The Tastykakeâ brand of snack cakes and pies has long been an institution in the Philadelphia area. Those fortunate enough to grow up near Philly could indulge in Tastykake Tandy Takesâ. Some years ago, the name of this treat was changed to Kandy Kakesâ, but the basic recipe remains the same. The original ones are small discs of cake covered with peanut butter and milk chocolate.

Since I wanted to try something different for dessert to conclude my Thanksgiving feast, I tried making a giant simulation of the favorite Tastykakeâ treat of my long-gone youth. Like my deep-fried Oreoâ cookies, this cake gives me the satisfaction of violating the rules of every fad diet on the planet! Here's the recipe:

1 box of yellow vanilla cake mix, any brand*

1 cup creamy-style peanut butter

1/3 cup powdered confectioner’s sugar

2 tablespoons vegetable oil (preferably peanut oil, although corn oil may be substituted)

2 large (6 oz./170 g.) Hershey’sâ milk chocolate bars


Prepare cake mix according to the directions on the box and pour into two greased, 12 x 8 inch (30 x 22 cm.) rectangular cake pans. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until center springs up when gently pressed. Allow cakes to cool.

Empty the peanut butter into a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer at slow speed, blend the confectioner’s sugar and oil into the peanut butter. Beat at medium speed for about two minutes, then beat at high speed until the mixture becomes a creamy frosting. Spread the peanut butter mixture over the entire top of the cakes, forming a thinly frosted layer.

Break up the Hersheyâ bars and place them into a double boiler. Melt them, stirring frequently. Spread the molten chocolate over the peanut butter, then chill the cakes in the refrigerator for several hours before serving. Hell, Dr. Atkins is dead. Enjoy life for a change!

* Many brands of yellow cake mix contain FD&C Yellow No. 5 (tartrazine), a coal tar dye that has been linked to allergy problems. If you wish to avoid this dye, just use white cake mix and prepare it with whole eggs. The yolks will tint the cake yellow.

Tastykakeâ, Tandy Takesâ, and Kandy Kakesâ are registered trademarks of the Tasty Baking Company, Philadelphia, PA.

Oreoâ is a registered trademark of Nabisco.

Hersheyâ and Hershey'sâ are registered trademarks of Hershey Foods, Hershey, PA.