I’m sure everyone’s tried Tastykake’s, “Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes” at some point in their lives, and there are copycat recipes all over the Internet for these. The recipes that I USED TO USE call for the cake part to be made from scratch, and I literally drove myself nuts with them. And WHY did I drive myself nuts with them? Because some recipes called for “scalded” milk, while others said that the “scalded” part didn’t matter. Either way I tried, though, the cake part was just, eh; it just didn’t knock my socks off – it was plain, virtually tasteless and I didn’t like the texture. Another issue with the copycats on the Internet is that many call for semi-sweet chocolate chips when everyone should know that the original peanut butter variety Kandy Kakes are made with MILK chocolate. What else can I say, except that I’m a little OCD when it comes to stuff like that. If you’re going to make it with semi-sweet, then it’s not “technically” a copycat.
Just a couple of weeks ago, we had a cool, rainy spell. Given the cooler temperatures outside, I could use the oven without turning my house into a sauna, so I had a go at tweaking the Kandy Kake copycat recipe. I don’t know why I had a Betty Crocker white cake mix in my pantry – the Betty Crocker part isn’t strange, as I often buy those products for the Box Tops for Education, um…squares (they’re technically not “box tops” since the part you need is generally somewhere on the box OTHER THAN THE TOP). What WAS strange, though, was that I had a white cake mix at all because I don’t make a habit of buying them…any kind of fudge or yellow, yes, but white, no.
Anyway, I thought, “Why not use this white cake mix for peanut butter kandy kakes?” So, I did. The box called for 1 ¼ cups of water (which I followed), but I upped the oil (I used light olive oil) from 1/3 to ½ cup, I upped the eggs from three to four, and I added ½ a small box of vanilla flavored instant pudding. I poured the prepared batter into a 12×17 jellyroll pan and baked for about 28 minutes. I panicked slightly when I removed the cake from the oven because it rose higher on one side than the other (I think my oven isn’t level because my kitchen floor is unlevel), but as it cooled, it sank back down again. Whew!
I spread the peanut butter evenly on top of the still-warm cake and put the whole thing in the refrigerator. While the peanut butter was firming-up, I melted four measured cups of milk chocolate chips with four tablespoons of coconut oil in the microwave for one minute. After stirring the chocolate and coconut oil, it was the PERFECT spreading consistency. I then spread the melted chocolate over the hardened peanut butter and returned the pan to the refrigerator. After the chocolate was set, I removed it from the refrigerator and allowed it to come to room temperature before cutting. Okay…so I didn’t wait for it to come to room temperature – I just HAD to see how it turned out. It was perfect. So perfect, in fact, that I bought a box of the Tastykakes for comparison, and there’s no contest – my copycat copy won, hands-down!
A note about the chocolate…. I know four cups is a lot, but I’m one of those, “I like a little peanut butter with my chocolate” type of people; if you’re the opposite, then use less chocolate chips. Although, for a pan that large, the least you could use without having difficulty spreading it evenly would probably be around 2 ½ cups, and of course, you’d need to decrease the coconut oil. The rule of thumb that I follow is, one tablespoon of coconut oil to one cup of chips. Also, I wasn’t sure how well the chocolate would set after it came to room temperature; I was afraid that I’d need to store it in the refrigerator, but I needn’t have worried – it was fine unrefrigerated since I initially let it harden in the refrigerator.
I also tried it with a yellow cake mix, and it’s ALMOST as good as the white, but still better than the original. For the yellow cake mix (again, Betty Crocker), I kept the water amount the same, increased the oil (again, light olive oil) from ½ cup to just shy of ¾ cup, increased the eggs from three to four, and added ½ of a small box of vanilla instant pudding. You can try using another brand of cake mix, but I can’t guarantee the results. Voila!
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