What Should You Send With Your Freshman When He Heads Off To College? Gooey Butter Cake!

Gooey Butter Cake and College

Well, we took the youngest to college yesterday. And of course there was all of the packing beforehand. What does he need? And what comfort items does he want?

And while it might not be a necessity, I made some gooey butter cake for him too. (Read on for recipe for Easy One Bowl Gooey Butter Cake and more experienced college mother advice)

He stuck with the usual things – clothes, bedding, toiletries, laundry detergent, etc. The college provided a list.

We have it easier than some. Youngest is going a week early for Freshman orientation week, but the two older brothers who are in college go to the same school and are heading down next week. So they can bring supplies. And the car which makes the run to the local college town Wal-Mart possible. So he only has to survive one week, and then he has the support of his older brothers.

One reason they all go to the same school is because they are math/science boys. But another reason I think they all chose to go there is the comfort of brotherly support. An older sibling who knows the ropes really makes the transition easier. I know many families whose kids all go to the same college, and this is the part of the reason.

If you have a kid who really wants to be with someone familiar and the program is good, it is OK to let them go to the same college as their older siblings. On the other hand, if they want to go somewhere different, that is OK too. And if they want to learn a trade, that is OK too. Wanting to just live at home and play video games – we need to talk! They will give you clues about what they want to do. Support them wholeheartedly as long as it is healthy and moving them towards independence.

He knows his roommate. It is someone from his high school. A really nice young man who also has an older brother enrolled at the college. They seem confident and off to a good start.

And I sent some gooey butter cake. A St. Louis tradition. Is it breakfast? Is it dessert? It doesn’t matter. It feels like home. Just eat some when you need that connection back to St. Louis and your family!

No Bowl Gooey Butter Cake Recipe

Why is it this called “no bowl”? I have no idea! I always need two bowls to make this. But my mom made a cookbook for us years ago and that is what it is called. Don’t ask me why!



  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup margarine or butter (I always use butter!)
  • 1 egg slightly beaten


  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese softened
  • 2 eggs slightly beaten
  • 2 1/2 confectioners powdered sugar


  • Grease a 9x13in pan.
  • In pan, mix ingredients for cake only enough to moisten. (I always do this in a bowl) and then pat it into the pan.
  • Mix topping ingredients together until smooth. (I use my KitchenAide mixer.)
  • Pour over the cake in the pan, leaving about 1/2 inch of the edges exposed.
  • Bake at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Cool.
  • Sift additional confectioners sugar on top.
  • Cut into squares.

Enjoy! This is an authentic St. Louis treat. A little sweet for my tastes, so I usually only have a little bit. But the kids love it!

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