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Homemade Tandy Cake Bars

by on March 26, 2011 · 25 comments

This recipe was recommended to me by Louise, who grew up in Tastykake country and had the opportunity to try its namesake, the Kandy Cake, a thick sponge cake topped with peanut butter and enrobed in milk chocolate.

Tandy Cake

While the actual Tastykake Kandy Kake has quite a different shape, this homemade knock-off is supposed to taste similar to the real thing.  Not that I’d know.  I grew up in Little Debbie country!  Or Hostess….or Lance.  I don’t remember seeing Tastykakes as a kid and by the time I did, I’d grown out of the snack cake market.  Anyhow, now I need to try one to compare with this.

It starts with a thin layer of tight crumbed sponge cake….

tandy cake

…topped with a layer of peanut butter. Aesthetically speaking, creamy. Crunchy was okay, though.

tandy cake

Then you pour on a final layer of your favorite type of milk chocolate.

tandy cake on a plate

These were really fun to make and I enjoyed the different textures of the cake, peanut butter and milk chocolate.  Thanks again to Louise for telling me about the recipe.  If you Google it, you’ll see different versions, but this is how I made it for my first go-round.  I probably wouldn’t change a thing.

Homemade Tandy Cake Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour (9 oz)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups peanut butter
12 oz milk chocolate candy bar, chopped**

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10×15 inch pan. If halving the recipe, use a 9 inch square metal pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, sugar and vanilla. Beat on high speed of an electric mixer until light, thick and lemon-colored. Beat in the flour mixture – don’t over-beat, but just beat it until it’s mixed in. Microwave milk and butter just until it begins to boil. Stir the hot milk/butter mixture into the batter.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake on center rack for 20 to 25 minutes (20 if halving), or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Drop dollops of peanut butter all over the still-warm cake and spread evenly to the edges. Let cool at room temperature for about 20 minutes, then refrigerate to set the peanut butter (about 1 hour).

In a microwave-safe dish, melt chocolate (for milk chocolate, I use a lower setting) and spread evenly over peanut butter layer. Refrigerate to allow chocolate to harden, but be careful because if the chocolate hardens too much it will crack when you slice the cake. Refrigerate it just until firm or you could even let it set at room temperature, which of course takes longer and which I very seldom do since I am so impatient!

Slice into bars.

Notes:

**Bars of chocolate melt and spread more easily than chips, however you can use chips. If using chocolate chips, stir a few teaspoons of oil into the chips before melting them.

**If you are making a half version, you might want to linethe pan with foil so you can lift the cake out and cut it neatly on a cutting board. I’m not a good cutter and always feel like I get better results when I don’t have to cut directly in the pan.

Published on March 26, 2011

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy March 26, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Looks like fun, and I just happen to have peanut butter and chocolate bars to use up!

Louise March 26, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Sounds like I need to send some. Thanks for trying the recipe. This snack cake has been a hit at picnics, large informal family get-togethers, etc. for many years. To get a real Tandy Cake clone, milk chocolate bars such as Hershey’s should be used, never chocolate chips. And, of course, creamy peanut butter. :-)

Mackenzie@The Caramel Cookie March 26, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Never heard of this but it sure looks delicious!

Betty @ scrambled hen fruit March 26, 2011 at 6:05 pm

When I was younger, I used to see commercials on tv for tastycakes but they weren’t available anywhere around where I lived. We had all the hostess treats instead. I’ll have to make these to see what I was missing all those years. :)

jessielou March 26, 2011 at 7:08 pm

at first I thought it was Millionaire’s Shortbread but this looks just as tasty! I’m interested in giving this a go…

Esther March 26, 2011 at 7:34 pm

That looks soo good. I wish I could have some of that right now. Did the crusts, the edge of the cake I mean, taste good? Because I’m thinking of baking that in those brownie square pan for miniature pieces and neat edges, but if the edges aren’t good I wouldn’t want to do that. Thanks for sharing. :)

Avril March 26, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Well, HELLO there yumminess! I will so be making this lovely looking treat of a cake! :-) Fun to find you blog…I have a feeling from this recipe you have a wealth of other fabulous recipes. Looking forward to discovering more!

Cookie Sleuth March 26, 2011 at 9:10 pm

I’ve never had Tastycakes, but I’m sure this is better!

Carole March 26, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Since I will be alone tomorrow I’ll make in the afternoon. May try dark chocolate instead of milk.

Jae March 26, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Hi! I’m a 18 year old highschool senior who’s just started reading your blog a couple weeks ago, as well as being a baking fiend whose just started to truly bake from scratch. I just wanted to say that I love your blog and the amazing goodies you come up with, and I will go through many of them in the near future. Thank you for having such an amazing blog that makes me drool,and I look forward to reading more~

Maris (In Good Taste) March 27, 2011 at 6:28 am

This looks better then any Tastykake I have seen. Great job!

Katrina March 27, 2011 at 9:33 am

Never had Tastykakes either. We were also in Little Debbie country.

Jennie March 27, 2011 at 2:01 pm

I live in TastyKake region. I need to know how you outgrew the snack cake!! They do not compare to Little Debbie or Hostess. They are just the best. And the kandy kake is my absolute favorite. So much so… I think I need to go buy some! ;)
I second Louise’s advice… it has to be creamy pb. I would use Ghiradelli chocolate over Hershey’s but the creamy pb is key.
Thanks for the recipe.

Anna March 27, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Esther, the edges were fine. I don’t have the type of brownie pan you are referring to, but that’s an interesting idea.

Jennie, I’m not sure how I outgrew snack cake. I used to love all types (except snoballs) and now I buy them, eat one, and think “Meh”.

Adam March 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm

This looks great and simple. I love snack cakes but rarely eat them since I try not to eat too many sweets that I didn’t bake myself. Definitely the front runner for next weekend :). Thanks!

Upstate NY Native March 27, 2011 at 4:29 pm

I ADORE Tastykakes. When we have visitors form VA they always bring tons of them and I put them in the freezer so I can ration them until their next trip. I’m off on Friday and this is what I’ll be doing with my morning!!
Thanks Louise and Anna!!

Julie March 27, 2011 at 5:51 pm

I don’t think I grew up around tasty kakes either, but I’d sure love to give these a try…yum :)

Debbie March 27, 2011 at 6:32 pm

I love this recipe and I’m definitely going to give this a try soon! This sounds so good. Thanks for sharing this!

Stephanie March 27, 2011 at 6:46 pm

So on the suggestion that it may very well be “gilding the lily” — I have this bookmarked in my favorites…

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2009/10/27/look-up-in-the-sky-its-a-cookie-its-a-cake-no-its-the-cookie-cake/

Think you could combine the tandy cakes with the cookie bottom?

Caroline March 28, 2011 at 7:40 am

Oh my goodness, peanut butter? Chocolate? Cake? Well, hello there. These would be dangerous in my house, haha. I’m not sure I’ve ever had the namesake of these treats, but from what I can tell, I would love every last morsel of it!

vanillasugarblog March 28, 2011 at 6:58 pm

never heard of tastycakes! both versions look so good though. lucky louise grew up with some good snacks!

Lisa March 28, 2011 at 9:21 pm

I grew up in Lancaster PA and Peanut Butter Kandy Cakes were my favorite Tasty Cake. This recipe looks very promising…can’t wait to try them.

If any one reading this is from South Florida, Big Al’s Steaks (Philly Steak Sandwich restaurant) sells Tasty Cakes.

Thanks for the recipe!

yatesy March 29, 2011 at 1:42 am

just so all you guys know, you can order tastykakes form their website: http://www.tastykake.com
the company is kinda struggling right now so any orders could help them out. they are a HUGE philly based legendary landmark company.

Mal March 31, 2011 at 11:06 am

Just read this blog yesterday and I’m baking them today. I hope mine look as yummy as yours !!! Thanks

stellamex March 29, 2012 at 4:26 pm

My mom made these all the time when I was growing up. Her recipe is almost the same as yours, except she used a little less sugar and just melted chocolate chips for the topping. Don’t forget, after refrigerating the chocolate layer for 20 minutes, score the chocolate into squares (without cutting the cake). This will allow you to cleanly cut the cakes after the chocolate has hardened without breaking and cracking the chocolate. Also, we never measured the peanut butter….just spread a thin layer on top of the warm sponge cake. I’m about to make these again! :) Can’t wait!

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