Linda Lahey from Baltimore was looking for the recipe for gooey butter cake that her father used to bring home every Sunday from the Marquad bakery when she was growing up. The bakery is long gone, but the memory of that delicious cake still makes her mouth water.
Michelle McManus from Pine Grove, Pa., said her husband, who is now 77 and grew up in Baltimore, was also very fond of this cake, and they searched for the recipe for some time. Her sister-in-law had the recipe for this Philadelphia-style German butter cake that they think is reminiscent of it.
McManus said she finds the cake turns out better if she rolls out the base layer rather than patting it into the pan. She also said that when she can’t find the extra-fine sugar the recipe calls for, she just processes regular sugar in the blender or food processor until it becomes finer.
This recipe is a little time-consuming because the base layer is made with a yeast dough that needs time to rise before you can roll it out.
It’s very important not to overbake this cake. It should be golden brown but still wobbly when you take it out.
Don’t worry, the center is meant to ooze when you cut into it — you haven’t made a mistake. The rich yeast cake underneath the gooey, buttery goodness and crunchy topping is quite wonderful, and I hope mine came close to the one that Lahey recalls so fondly from her youth.