Gluten Free Dairy Free Gooey Butter Cake Recipe

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by Carol Kicinski on October 25, 2010

After I posted the gluten free recipe makeover I did for Georgia I received an email from a reader named Diane whose son is 7 years old, autistic and on a gluten free, casein free diet. She said her son’s favorite dessert is Gooey Butter Cake and she had not had good luck converting it and asked for my help.

This was a little more challenging than normal because not only have I never had Gooey Butter Cake, I had never even heard of it. So I hit the internet to see what I could find out.

Well, turns out the world of Gooey Butter Cake is roughly divided into two camps; those that use a boxed cake mix with butter and cream cheese and those that use a yeast type cake dough with lots of butter, no cream cheese and a topping made of corn starch, eggs, sugar and flour.

I can only assume that the latter was the original and the recipe eventually was made more convenient by the use of boxed cake mix and the cream cheese in some way duplicated or came close to the flavor of the original topping.

Since the recipe Diane sent me was the former version I decide to start with that.

Here is the recipe I was sent:

Bottom half of the cake:
1 yellow cake mix
1 stick butter
2 eggs

Top half of cake
2 eggs
1 package cream cheese softened
1 lb powdered sugar
1 stick butter

Mix cake mix, stick of melted butter and 2 eggs together and press into 9x13x2 pan. Cream eggs and softened cream cheese together. Mix in powder sugar. Slowly add melted butter. Pour over cake batter. Bake at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top.

Diane had tried making the cake with gluten-free cake mix, Earth Balance and dairy free cream cheese.  She was not happy with the result, bottom part was dry and she didn’t care for the taste of the topping although the kids did.  They agreed however that the bottom was too dry.

So I went with my secret weapon for moist gluten-free, dairy free or vegan cakes and cupcakes, Vegenaise. I love to use this in baking as it results in a really moist cake.  Since we are so happy with Vegenaise, made by Follow Your Heart, around here I also used Follow Your Heart’s dairy free cream cheese.

My cake was certainly not dry!  In fact the resulting effort was so moist it is almost like a pudding cake.  There were two layers but I am not sure they are as distinct as a traditional Gooey Butter Cake should be.   Also my bottom layer was more gooey than the top layer – hum…

So what’s the verdict?  In my opinion this gluten-free, dairy free cake is delicious.  But I did what I always do when I need an honest opinion about anything “alternative,” I tricked my husband into tasting it.  I was happy to hear the cake got a big thumbs up!

Should I call this a Gooey Butter Cake?  I’m not sure.  I am going to let Diane be the judge.  But I am not going to rest on my laurels just because this was a really delicious dessert.  I have decided to try a round two, using a combo of the two methods and see it I can get more distinct layers the next time.  I will post the results of Gluten Free Dairy Free Gooey Butter Cake Take Two as soon as I have them and you can also decide which one looks best.

Until then here is the recipe for Take One and for me, it is back to baking and taste-testing.  Boy my life is hard sometimes.

If you have a really good gluten-free flour blend you like, you can use 1½ cups of that in place of the flours and starches.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Gooey Butter Cake Recipe


Bottom Layer

½ cup superfine white rice flour
1/3 cup millet flour
1/3 cup superfine sweet rice flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup lite coconut milk (the lite has less of a coconut flavor than full fat -shake can well before measuring)
½ cup Vegenaise
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract


2 large eggs, at room temperature
8 ounces Follow Your Heart Cream Cheese Alternative, at room temperature
1 pound powdered sugar plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup soy free Earth Balance, melted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x13x2 inch glass or ceramic baking dish with gluten-free, non-stick cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the white rice flour, millet flour, sweet rice flour, tapioca starch, baking soda, salt and espresso powder.

In a separate mixing bowl whisk together the sugar, coconut milk, Vegenaise and vanilla. Add the coconut milk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir or whisk to combine.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and let sit for about 15 minutes or so, it will become less liquid as it sits.

In the mixing bowl of an electric mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the eggs and cream cheese alternative on medium high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Turn the mixer to low and gradually add the powdered sugar, mix until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary. Add the vanilla, mix well and then gradually add in the melted Earth Balance.

Bake for 40 – 50 minutes or until the cake looks set but not dry. Let cool and dust the gluten free
Gooey Butter Cake with more powdered sugar.


A gluten free recipe that serves 6 people.

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Ready for dessert?

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Categories:    Dessert

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Daily Morning Coffee October 26, 2010 at 12:48 am

Looks nice and yummy. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I will surely try this out.


Donna October 26, 2010 at 4:50 am

I have nver had gooey butter cake either but this looks amazing!


Lisa (bakebikeblog) October 26, 2010 at 1:01 pm

What a delightful cake indeed!!!!


gfe--gluten free easily October 26, 2010 at 1:42 pm

I used to make this recipe, but we didn't call it gooey butter cake. I'm drawing a blank on what we did call it now. Hubby always mistakenly thought there was lemon involved, but no lemons or lemon juice were included. Yours looks great, Carol! BTW, one can save a lot of money by just getting the full-fat coconut and using half of that (after shaking) and half filtered water for whatever measurement is called for. Lite coconut milk is just coconut milk with water added per my understanding. Homemade lite coconut milk works great and saves a lot as they are both the same price at my store. ;-)

Another successful conversion, Carol! Now I'm still thinking on what we called this cake. Chess Cake I think and then sometimes it was called some kind of bars. Hmmm …



Kristina @ spabettie October 26, 2010 at 3:50 pm

YES !! this sounds FABULOUS!! thank you – I WILL be making this !!


Joy October 27, 2010 at 4:44 am

Looks like a great makeover already but I am excited to see the next one! I started using Vegenaise in baking after I tried your vegan German Chocolate cupcakes, I agree! Cakes and cupcakes come out so moist.


Kim-Cook it Allergy Free October 27, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Carol, this is fabulous! I am so going to make this for my hubby! The one recipe he always requested before going gluten free was Paula Deen's Ooey Gooey Pumpkin Butter cake. Similar to the recipe you were sent but using pumpkin as well. Sooo good but sooo naughty! Had not even thought about trying to recreate it gf….


Carla Spacher October 27, 2010 at 8:18 pm

How sweet of you to help this child! Looks delish!


The Short (dis)Order Cook October 28, 2010 at 11:23 am

I have a recipe from Paula Deen's cookbook that uses cake mix and it's delicious. I never thought of a gluten-free version as it's been a lon time since I made it. Now that you have shown a gluten-free version, I'm thinking I have to give it a shot. I'd love to see a gluten-free version that isn't dairy free ('cause it's a BUTTER cake after all).


Anne Marie October 28, 2010 at 4:59 pm

This sounds really good. Must try!

I wonder how it would taste with cut up apples mixed in (apple cake).

(Before I was on a wheat free diet, I used to make an apple cake that looks similar to the picture.)


The InTolerant Chef October 29, 2010 at 3:36 am

Still can't find any veganaise here in Austalia.


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