CakeSpy Undercover: Federhofer's Bakery, St. Louis Area


It's a funny thing about bakeries. These days, a more boutique-y, spare sort of display is favored. And that's just great. I love it.

But sometimes, I just have a craving for an old-school bakery that is totally packed with pastries of every sort, cookies by the pound, cakes, pies, and bars; you know, the type where you take a number and they call when you're up. 


If you love this kind of bakery, I promise--I absolutely promise--that you will adore Federhofer's Bakery, on the outskirts of St. Louis, Missouri.

It's been there roughly forever (ok, since 1966). Per their website:

 Federhofer's Bakery was  established in 1966 by Bill Federhofer with a vision for success and a taste of  perfection. Federhofer's has built a reputation for providing the freshest and highest quality of baked goods for over 46 years. We have been using the same recipes over the decades to ensure our customers a wide variety of  baked goods and the same great taste.

Well, they've certainly honed their art. It's a bustling, good-smelling bakery, and they have all sorts of interesting pastries. Can I tell you about them?

Some of their specialties are stollen and danish.

Pecan stollen, Federhofer's

They have cakes and bars galore. Federhofer's

Sticky buns and cinnamon rolls. Federhofer's Federhofer's

and lots, lots more!


So after my number was up, the friendly employee walked me through their entire menu, and here's what I chose. 


First, a plain doughnut. A good litmus test of any bakery. And in this case, a fine specimen: soft and cakey and just enough oiliness to let you know it was, indeed, fried. A gentle, lightly sweet flavor. Nice.

Gooey butter cake, Federhofer's, St Louis

and of course, a gooey butter cake. To the uninitiated, this buttery cake--made of a soft, cakey crust topped with, well, a gooey butter mixture. It's said to have been invented when a baker made a mistake baking a cake and ended up with this delicious thing. It was an instant classic. It's quite similar to Philadelphia Butter Cake, but the St. Louis version is more likely to include cream cheese. Like Philadelphia butter cake, in St. Louis, the cake is generally sold by the 8-or-9 inch pan rather than by individual slices, and is more a morning coffee cake than an after-dinner dessert.

And the gooey butteriness has pervaded other areas of the menu--behold, a gooey butter danish!! It was sweetness overload, in the best way possible. Gooey butter danish, Federhofer's, St Louis

I also got a taste of a St. Louis specialty--coconut toast! Interestingly, it seems to be a sweet treat that has faded in popularity, because even some residents I asked didn't even know what it was. But I found it at good ol' Federhofers! Basically a use for day-old bread, it's (to the best of my knowledge) brushed with sweetened condensed milk and coconut, and toasted. That's it. Simple, but oh so good. 

Coconut toast, Federhofer's, St Louis

So, after having had a wonderful experience at Federhofer's, I urge you to visit them if you find yourself in St. Louis. They've been doing it since 1966, and based on what I tasted, they have been doing it right. 

Federhofer's Bakery, 9005 Gravois Road, Affton MO; online here. 

Happy Trails: Meet The ReTrailer


I'd like to introduce you to The ReTrailer, the cutest little tea and spice store this side of the Mississippi.  It's a mobile retail operation run by someone I am proud to call a friend, Lisa Govro. 

As you can see, Lisa is just as cute as me. Here we are together. Hottt, right?

We became friends during the time in which we both lived in Seattle. Now, Lisa lives in St. Louis, MO; while I miss her, I am so happy for her and her new business. 

Here's the 411 behind this adorable store on wheels, according to Lisa:

All tea and spice products are inspired by Ayurevda (a really old lifestyle largely considered the sister science to yoga) and developed with optimal digestion and balance in mind.  If I only had 3 words to describe our teas and spices they would be: organic, sustainable, and love.  Our signature items are:


Farm Fresh Turmeric Tea – fresh, organic turmeric sourced direct form Hana Holistic Farms in Hawaii, grated and brewed with ginger, black pepper, tulsi and sweetened with local honey.

Ball of Energy – raw cacao, tulsi, sesame and almond smashed together with local honey.  Makes for the yummiest mint chocolate treat your inner hippy could ever imagine. 

Hibiscus tea

Drop it Like It’s Hot Hibiscus Tea – hibiscus, yerba mate and orange peel.  So named for Hibiscus’ known effects in helping control body temperature – particularly in hot weather.



I also asked Lisa an important question: if a magical unicorn appeared and was going to grant you one wish for your business, what would it be? She said:

I am such a daydreamer that while I was dreaming up this business idea it never occurred to me that I would have to tow the damn thing until the moment I got er’ hitched up.  I had to drive all the way from Kansas City to St. Louis with the poor girl.  I went 40 mph the entire time – it took me 6 hours! (it is typically a 3 hour drive).  If a magical unicorn could grant the ReTrailer one wish it would be that the trailer could hitch and tow itself.  That shit is unbelievably stressful.

p.s. On opening day I wore my unicorn belt- so this question seems appropriate for a few reasons.


To keep up with the ReTrailer, visit their website; also keep updated via their facebook site!

Butter Me Up: The Famous St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

Gooey Butter Cake
Photos and recipe c/o CakeSpy buddy Kerry of Lollicakes.

I first learned of the existence of the St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake a while back during the Regional Specialties cake poll. The name alone had me hooked: I had to know more.

But first things first: what is a Gooey Butter Cake, this food that the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission calls "one of St. Louis' popular, quirky foods"? While variations exist, it seems that the most important aspects are a bottom layer of buttery yellow cake and a and a top layer of...well, gooiness: but depending on who you ask, the top layer will consist of either egg and cream cheese, or butter and sugar. But in general, it is served as a coffee cake and not as a dessert cake.

As it turns out though, the foundation of the cake's story is about as soft as its gooey innards: there are varying accounts of who invented it and when.
Gooey Butter cake

Photo credit: Jen V., CakeSpy reader

According to Wikipedia, a legend about the cake's origin is included in Saint Louis Days...Saint Louis Nights, a cookbook published in the mid-1990s by the Junior League of St. Louis:
The cake was supposedly first made by accident in the 1930s by a St. Louis-area German American baker who was trying to make regular cake batter but reversed the proportions of sugar and flour.
But then again, according to What's Cooking America, at least two families take credit for the cake. The first is the Danzer family:


In late 1942 or early 1943, Johnny Hoffman of St. Louis Pastries Bakery was working on a Saturday and made what eventually turned out to be Gooey Butter Cake. You're right, it was a mistake! He subsequently called Herman Danzer, my dad, and told him he thought he may have something and asked to come to my dad's shop on Spring & Gravois to see if they could duplicate it.

They worked all Saturday, and through many trials and errors got it pretty good. The final batch they made, my dad suggested they add glycerin to get it really gooey. It worked - whereupon my mom, Melba Danzer, came into the shop from the store to see what these two guys were doing. When she tried it she said "this sure is gooey" subsequently, the name.

And then there's the Koppe family:


My father, John Koppe, a St. Louis baker, also developed the Gooey Butter Cake in the early 1940s...he owned and operated Koppe Bakery during World War II on California and Arsenal Streets in South St. Louis. His shop was located on the corner of two major bus lines, so people who were transferring would often stop in while waiting for their bus.

The Gooey Butter Cake was a smash hit with customers. The lines of customers spilled out the door and around the block. This cake was very gooey, rich, and exceptionally delicious! I remember that the goody butter cake is best described as very "GOOEY." You could eat it with a spoon! The top was sprinkled with powdered sugar and the edge was slightly crispy to hold it together - almost like a pudding. It was baked in a square shape and, of course, was light colored, like butter.

But while the cake's origins may be up in the air, one thing's for sure: it's a St. Louis institution. One company, Gooey Louie, specializes in a variety of takes on the Gooey Butter cake, including a variety of different flavors (including a "design-your-own-flavor" feature) as well as individual-serving cakes and tiny "Gooey Butter Bites". Around the St. Louis area it's a common cake to find in bakeries. Though not as common elsewhere, at least one savvy Cake Gumshoe sighted a version of it in a Seattle area Safeway!
Gooey Butter Cake
And happily, another Cake Gumshoe, Kerry of Lollicakes, was brave enough to try out the recipe to see for herself. Here's the recipe she used:


The Best St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake Recipe


  • 1 box yellow cake mix with pudding in the mix (Pillsbury works best) 
  • 4 extra large eggs 
  • 1 stick melted butter 
  • Pure vanilla extract 
  • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese 
  • 1 box powdered sugar (3 1/2 cups)
  • Crisco or pam for greasing pan
  • 9 X 13 Pan 
  • Mixer 



  1. Get 9 x13 pan and grease with Crisco on the bottom and all sides. 
  2. Put yellow cake mix in mixing bowl. DO NOT FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS ON THE CAKE BOX. Add 2 extra large eggs, 1 stick of melted butter in microwave about 35 seconds, and 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract. Mix together in mixer. Batter will have a very most feel to it. Take cake batter and spread evenly through 9 x 13 pan so it evenly covers the bottom of the pan. 
  3. Clean off mixers and mixing bowl. 




  1. Melt cream cheese in microwave about 45-50 seconds. 
  2. Put 3/4 of the powdered sugar in mixing bowl setting aside about 1/4 of the box for topping to sprinkle on after the cake is baked and cooled. In mixer add 3/4 powdered sugar, melted cream cheese, and 2 extra large eggs. Mix together in mixer. This will have a very GOOEY consistency as this is the gooey part of the cake. Take the Gooey mixture and layer on top of the cake batter mixture in pan. 

  1. Here at sea level we bake it at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until the top of the cake is browned (Note: Kerry baked hers for 35 minutes and thought it was perhaps slightly over-baked). You want to make sure the gooey mixture on top of the cake is not too gooey otherwise it will be like a liquid. It is okay if the edges are brown and the top of the cake is lightly browned as well. 
  2. Once cooked remove from oven and let cool about two hours before cutting and adding remaining powdered sugar. Add remaining powdered sugar to coat/cover top of cake, cut like brownies and serve. 


Batter Chatter: Interview with Jill Segal of Jilly's Cupcake Bar of St. Louis

Cupcakes from Jilly's Cupcake Bar, St. Louis MO
Did you know that the St. Louis arch is just as wide as it is tall? Funny how you never hear anyone saying "look at how wide that arch is!".

But we digress. As amazed as we are by the architecture, we'd be lying if we said we weren't more curious about the cake scene in St. Louis. Recently, we got a chance to catch up with Jill Segal, the proprietress of Jilly's Cupcake Bar, a fashionable cupcakery and bakery in the city where it's "all within reach"--here's what we learned:


Cakespy: What made you want to open a cupcake shop?
Jill Segal: I was reading an article in TIME Magazine, August 2006, at my dentist's office and the article was about the success of Magnolia Bakery in NY because of Sarah Jessica Parker and Sprinkles in LA [because of] Oprah featuring them. I was SO excited [about] a cupcake shop in St. Louis! I asked the receptionist to make a copy and she gave me the magazine. At the time, my career had been in advertising, so I ran back home (not really) to pull of research on bakeries, coffee houses....That gave me the initial idea.

CS: How has the experience of owning a cupcake bakery been different than you might have anticipated?
JS: I had contacted Elizabeth Faulkner from Citizen Cupcake in San Francisco and she told me it was really hard. She was SO right! Trying to find pastry bakers and designers with AMAZING skills was and has been a long journey. But I can say that we've had our moments, but believe now that our cupcakes are the most moist, decedent, delicious cupcakes found anywhere!

Cupcakes from Jilly's Cupcake Bar, St. Louis MO
CS: In your opinion, what makes a cupcake life-altering?
JS: The best ingredients, for caramel we only use Dulche de Leche, it is a Spanish caramel that is milkier (is that a word?) plus creamier and softer, our Carmelita is......first you'll moan, and then....Also, our cake is sooooooo moist, our "stuffing"--whatever we stuff inside--they're past decedent, they are life-altering.....our fudge ganache, the way we whip and whip and whip our butter cream until it's like soft clouds of love in your mouth.

(Cakespy Note: Is anybody else thinking of that "I'll have what she's having" moment from When Harry Met Sally right now?)


Cupcakes from Jilly's Cupcake Bar, St. Louis MO
CS: We see mention of a "topping bar" on your site. How does the topping bar work?
JS: The clients can choose from baby junior mints, to health's set up in a "Bar" container (like the ones at a "Bar" that holds olives, lemon twists,...cute huh.)

CS: It seems like there must be a story behind the "cupcake clusters" on your menu--can you tell us how they came to be?
JS: We bake everyday, so at the end of the day if we have extra cakes we bake them to a know the rest!

CS: What's your favorite item on the menu?
JS: The Carmelita! We also did a seasonal cupcake that I crave...vanilla cake, stuffed with a pumpkin mousse and topped off with chocolate & pumpkin buttercream! OMG!

Custom Cake with Cupcakes on top from Jilly's Cupcake Bar, St. LouisCS: You're based in St. Louis, Missouri. We're keenly interested in regional specialties--what are some regional specialties in your area? 
JS: Gooey butter cake is a St. Louis thing...

Cakespy Note: What exactly is a Gooey Butter Cake? According to Wikipedia,

Gooey butter cake is a type of cake traditionally made in the U.S. city of St. Louis, Missouri, with a bottom layer of buttery yellow cake and a top layer of either egg and cream cheese, or butter and sugar. It is generally served as a type of coffee cake and not as a dessert cake. It is believed to have originated around 1943.

A legend about the cake's origin is included in Saint Louis Days, Saint Louis Nights, a cookbook published in the mid-1990s by the Junior League of St. Louis. The cake was supposedly first made by accident in the 1930s by a St. Louis-area German American baker who was trying to make regular cake batter but reversed the proportions of sugar and flour.


Cupcake from Jilly's Cupcake Bar, St. Louis MOCS: Some say that "pie is the new cake". What is your response to this bold statement?
JS: We had baby pies that we sold and did great. I don't think it's the new cake, but a preference for certain people...

CS: What's next for Jilly's Cupcake Bar?
JS: Franchising...

Are you in St. Louis? Why not visit and try them for yourself? Jilly's Cupcake Bar, 8509 Delmar Blvd. (Delmar @ I-170), St. Louis, MO; (314) 993-Jilly (5455). Hours of operation: Mon-Fri., 10 a.m. - 7 p.m; Saturday, 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. 

If you're not in St. Louis, don't despair--online ordering will be available soon; in the meantime you can ogle the menu and pictures online at

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I asked the live receptionist to make a copy and she gave me the magazine.