Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Butterscotch Krimpets (With Peanut Butter Variation)

I may live in the Midwest currently, but at heart I am still an East Coast girl. I was born and bred in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and most of my family still lives there today. One of the fondest food memories I have from when I was growing up is eating the region's Tastykake products.

Tastykakes is a line of baked goods that is found primarily in Pennsylvania; in fact, I'm not even sure if you can purchase them in stores in any other state (though you can order them online). There are several products that are available, among them kreme-filled cupcakes, donuts, and little pies, but my favorites were always the Butterscotch Krimpets and the Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes. Nearly every day in my lunch box, my mom would pack for me either one of these delicious treats. I loved them both equally; to choose which one I preferred would be similar to choosing which of my two sons I favor. In other words, it's impossible! They are each scrumptious in their own right, although they taste different from one another.

The Butterscotch Krimpet is a light, airy sponge cake, covered with a sweet butterscotch frosting and sliced into long, zigzag-y strips and packaged in twos. They're so good; I can still recall unwrapping them, flipping then over and eating them cake-side first, then the frosting. Weird, but yummy!

Then there was the Peanut Butter Kandy Kake. The cake part is similar to that of the krimpet; both are light, springy vanilla cakes. But the kandy kake is a round little cake, smeared with peanut butter and then dipped in chocolate, so that the entire cake is surrounded by it. Again, yummy! I would eat these by nibbling off all the chocolate first, until all that was left was the peanut butter-covered cake. And I had to eat them slowly; that way I could truly savor every bite.

Now that you know what a devotee I was as a child to these Tastykakes, you can understand how excited I was to know that I could recreate these treats in the comfort of my own home! That's right; there's copycat recipes out there, and I've made them! I made the Butterscotch Krimpets a few weeks back, fully expecting that I would be the only member of my household to be consuming them. I was pleasantly surprised when my oldest son and my husband both fell head over heels for the krimpets and devoured every last one (after I had snagged a few, of course)! I was thrilled to be sharing my krimpet love with them!

A few days after the krimpets were all gone, my son asked me when we could make more. He said he missed having them around. So, I decided to make them again, but this time I thought I would cut the cake part in half after baking, and frost only half in the butterscotch frosting. The other half, I decided, was going to taste like the Kandy Kakes.

My mom actually has a killer recipe for the Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes in which you bake the sponge cake, then slather it with peanut butter while the cake is still warm. Once that has cooled, you melt a bunch of chocolate and spread that all over the top. So decadent, so good. However, I just decided to find a different frosting recipe that combined the peanut butter and the chocolate into one convenient little package. It still hits the same nummy flavor notes, but it took about half the time to put together.

So, feel free to try one, or both, of the recipes below. Either way, I promise that you can't go wrong! It definitely beats paying for a box of these to be delivered to your house; they're every bit as wonderful as the originals. Just note: the measurements below for the frosting indicate the amount needed to frost the whole cake. So if you were to divide the cake in half and frost each half in a different frosting, you would need to cut both frosting recipes in half.

Butterscotch Krimpets
adapted from Baking Bites
makes 20-24 pieces

For the sponge cake:
4 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup milk (2% is fine)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

For the butterscotch frosting:
6 Tbsp. butterscotch chips
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp. milk
1/4 tsp. salt

For the chocolate peanut butter frosting (from Food.com):
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 oz. mascarpone cheese, softened (or cream cheese)
1 pinch salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3-4 Tbsp. milk
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted (Dutch process)

Make the sponge cake: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 15x10 jelly roll pan (17x11 works too) and line the bottom with parchment or nonstick aluminum foil. In a large bowl (or the bowl of an electric mixer), beat together eggs and sugars until pale and thick, 3-5 minutes. Beat in vanilla.

2. While the eggs are beating, heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan on the stove over low heat. Once the butter is just melted and the milk is steaming, but not boiling, remove from heat and set aside.

3. Gradually sift flour, baking powder, and salt into the egg mixture; mix at low speed until just combined. With the mixer running, still at low speed, drizzle in the milk and butter mixture and mix until batter is uniform.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan, spread it out evenly, and bake for 20-25 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, and when the top is golden and springs back when touched lightly. Allow cake to cool for 5 minutes, then turn it out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.

Make the butterscotch frosting: 1. In a heatproof bowl, combine the butterscotch chips and butter; melt in the microwave and set aside for a few minutes to cool to room temperature. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer.

2. Add the confectioners' sugar, milk, and salt to the bowl; beat until everything is well combined, and free of lumps. Spread in a thin layer across the cake. Cut into squares; cake can be stored for a few days at room temperature in an airtight container.

Make the chocolate peanut butter frosting: 1. Beat together the peanut butter, mascarpone (or cream cheese), and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Blend in the vanilla and 3 Tbsp. of the milk until mixed well.

2. Gradually add in the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder, beating just until incorporated. Add in the extra Tbsp. of milk if the frosting appears too thick or not spreadable enough. Spread in a thin layer across the cake. Cut into squares; cake can be stored for a few days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

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