Nutritional honor runs rampant these days—to the point of making me want to let my fat-soaked, sugar-sprinkled hair down at every opportunity! So, with your permission, I pay homage to a little-known St. Louis dessert that pre-dates the Food Police: a gooey butter cake that will make your esophagus glow. It features sin at three levels:
1) A golden-brown, crumby, cake-y base that's very firm, but very tender, with an almost sticky chew to it;
2) A crackling white frosting on top, merely a patina that creates great texture interest; and
3) The heart of the cake, the gooey yellow middle, custardy, thick but almost runny that carries an almost impossibly explosive burst of butter and treacle.
It’s time to live a little. The following recipe is from Picasso's Pizzeria, a great restaurant in Jacksonville, Florida. It’s owned by a St. Louis emigré who never forgot his roots.