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Thursday, August 30, 2012

"Nobody bakes a cake as tasty as Tasty Kakes"

...Who knows that jingle?  Bets are if you immediately think of the oh-so-yummy Butterscotch Krimpets or the peanut butter kandy kakes that were often packed in lunchboxes..  you must have spent some childhood time on the east coast, especially the tri-state area.  Made in Pennsylvania since 1914.. they are still made there today.  
But I am not. 
However, lucky me.. I can make tasty kakes whenever I want!  Thanks to a copycat recipe that I got from Gourmet Magazine years ago.  And, honestly.. they are better.  The cake is very light and moist, delicate vanilla and the peanut butter layer, oh so good especially when topped with a delicious layer of candy chocolate that snaps when you bite into it.  Very satisfying.  Cake, chocolate and peanut butter.. well, duh.
The recipe is easy to make and a kid fav...  I have tried these with almond and cashew  butter and it works well, too but it's the original flavor I am going after.  Peanut butter is best, that's probably the sentimental part.   And thankfully,  my little one has out-grown her peanut allergy but I still insist here on organic peanut butter.  The main reason for increase in peanut allergies in children over the last 10-20 years, is due majorly to the pesticides used on the peanut crops.  So, it's best to just keep to organic but don't use a "natural" peanut butter..  this needs your basic creamy, processed nut butter like those we grew up with, it really needs to spread and be smooth.  

A note when making these... after you spread the chocolate layer, you must score the cake into the portions before you refrigerate otherwise the chocolate layer will crack and break all crazy once it hardens.  Don't skip that step.

Peanut Butter Tasty Kakes

(from Gourmet magazine)

For cake:
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk (low fat is fine)
2 tbsp butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder

For topping:
1 1/3-1 1/2 c. organic creamy peanut butter (do not use a "natural" kind)
1 pound milk chocolate, chopped


Preheat oven to 350º F.   Butter and flour a 17x11 1/2x1-in. jelly-roll pan, knocking out excess flour.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together eggs and sugar until thick and pale, 3-5 minutes. Beat in vanilla.

While that is beating (or before, if you're not using a stand mixer), heat milk and butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave until the butter has just melted and the milk is steaming, but not boiling. Set aside.

Sift flour and baking powder into the beaten egg mixture and beat until just combined. With the mixer running, slowly stream in the milk/butter mixture until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading it out evenly, and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350F. Cake is done when a tester comes out clean and the top is golden and springs back when touched lightly.

Let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then place small dollops of peanut butter on the surface of the cake. Use an off-set spatula to spread the peanut butter into an even layer, covering the entire cake.
Let cool completely, then refrigerate for 1-2 hours to make sure the peanut butter is set.

When chilled, melt the chocolate in a double boiler (bowl over a pan of simmering water), stirring constantly. Once it is smooth, pour it over the chilled cake and spread it evenly with an offset spatula.
Using a knife, cut the cake into 30 bars. It is not necessary to cut all the way through the cake, just into the chocolate/pb layers. Make sure the cuts are clear, so wipe your knife in between each. This will make it easy to divide up the bars when the chocolate has set.
Return cake to fridge and chill until chocolate is firm (or overnight).

Makes 30 bars.

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