Imagine a pen of a dozen playful kittens. Magical kittens made of marshmallows, with delicately velvety fur covering their cushiony, sugar-scented skin. Now, imagine you're lying in this pool of warm kittens. (If you're allergic to cats, also imagine that you're not allergic to cats. And if you don't like cats, imagine that you like cats.) You're surrounded by tender feline fluffballs hobbling over your torso with their nubbin paws and legs, gently licking your face with their wee tongues, overall just cuddling the shizz out of you, resulting in paroxysms of giggles, or permanent happy Tom Haverford face, or a bit of both.
Put that joy into food form and you've got Ample Hills' ooey gooey butter cake ice cream: small chunks of St. Louis ooey gooey butter cake (more commonly called gooey butter cake) suspended in vanilla ice cream. When it's cold, ooey gooey cake isn't especially ooey or gooey, but you can taste its potential for ooey gooey-ness. Its texture is less cake, more brownie—specifically, like a prized corner slice of brownie, blessed with maximum crustiness and chewiness by the pan's edges. Imagine that bit, condensed, sans chocolate, with more butter. Yes; that's the stuff. Despite its temperature, frozen ooey gooey butter cake tastes like sunshine. Sweet, buttery sunshine.
The recipe for this sunshine: butter-enriched yellow cake mix baked with a top layer of cream cheese mixed with eggs, butter, sugar, and vanilla extract. More ambitious bakers can make it from scratch, but it seems most people go with the cake mix + cream cheese method, recipes of which are all over the interwubs. Although Paula Deen's recipe may be the top Google hit for "ooey gooey butter cake" and earn the disdain of serious eaters who prefer to distance themselves from the Deen name, keep in mind that it's not her creation (although it sounds like it has all the components of a perfect Dean recipe); the dessert was invented in St. Louis in the 1940s.
The cake can't take all the credit; the ice cream is plenty kitten-joy-filled too. As the sign declared, the vanilla ice cream was exceptionally smooth and creamy, with the bonus of unintentionally bearing a marshmallow-like flavor and texture. Or maybe the texture turned out fluffier than normal because I ate it after the pint had been sitting in Eric's* cooler pouch for an hour**. ...I'm not sure. What I do know is that it tasted far better than regular vanilla, and that combined with chunks of ooey gooey butter cake turned me into this:
- I still don't know how to draw humans.
Actually, you have to dial up the crazy of that blob by 10x for a more accurate depiction. I do believe the ice cream-eating session went at least 90 percent like this:
Me: [shovels a spoonful into mouth] Oh...oh god, why is this so good?
[Wait as other friends try the ice cream; five of us were sharing a pint. And two spoons. Don't ask.]
Me: [shovels another spoonful unto mouth] Ohhh gaaaawd ahhh ahh this cake is so good...
[Wait some more as the others dig in.]
Me: [another spoonful] Uuughuuuuadsdsa bluhhbbluhb [unintelligible happy sounds]
[Wait some more. Wonder why friends' reactions to the ice cream aren't as intense as mine. Realize this ice cream does to me what alcohol does to normal people. Goes into crazy babbly mode.]
Me: [shovels more] WHAT THE HELL, WHY IS IT SO GOOD. ...WHAT, YOU GUYS DON'T WANT MORE? LIKE HELL I'M LETTING THIS ICE CREAM GO TO WASTE. I CAN EAT THE REST. [shovels more]