I love regional food. There are specialties to be ferreted out all over the country, and no matter where you live, other exiles from your home region all have the same visceral reaction to a particular food that they grew up with.
Being a Jersey girl, I can’t live without Taylor Ham, bagels, sticky and crumb buns (the bakeries Down the Shore in Ocean City still make me swoon). As a child, we went down to Ocean City for family reunions. My grandfather was one of seven children, thus my mother had a healthy number of cousins. One of them, bless him, worked for the Tastykake company in Philadelphia. This family cousin arrived with cases of KandyKakes and Butterscotch Krimpets, which considerably brightened our lunchboxes for weeks afterward. Needless to say, as far as we were concerned this was a one of our coolest relatives.
Krimpets are a classic, small rectangular cakes with distinctly wavy sides that came in butterscotch and jelly flavors. The jelly I could take or leave, and I’m not sure they’re still making them anymore, but the thought of the Butterscotch Krimpets evokes powerful happy memories and more than a little bit of longing.
More than 5 years ago now PJ tossed the idea over to me that I should invent baking recipes for all kinds of lunchbox snack cakes, and I went to town on the idea. Thus it was than in the Autumn 2003 Baking Sheet several home baked versions for things like Drakes’ Yodels and Funnybones and TastyKake classics like the Krimpet were born. That issue created a lot of buzz among Baking Sheet subscribers, who promptly bought up every back issue to be had. This being back-to-school time, it seems right to share this classic once again.
For our Butterscotch Finger Cakes, a 9 x 13-inch pan does yeoman service. Grease and flour it, or for absolute insurance, line the bottom with parchment paper and grease that.
Put the dry ingredients together.
Cream the butter and sugar, scrape.
Add one egg, and scrape again. I finally got a picture that explains why this is such a big deal.
See the difference in the texture between the mixture higher up and the mixture sticking to the bottom of the bowl? This is where streaks in your batter come from, making potholes or sugary molten bits in the finished baked good. Of course, if you have butter and sugar making islands of their own in what you’re baking, that means the rest of the dough or batter isn’t getting the proportions of butter and sugar it should have, and that means it’s going to be more dry and less tender.
After three of the five eggs are mixed in, you can see that the mixture is in the mood to start curdling. You can keep this from happening by sneaking in a couple spoonfuls of the flour mixture.
Once they’re mixed in, the batter’s emulsion is more stable, and the remaining two eggs and flavorings can join the party.
Now for some of the flour
Alternating with the milk.
Take them out of the oven when they begin to pull from the edge of the pan, and cool on a rack for 15 minutes.
To take them out of the pan, free up the edges
Top that with a baking sheet, right side up, then flip everything over to invert the cake onto the parchment paper.
Let the cake cool the rest of the way while you make the frosting. Melt some of the butter and the butterscotch chips together.
It won’t look pretty, but that’s ok. Set this aside to cool to room temperature.
Mix the other half of the butter with half of the confectioners’ sugar until combined.
Add the melted chips and butter,
Add the rest of the sugar and beat until you have a nice spreadable frosting.
Plop it all on top of the cooled cake,
and spread it evenly over the top.
Since there’s no practical way to cut wavy sides into each snack cake, I decided to use a cake comb to evoke the Krimpet silhouette. Just draw it back and forth in a nice, relaxed arc
To make a wavy-looking top.
Cut the cake in thirds lengthwise,
Then crosswise in inch and a half sections (9ths).
You’ll want to wrap and freeze these for two reasons: if you don’t they’ll disappear in a flash, and once you have the freezer stash, it’s a simple matter to pop one into a lunchbox. They’ll travel better, and be thawed and ready to eat by lunchtime.
Buy or bake:
6 pack of Tastykake Krimpets, 3.79/.63 each
1 Butterscotch finger cake: .21 each
In these uncertain economic times, it’s incredibly satisfying to be able to provide 27 snack cakes for the lunchbox at a fraction of the cost, packaging, and food miles. The only thing that’s missing is the cellophane wrapper!