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Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes

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COPYCAT RECIPE: Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes

Taking chocolate and peanut butter to a whole new level.

Anyone who’s spent an extended amount of time in Philadelphia will most likely recognize Kandy Kakes (or Tandy Kakes). Vanilla sponge cake topped with peanut butter and coated in chocolate, these cakes carry something of a cult following in the Philadelphia area. I remember opening my elementary-school lunch box and looking around at the lunch boxes of my friends… chances were pretty high on any given day that at least three of us would be eating something from the Pennsylvania-based bakery, Tastykake, be it a krimpet, a honeybun, or their über-popular Kandy Kakes.


Today’s copycat Kandy Kakes recipe is MUCH healthier than the Kandy Kakes you can find in stores, with:

  • 1/2 the calories
  • 1/2 the fat
  • 1/3 the sugar
  • NO trans fat
  • NO high fructose corn syrup

Tasty Cakes

Tasty Cakes    TastyKakes

Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes

Peanut Butter Layer:

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (110g)
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar or Sugar Free Powdered Sugar (30g)
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice (add an extra tbsp if using a natural peanut butter)

Beat all ingredients together until smooth, using hand beaters. (If you must, you can just stir everything together with a fork using maximum effort and patience.)

Cupcake Base (or you can use your favorite vanilla cupcake recipe):

  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp spelt flour (90g)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar of choice or xylitol (90g)
  • 1/4 cup mayo-style spread such as Vegenaise (58g)
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp water (95g)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 7 cupcake tins and set aside. In a large bowl, combine first four ingredients and sift very well. In a separate bowl, combine remaining three ingredients and whisk until the mayo spread is completely smooth. Pour wet into dry, and stir until just combined. Immediately divide among the cupcake tins. Bake 21 minutes, then let sit 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Cut each cake in half, lengthwise, to make 14 cupcake tops. Place a sheet of wax paper on a large tray (or a few small plates). Spread a thick layer of peanut butter frosting over each cake—about 6g per cake. You won’t use all of the peanut butter frosting, but it’s a good idea to make a full batch for smoothest blending… I’m sure you can find something to do with the leftovers!

Chocolate Coating:

  • 6oz chocolate chips (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tbsp plus 2 tsp virgin coconut oil or non-hydrogenated shortening (15g)

Carefully melt the ingredients together, either using the double broiler method or microwaving in 30-second intervals and then stirring until a chocolate sauce is formed. Using two forks, cover each cake in chocolate. Be sure to let all excess chocolate drip off, or you won’t have enough to cover them all. Set each on the tray, then freeze 30 minutes or until chocolate shell hardens. Once hard, store leftovers in  the fridge. Makes 14 kandy kakes.

View Nutrition Facts

Copycat Peanut Butter TastyKakes

Question of the Day:

Do you remember any of the snacks you’d get in your lunchbox as a kid?

Aside from the TastyKake pastries, I also remember opening my lunchbox to find Mounds bars, Dunkaroos (anyone remember them?), pudding cups, chocolate-filled koala bears, and Pocky (a Japanese snack). I distinctly remember once finding gummy bears in my lunchbox and going home to tell my mother to please not send those anymore… I was only interested if it was chocolate!

chocolate pumpkin pie

Link of the Day: Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. Melissa says:

    Ahh, this post brought back such fond memories! As a lifetime resident of the Philadelphia suburbs, when I was in elementary school, my lunchbox staple was ALWAYS Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes! My mom always had them on hand. Plus, I used to eat Hostess Cupcakes, Butterscotch Krimpets, Cosmic Brownies, Dunkaroos and of course, Oatmeal Cream Pies!

    1. Nina says:

      OMG cosmic brownies! yes! but the pb kandy kakes were always the winner =)

  2. Kat says:

    How exciting! I was just reminiscing this weekend about how my grandparents would always have a stash of these on hand (I grew up in central NJ) and I loved it since my parents would NEVER give us junk food like this. Can’t wait to try the recipe. What a walk down memory lane…

  3. Oh wow… I spent my early childhood in the Philly area, then temporarily moved across the country where these were unavailable. For the next six years of my youth I had extended family members shipping them to me on a regular basis. It’s been a good dozen or so years since I ate one. Now that you’ve created a healthied-up version I think I have to go for it. My family will devour these!

  4. Coookie says:

    Whoa! Yummy!
    I used to be addicted to the most unhealthy treats ever — I’d have to have my milo fix every single day! I loved the occasional treat of (box mix) Betty Crocker brownies, I thought my mom was the best baker ever! Then there were mini apple pies.. Mm! I didn’t know a thing about nutrition then. But ignorance was pretty blissful.. (Though it’d have wrecked my health of course)

  5. Christine Moore says:

    I remember Dunkaroos, though I haven’t eaten them in years. I feel like I ate a lot more packaged snack foods when I was younger: anything from Little Debbie (especially after soccer games), Froot-by-the-Foot & Gushers, and Hunny Buns (very popular in vending machines). It makes me kind of sick thinking about it. Thank goodness for a healthy vegan lifestyle with delicious treats in moderation! I hope it will undo the damage of my youth and then some.

  6. I have never heard of Kandy Kakes before. But they sound really good so I know I will be trying them!
    My mom used to give me Reese’s, pudding, yogurt, jello, and other small treats in my lunch. I still bring my lunch to school, but these days I bring fresh or dried fruit as a treat. 😉

  7. Chris says:

    I grew up in central Jersey and anything Tastykake was part of our lunch. I specifically remember learning the ‘correct’ process to open a Krimpet at the cafeteria lunch table. I now live in Wisconsin and occasionally my brother ships me a few boxes to hide in my freezer. That stash is long gone so I can’t wait to try this recipe!!

  8. A. Cook says:

    I totally forgot about TastyKakes until reading this post. Wow! Throwing it back.

    I definitely remember Dunkaroos and I ate them often. Also those Handisnacks things with the yellow “cheese” substance. It’s actually pretty nauseating to think back on.

  9. Lisa Ernst says:

    I’ve never had the commercial version of this treat, but your version looks irresistible. Yet another of your creations I will bookmark and try. So many choices, so little time. Well, I guess there’s plenty of time to try them all if I’m patient enough. :-)

  10. I am from the Philadelphia suburbs as well and these are by far my favorite Tastykake treat. Another favorite was the vanilla wafers. I would have either one at almost every lunch in middle school! Love this healthier version!

  11. I’ve never heard of Kandy Kakes, but I wouldn’t say no to these! I actually went to a private school since I was little and we didn’t bring lunches, our cafeteria food was included in tuition. But, we had a soft serve machine from middle school on and I thought that was pretty neat!

  12. Teresa says:

    My lunch treats sometimes included Little Debby fudge rounds or Swiss cake rolls. But I admit my favorite thing to find in my lunch box was Laughing Cow cheese cubes. It was always 3 of the little foil-wrapped cubes.

  13. Caitlin says:

    I live on the west coast, I’ve never heard of Kandy Kakes! They sound amazing, I might have to make some TODAY! I’m going to change a few things around and try to make a lower-carb version, if you’d like I’ll send you my changes if it turns out well!
    As for your question, I only ever got dessert in my lunch box around Halloween and Easter, when I had lots of candy. I did, however, always have a bag of chips! My favorite were Cheetos. For my own daughter, I am horrified at the prospect of sending her to school with something so unhealthy every single day! Fortunately there are healthier snacks available now, and food bloggers who have healthier versions of lunchbox staples :-)

  14. Samantha says:

    So I live on the west coast and I probably should be embarrassed about this but the only reason I know what these are is because of the Stephanie Plum books and yes, I am going to totally try and make them. :)

  15. Never heard of these but my mouth is watering!

  16. Lisa says:

    I think this recipe just made you my hero! Peanut butter Kandy Kakes were one of my all time favorite snacks growing up in MD. To this day, I walk by the Tasty Kake displays at the grocery store longingly and have the discussion with the little girl in me as to why she needs to make a healthier choice. And now I have one for her. Thanks Katie!

  17. Katie, you are my hero. These look ammmmazzzzinnggg! Can’t wait to try them out.


  18. Vegan Versio says:

    Oh, I remember them well. I am old enough to remember them being called ‘Tandy Takes” and they were such a treat! As a Mom, when I really want to spoil the kids I will slip a package into their lunches. Of all the Tastycake products these were always my favorite!

  19. Emily says:

    never heard of kandy kakes before but they sound GOOD! i love mounds and pocky and the chocolate filled bears (for me they’re pandas)!! ever had moon pies? they kinda remind me of kandy kakes… at least in my imagination

  20. trajayjay says:

    I honestly hate trans fat. That food is the devil. 2 grams and you’re looking at a hellish life of heart attack and stroke.

  21. Siobhan says:

    Oh, Dunkaroos were the best!! I honestly thought hey were just an Aussie thing though. I also loved those cheese stringer things (“bend me, shape me, anyway you want me…”) and because mum and dad were hippies from way back I often had falafels and soy yoghurt in my lunchbox. Yum!

  22. kate says:

    My husband loves these! Haven’t had them in forever though but now we will :) I had no idea tastycake was a regional thing..i grew up with them so i assumed they were everywhere lol

  23. Rosene says:

    OMG!!! I am drooling now.

  24. These look so good! I’ve never heard of that bakery so this is a fun new treat idea!

  25. Layla Falcon says:

    Omg! Will have to try theese!

  26. Michelle says:

    We always had hot lunch, unless we made our own. My mom always had lots of Little Debbie things around for after school tho. None of us can stand them now. This recipe looks really good but what I really wanted today was what you put on your link of the day. Thanks! :)

  27. Dan @ Alkaline Diet says:

    Dear Katie,
    I am fighting a rare form of leukemia and have switched to an alkaline diet. Having any fun eating has become infrequent. So, your healthy desert recipes bring me a much needed treat.

  28. sd says:

    I LOVED having anything from Uwajimaya–the best asian supermarket in Seattle where I grew up. My favorite things were their cream puffs (SOO good!) but we also picked up green tea flavored mochi balls that were filled with green tea ice cream–YUM! I loved the tuna filled humbows, too (main course–not dessert).
    Random question: Do you have a southern accent, because you live in Texas, right? Or did you never pick one up? I might go to college in Texas next year, and I was thinking about how I might pick up an accent and that would be kind of cool =}

    1. Hmm.. no I don’t think so. I do say “y’all” quite often though :).

  29. What is the function of the oil in the chocolate coating? Isn’t just the melted chips good enough?

    1. Samantha says:

      I will say when I made the recipe I considered not adding the oil as well, but I do think it made more of a thin chocolate shell when it reset versus if it had been just the chips alone. Because of the property of the oil it actually sets up after you freeze it (as opposed if you just did a margarine).

      Anyway, I know the question wasn’t for me, but that was experience from making this recipe. I think the oil was worth it. Not that it wouldn’t still be a good chocolate topping without it, just probably not set up the same.


  30. Mary says:

    Oh Katie, why are you so cold about the blog now? Damn, you post twice a week and answer huge complimenting comments with some questions and loads of thanking just by saying “I dont know”, and answer 1 in each 100 comments just to rpeat “aww thanks” :(
    I love ypur blog and you, dont get me wrong, i have just been wondering what happened. Maybe it is just hard to have the same excitement so long after creating the blog? You used to be so much more enthusiastic and genuine, writing honest and bigger sized texts ( i would read ’em with delight!)
    Kisses, love your blog anyway :)

    1. Sarah Kline says:

      I’m sorry but wow what an obnoxious and offensive comment. Since I highly doubt Mary will ever come back and apologize for herself, please accept my own apologies that people like “Mary” exist. And keep doing what you’re doing!

      1. Nessa says:

        I too was disgusted to read Mary’s comment. Mary, are you paying Katie for any of the content you get from her site? If so then I guess you have a right to complain. Otherwise really I think your comment is a little uncalled for.

      2. Mary says:

        As far as the blog is public, I believe I have the right to comment. Furthermore, it’s hilarious that you are saying MY comment is uncalled when you are answering something that was meant for someone else. I did not insult her and, as I said, I like her blog. I was just wondering the meaning of all of this… And I strongly believe the blog is different. Now, that is my opinion – you might have your own, but trust me, I will be perfectly fine without it. As far as I remember, i was talking to Katie.
        It gets to be ridiculous how the white knights show up everytime someone makes a question/suggestion saying “OMGG such a mean person, oh no katie, you are perfect girl, this comment is ridiculous and the world is all pink”. For god’s aches, I did not offend anyone. I actually like reading the blog (third time I say this, just to see if you understand), but she used to be so sweet and kind to all the commenters (and answer all of them) I had to ask.
        About the paying to read this – now that was mean of you. You weren’t paying for my comment either and you still managed to get all pissed at me didn’t you? Oh and, FYI, ALL of the readers, between all the links , visiting the blog, and seeing publicity, if not buying the future book, make it possible for CCK to have profit.
        Uncalled for, as far as I am concerned, is when someone makes a normal comment and (haven’t you seen how stormily ironic it was?!) people just call her “disgusting”, wish her death (?) and attack her. And no, I am actually not afraid of coming back, and you know why? Because I firmly believe YOU are wrong, and I have nothing to be ashamed of. I apologize though if I offended anyone, once it was’t my intention, but it would rather be you doing it once your reaction was rather unpolite.
        Wether you want it or not, there will always be critics, some better, some worse. Just use them to grow up instead of freaking out. Consider them before making a scandal out of it!
        I also don’t need anyone to apologize for me, because I did nothing wrong. Please, stop putting yourself down just in order to defend someone you worship for some reason. And if that way you can help not insulting angrily and with rage people you don’t know based on a phrasis, I will be happy for you.
        Best regards,
        Your hated one, for some reason.

      3. anon says:

        lol I think you’re the one who’s making a scandal out of it. Calm down, hun! 😉

  31. Emily J. says:

    This looks wonderful! I’m going to have to try this.
    If I gave you a cake recipe could you make it into a one serving healthier cake?

    1. I’ve never done something like that before, so you’ll probably be best off experimenting and knowing it might not turn out perfectly the first few tries :).

  32. Nessa says:

    I made these and they are DELICIOUS!
    It was the first recipe I have tried from your site and I look forward to trying many more!

  33. Jill says:

    I just knew there had to be a HEALTHY version of my favorite cake. I grew up in NJ and now live in the south. We can sometimes find TastyKakes here, but I won’t buy them since now I know they are filled with all kinds of unhealthy ingredients.

    Thank you for posting.
    Can’t wait to try it!

  34. Kim says:

    Hi! I have tried quite a few of your recipes with much success. I have never tried the commercial version of this treat before but the recipe looked so good I had to whip up a batch. I did switch the vanilla cake with banana cake and it was amazing! Even my daughter who doesn’t really enjoy cake loved this one. Thought you may want to give this switch-up a try.

    1. I love your variation idea… it sounds even better than the original!

  35. Christina says:

    These look so good….I`m wondering what I could replace with the mayo style spread since I live in Japan and thats not an option here.

    1. Unofficial CCK Helper says:

      Make your own cashew mayo. Just Google “cashew mayo”.

  36. tabitha says:

    I have a kinda dumb question here, what is a cupcake tin? Is it the same thing of a cupcake pan? I’ve never heard of calling it a tin before, or have I ever seen anything called a cupcake tin at any stores so I was just curious

  37. Jess says:

    I made the cake part with my mini cupcake pan and when it was time to chocolate coat them I just poured the chocolate over them. They taste just like Kandy Kakes! I gave Kandy Kakes up because of the ingredients but I missed them. I’m happy I can make my own version now!! Thank you!!!!

  38. Much better without all the corn syrup!

  39. Mrs. D. says:

    Finally got the chance to make these. They were a HIT! My husband can’t stand the “real” Tasty Kakes b/c they taste so fake and processed. He LOVED these. He didn’t even have a second helping at dinner last night. He just went into the fridge and pulled out the plate of Katie’s Kandy Kakes! (He’s never done that with a dessert before.) WIN!! Your future cookbook is already on my Christmas list for this year, girl. Thanks for all your great recipes. :)

  40. Nina says:

    Found this info about xylitol out. I’m so sad because i thought it would be my go-to sugar substitute, but I guess the search continues. Just thought you might be interested. Thanks for your recipe by the way, I miss my Philly and can’t wait to make these to reminisce and feel like “home”. =)

  41. Melissa says:

    Ok, to start with these look amazing! I was, however, going to be one of those annoying followers, and ask if you can substitute the spelt flour for coconut or almond? I’m on a “no grain” eating set, and can’t do the spelt. Thanks in advance!