordered an ice cream flavor called St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake. I'd never heard of this cake, but luckily Matty is FROM St. Louis, land of fried ravioli and other really great food inventions. He gave us the low down on this cake and then I gobbled down my ice cream cone and I decide then and there that this was my new fave treat and I had to make it!

I also *had* to use the ube jam that Iris's parents brought me all the way from the Philippines! Have you had this stuff? I know ube is super trendy right now cause of those very cool donuts, as it should be. When I tasted ube for the first time, I also think it was with Iris and in the form of ice cream--hm, sensing a trend--and it was purple and sweet, but not too sweet, with a slight earthy, yamish flavor (and I usually hate yams!). Mm I cannot get enough. And strangely I couldn't find the right "jam" I wanted in any Filipino store in Woodside, so Iris asked her parentals to bring me some when they came to the states for a visit. I am a lucky woman.

So, inspired by gooey butter cake and ube and my lifetime of ice cream adventures, I put together this ube gooey butter cake! I adapted it from this recipe found on The New York Times. During my gooey butter cake research, too, I learned that St. Louisans (?) often will make a pumpkin gooey butter cake for Thanksgiving which made me feel like I was really onto something. Ube is kind of like pumpkin, in a way...right?

Promise you, this cake is one of my very best. Ask Candice for confirmation. She ate like the whole thing and then texted me the next day, extolling its virtues and thanking me again for "the breakfast cake." 

Reminder: take or leave the food coloring, but getting that purple punch is my favorite part of ube-flavored treats!

Ube Gooey Butter Cake

  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 6 Tbsp butter, at room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup ube jam
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • For the Top Cake Layer

  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp water
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 10 Tbsp butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup ube jam
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • purple food coloring (optional)
  • pinch salt

Cooking Directions

  1. Mix water with yeast in a small bowl. Set aside until foam forms, 5 minutes.
  2. Cream butter and sugar. When fluffy, add egg, ube, and salt. Beat well. Add in 1/3 of the flour and beat, then 1/3 of the yeast mixture. Beat until well incorporated. Repeat with second 1/3 of flour, then yeast, then flour, then yeast.
  3. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat mixture for another seven minutes or so, until dough pulls away from bowl and is elastic.
  4. Press dough into an ungreased 9 x 13' baking dish. Cover with a clean towel and leave in a warm place until doubled in size, about 3 hours.
  5. After 3 hours, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine honey with water to loosen, plus vanilla. Stir.
  6. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in ube jam and egg until well-combined.
  7. Alternately add in flour and honey mixture, like with the first layer. With last addition of honey, also add in a few drops of purple food coloring (or red + blue!) if using and a pinch of salt. Combine well.
  8. Spoon batter over risen dough and spread into even layer. Bake for 40 minutes, and then turn off oven heat and let cake rest in oven for another 5 to 10 minutes.
  9. Let cool and slice--cake should still be gooey in the center! Serve.
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