In the Philadelphia area, a favorite treat is the TastyKake Krimpet. They are tiny cakes, come three in a pack and there are two types - Butterscotch and Jelly. Both types of Krimpets use the same cake. The Butterscotch Krimpet is distinguished by a frosting and the other one by a jelly filling.
When I think of them, I'm reminded of my childhood. They are indelibly linked to it. During every season and occasion there were TastyKake Krimpets.
Eating Krimpets was a ritual. The first thing that was addressed was removing the wax paper wrapper without disturbing the frosting. Of course, this only pertained to the butterscotch variety. Often times, all of the frosting would stick to the wrapper while it was being removed, especially on a hot day. It was like a game of chance. What would happen? Would all the frosting stick to the wrapper?, or maybe just the frosting from one or two of the cakes. If none of the frosting stuck, "You won". If you weren't so lucky, there was always another chance during the next time you earned the treat. You've probably guessed that the guaranteed method of removing the wrapper without disturbing the frosting was to freeze the cakes first. That works, but then you have to wait for the cake to defrost and who wants to wait that long!
The cake was spongy and had a delicate sweet flavor. It was toothsome. I never thought to question what kind of cake it might be. I knew it wasn't like the boxed cakes my mother made. I assumed that the special/different qualities of the Krimpet cake, as compared to boxed cake, was a result of being made in a factory. It was just something that could never be reproduced in a home kitchen. It was a company secret recipe that could only be reproduced in the company factory.
A few months ago I made a Burnt Sugar cake. I've been meaning to make one since espying it in the Meta Given's Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking, Volume 1. I thought it was unusual and I like unusual cakes. However, the recipe makes a large cake and I didn't have an occasion to make that large of a cake. The recipe makes a cake that requires a party of 12-20 people to polish it off. I would have eaten the whole thing by myself if it stayed in my house. I like to bake, I just can't afford to stuff myself with the results. I am following a bodybuilding routine and I do want the chance of seeing my abs at sometime.
So I did some research and found other recipes for Burnt Sugar cake. The earliest recipe I found was in the original Joy of Cooking, 1931. The latest one was in the Ladies Home Journal cookbook from the 1960's. Of the six recipes I found, there was a definite evolution. The earlier recipes called for a half cup of burnt sugar syrup, while the later ones required only three tablespoons. However, all of them made a three layer 9 inch round cake. Which would only mean death to my abs if I made it.
So I decide to experiment. I adapted a Kitchenette cake, which is a one bowl method cake. The Kitchenette cake is wonderful. It makes an 8x8x2 inch square cake or sixteen cupcakes. It is perfect for a small party and can be flavored as you like. For the adaptation I substituted some of the sugar with burnt sugar syrup and added two extra eggs to make the batter less thick.
When I finally tasted it, I realized that I was eating a Butterscotch Krimpet. It had the same spongy quality and it was the burnt sugar that gave it that special sweet flavor I remembered. I also suspect that the burnt sugar syrup aids in making the cake moist and spongy, but I don't have any scientific proof, just a hunch.
So I came across, by chance, the secret to the Butterscotch Krimpet. I guess factories are not so special.
Here's the recipe:
Burnt Sugar Cake
1 1/3 c cake flour
2/3 c sugar
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/3 c shortening
1/3 c milk
1/3 c burnt sugar syrup
1 t vanilla
3 large eggs
1. Preheat oven to 350º.
2. Prepare the burnt sugar syrup. See recipe below.
3. In a bowl combine the dry ingredients.
4. Add the shortening and rub it into the flour until it is crumbly.
5. Add the milk, burnt sugar syrup, vanilla and one egg. Beat for 2 minutes scraping the sides of the bowl once.
6. Add the remaining two eggs and beat for an additional 2 minute scraping the sides of the bowl once.
7. Bake in a tube pan for 50 minutes. Or fill 16 cupcake tins and bake for 20-25 minutes.
8. Once cake is done let cool and frost with Burnt Sugar frosting.
Burnt Sugar syrup
2/3 c sugar
1/2 c cold water
1/2 c hot water
1. In a heavy sauce pan add the sugar and water.
2. Heat until the sugar is a deep golden color.
3. Remove from heat and carefully add the hot water.
4. Return the pan to the burner and over low heat stir until the sugar is dissolved and is syrupy.
5. Cool. There should be about 2/3 cup of syrup.
Burnt Sugar frosting
1/3 c burnt sugar syrup
2 t powdered egg whites
1 T shortening
1/4 t flavoring [I like orange extract]
1. Mix the burnt sugar syrup with the egg white powder.
2. Add enough powdered sugar to make a very thick frosting.
3. Add the shortening and flavor and beat. The mixture should be fairly thick.
4. Add about two tablespoons of cold water one teaspoon at a time and beat until frosting is of spreadable consistency.
Let me know if you make it and if you do please post a comment.