48 responses

  1. Gaetano
    August 30, 2009

    Mmmm that does look just right! When i was a kid growing up in Philly our neighborhood bakey was German. My buddies and I would all chip in to get a couple of these cakes and eat them with 1/2 gals of ice tea on summer mornings. 1000x tastier than a tastycake.

  2. debbie koenig
    September 2, 2009

    Gaetano, please tell me you stopped gorging on these cakes at some point! I can't imagine the human heart could take so much butter for very long.

  3. Gaetano
    September 7, 2009


    I tried out your recipe and ate about 1/2 the cake. That's the first bite I've had since the 70's.

    It tasted just like the version I ate, way back when, at Scherrer's Bakery.

  4. debbie koenig
    September 7, 2009

    Hey, that's great, Gaetano! So glad I could give you a little piece of your youth. Now do me a favor, and don't go eating the other half any time soon–your arteries need a break.

  5. lorraine lasalle
    January 2, 2011

    can't believe it this is the recipe that looks just like stocks in philly I moved to DE. and have been googling for months thank you can't wait to bake miss fishtown

  6. debbie koenig
    January 5, 2011

    So glad I could help, Lorraine! Hope it turns out the way you expected.

  7. Patrick
    February 2, 2011

    This was my favorite cake growing up in Philly. A bakery on the corner of Lawrence St & Girard Ave made it only on week ends. It finally closed after all these years.
    There is a bakery in Riverside NJ that still makes this but the baker refused to share the recipe with me.
    Thanks for this.

  8. Marilyn
    March 12, 2011

    Thank you Debbie for the pictures! This looks exactly like the Philadelphia butter cake we would buy from the Daleville "branch" of the Kaltenbach Bakery, Scranton, PA. I plan to make it this coming week for Saturday breakfast when my sister comes this weekend. She will be blown away with the memory!I've looked for the recipe before but wasn't sure it was the right one until I saw your blog with the pictures. Thanks for sharing!

  9. mare
    April 23, 2011

    Oh my gosh….finally the real thing. I baked a "buttercake" from the food tv network and it looked like the real thing but was far from the real taste and ooziness. Hopefully yours will be IT. thanks so much….and I'll be back to let you know. Mare from Maine and Bucks Cty

  10. debbie koenig
    April 24, 2011

    Good luck, Mare! Hope this is the one.

  11. Anonymous
    July 3, 2011

    My hopes are high, now that i've finally stumbled upon this recipe. As a kid in Philly my grandmother would take me to the bakery when i was visiting. We would buy a butter cake. I loved it!

  12. KK
    August 4, 2011

    Made your recipe, and its very good. The topping has a kind of microscopic bubble, marshmallowy texture. The yeast cake stays soft and nice even til the I was wondering how it would taste if I used buttermilk in the topping. My thought is "ohhhh yummmm!"

  13. debbie koenig
    August 4, 2011

    So glad you liked it, KK! Thanks for stopping back to let me know. If you do try buttermilk, I'd love to hear about it.

  14. CastawayKay
    August 30, 2011

    Oh my goodness THANK YOU! I was raised in a small suburb of Philly called Drexel Hill in Upper Darby. Just about every Sunday after church my mom would take me to a place in Havertown on Township Line called the Yummy Bakery ( we always called it YumYum Bake Shop) for breakfast and to pick up a delicious buttercake!
    I have searched and searched and made about 4 different recipes I found online, none of which turned out to be right, but when I saw your photos, and ready your desciption I knew THIS HAD TO BE THE RIGHT ONE!
    I immediately printed this out and am in the process of making it right now. Just waiting for the dough to finish rising.
    I am hoping I finally got this right because I live in South East Texas now, and there simply aren't any corner bakeries, and certainly not one has heard of a buttercake.
    The only question I have is do you grease the pan? You didn't mention whether the pan was greased or ungreased in the directions. I am likely gonna give a light coat of nonstick spray just because I don't want another tragety. But thank you so much for posting and I hope it comes out just like the ooey gooey buttery sweet delight I remember from home!

    • Lisa
      November 25, 2011

      CastawayKay, I’m from Havertown and grew up with Yummy buttercakes too! I haven’t tried the recipe yet – did it turn out the way you remembered? I think I’ll be making this tomorrow. Unfortunately, Yummy closed a few years ago so I won’t be able to buy one to compare.

  15. DeborahAnne
    October 5, 2011

    I just found this – and my childhood memories of this cake are very similar to those of the other posters. I *know* I shouldn't make this, because then I'll eat it – probably all of it – but it has been so many years. My parents are gone, but this will bring back memories of Sunday mornings after Mass. Thanks for posting this!

  16. debbie koenig
    October 5, 2011

    CastawayKay, I'm pretty sure I gave the pan a spritz with nonstick spray–it's nearly automatic when I'm baking. But it's been a while and I honestly don't remember! Did yours work out ok?

    DeborahAnne, thank you so much! I'm thrilled to think this recipe is something that has emotional resonance for so many people.

  17. debbie koenig
    October 5, 2011

    Actually, CastawayKay, I just re-read the instructions. It does say to use a "well-greased" pan! Hope yours came out ok.

  18. Suellen
    November 19, 2011

    My family still orders butter cake from the Mayfair Bakery in Philly so we can pick them up as we as passing by on our way up and down the east coast. There is nothing like it – and it is not easy to find! I just did a visit to Philly and took a food tour, and the guide had no idea what I was talking about, and a bakery we stopped at could not make it despite numerous attempts. Can’t wait to try this recipe – it looks just like the ones we get! Thank you!

  19. Clare K. – Goshen, NY
    November 25, 2011

    My search is over!Have been trying for years to find this recipe. I have the fondest memories of devouring this gooey dessert when the family had Sunday breakfast together. If you didn’t pre-order or weren’t first in line at Marzel’s you faced disappointment. This cake was sold out in one hour.

    I just began working at a new bakery and can’t wait to offer this delight to our customers. Who knows, Fishtown may be resurrected in Goshen, NY.

  20. Alyr
    November 20, 2012

    Did you have to compare it to “bodily fluids”? A little dramatic, too refusing to even taste it.

  21. Karen M.
    December 13, 2012

    Oh. My. God. I have been searching for a butter cake recipe for a while now – I cannot wait to try yours out! My mouth is watering just thinking about it. :) Thanks!!!

  22. Sophie
    December 17, 2012

    My father was a German baker in Bucks County near Philadelphia and made this. Haven’t had it in over 40 years. I’ve been looking for this recipe for ages. This looks exactly like it, can’t wait to make it and bring back great memories. Thanks so much.

  23. Kim
    January 22, 2013

    It’s not the butter that’ll kill you, it’s the sugar, flour & shortening. I would use all butter & try a gluten-free coconut flour mixture. Unfortunately, there is no powdered sugar substitute that’s low carb. I’ll just have to have a tiny piece…..!

    • Dorothy
      January 21, 2014

      You can use palm sugar to get a natural sugar with a low glycemic index. I have not baked much else but banana bread with it yet though.

  24. Alice
    January 22, 2013

    Yori’s bakery in West Chester, PA, makes authentic, to die for, German Butter Cake. Just finished the one we bought while our daughter was here last week.

  25. lori
    February 5, 2013

    I made this for my son’s 10th birthday cake… (this is his FAVORITE). The gooey topping was perfect but the cake itself tasted too much like “yeast” kind of had a pizza crust kind of smell. What do you think I did wrong? I am going to try again with less yeast. Also, here in Philly the bakery we get them from they seem to make their cake bottom with Danish dough. Do you think I could make it with some other kind of dough? Cookie dough? Just a thought! Thanks for the receipe!!! The topping was PERFECT!

    • Debbie Koenig
      February 5, 2013

      Lori, my understanding is that a yeasty smell/taste comes from either using too much yeast, or letting the dough proof (rise) too long or in too warm a spot. Maybe next time try a long, cool rise instead.

  26. B F Crabb
    February 7, 2013

    in maine now for many years–originally from Huntington Valley Pa–grew up eating butter cake from a bakery on Huntington Pike, Southampton. love the looks of your cake -i am baking it now!

  27. Donald Hill
    April 16, 2013

    Is a “t” a teaspoon, and a “T” a tablespoon?

    Just the pictures take me back to Philly about sixty years ago.

    • Debbie Koenig
      April 16, 2013

      Yes, Donald, t = teaspoon; T = tablespoon. Glad I was able to take you back!

  28. KathrynWitte
    May 13, 2013

    I never had this as a child but ran across it at Danish Bakers in Rockledge as a young adult. I’ve tried a bunch of recipes over the years, from Paula’s “Gooey Butter Cake” to Deb Perelman’s “St. Louis Butter Cake” (Smitten Kitchen) trying to replicate it since I now live in places either 200 or 500 miles away. Nothing was right. I found this recipe here long ago and have been waiting for just the right audience to try it out, because I think it’s “the one”! I think I’ll try it side-by-side in a taste test my next time in Phila. at 4th of July! THANK YOU for putting this up. I’ll come back with real evaluations of each… you know- the old “compare/contrast”. I can’t wait!

  29. Robin Berman
    June 7, 2013

    Love this but I use this recipe for the bottom:

    Bottom layer:

    2 cups flour
    1 1/2 cup sugar
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 egg
    1/2 cup butter (melted)
    2 tablespoons whole milk

    Its a more doughy, less bread like bottom.

  30. Emma Dalrymple
    August 31, 2013

    I have not tried this version yet, but look forward to doing so. I live din Scranton, PA, in the South Side for almost 20 years, and I fell in love with a German bakery called Kaltenbach’s. That is the only place I have ever known Philadelphia Butter cakes to be sold, so I DO know what one is. That bakery is long since closed, but fond memories of it shall forever be in my mind. I shall let you know how it goes, once I make this. Thank you for having it on your site!

    Anderson, SC

  31. Ann
    November 30, 2013

    Can anyone tell me if this recipe matches the butter cake made be the Fourtown Bakery?

  32. Sandy
    January 13, 2014

    I use to buy butter cake from MacMillians bakery in Haddon Twp. I was born in Philadelphia and apparently my family kept this tasty treat a secret! Unfortunately I just made one using a different recipe from Just A Pinch and am very disappointed . The center never browned while the cake was just getting ready to burn :( Looking forward to making this one!! Thanks !

  33. mary
    March 19, 2014

    So happy to finally find this recipe. I grew up on these from a German bakery in Richboro PA. Would stop there after school in the ’70s and eat a whole one – think it was maybe 5×7 size. Plain or cherry or blueberry. I recall very little in the bread layer but the butter topping was to die for! Can’t wait to make it!

  34. Jeanne
    March 29, 2014

    My dad grew up in Philadelphia. He has always talked about butter cake, which I thought would be somewhat like a pound cake. For his birthday last year I wanted to surprise him with a butter cake because when we were back east we didn’t have a chance to stop and get one. I searched and searched the internet and finally found this. I made it, and when he opened it up he said, “butter cake, how did you find this?!” I am so glad that you had this recipe up and I will be making it again this year! Thanks!

    • Debbie Koenig
      March 30, 2014

      Thanks so much for taking the time to tell me this, Jeanne! Makes me so happy.

      • Jeanne
        March 24, 2015

        Going on the 3rd year making it! This recipe is practically a birthday tradition now. I hope to get the crust perfect this time, it always comes out a tad thick!

  35. Janice Vegliacich-Colona
    June 9, 2014

    As a child, my parents would take me to Normandy Square on Roosevelt Boulevard, near the Nabiaco Plant. My most vivid memory was the butter cake. We would get it every time.
    I have searched recipes and tried for years to make the butter cake I remember.
    I really think this one is it. I remember the middle. When I saw the picture, I had goosebumps!
    Cannot wait to make this!
    A million thanks!

  36. Lisa Marin
    October 21, 2014

    My grandfather bought these when I went to Philly for a visit as a child. He died when I was 6, but every time I make this ooey, gooey, butter cake, my childhood memories come flooding back and I know he is smiling down at me.

  37. Donna Bloomer
    December 2, 2014

    Grew up in Kensington section of Philly. Only place we got butter cake was Schmidts Bakery on Kensington Av. You would cut the thin cake bottom and the gooy topping just filled in the missing section. Now living in the far NE section of Phiily we have found another bakery that is very close to that beloved butter cake. It’s behind Neshaminy Mall.

  38. Margaret Schwächler
    December 12, 2014

    My Philadelphia grandfather would arrive each Sunday with buttercake, at Christmas with Springerle and Pffefernusse cookies. I had tried various buttercakes, bland – none seem as I remember. Why do I believe there was a taste of almond? I will try the recipe, perhaps adding a touch of almond.

  39. Alice
    December 22, 2014

    Hello. Does anyone know if I can assemble the cake the day before and bake the next day?
    Also, my husband’s family grew up on butter cakes and it is one of their favorites. I just made this for the family and everyone agrees that aside from the thicker crust, the taste matches perfectly. My mother in law grew up in Kensington. I think they always got theirs from Stock’s. My whole family thanks you for the recipe.

    • Debbie Koenig
      December 23, 2014

      Hi Alice. I’ve never tried assembling everything ahead of time so I can’t say for sure. I would think you could make the crust and the filling separately, refrigerate, and combine when you’re ready to bake. Does that help?

  40. Earl P
    January 8, 2015

    I’ve been telling my Wife about this cake for 25 yrs. I’m also from Drexel Hill and purchased it at Yummy Bakery! So glad we found this recipe! Will be making it for a childhood DH friend when she visits us in FL this week. Been waiting 40yrs to taste again, Thank you !!

  41. Melissa
    February 21, 2015

    I cannot wait to try this. I was reminiscing about all the different places to get food in Mayfair/Holmesburg area of Philly she I remembered Bredenbeck’s Bakery at Bleigh and Frankford Aves. They had the best butter cake in the area. I’ve talked about this with my other half and they have never had butter cake before. We live in Phoenix now and I don’t even think I could explain the feeling of euphoria one gets with their first bite of this artery clogging gooey goodness to anyone who has never had the pleasure.

Leave a Reply




Back to top
mobile desktop