Homemade Butterscotch Krimpets

Guess what? An improved, updated version of this recipe can be found in my new cookbook Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand-Name Treats. Preorder it now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local indie bookstore!

For my feature story in the latest issue of Gourmet Live, I turn my eagle eye and omnivorous palate to the quickly disappearing world of cult snack foods. Company mergers make it more likely than ever that customers can find formerly hyperlocal snack brands popping up on mega-mart shelves across the nation, and those living far away from their hometowns but willing to pay a few bucks for shipping don’t even need to leave the house to get their childhood snack fix.

Yet even with the cash influx of bigger corporate umbrellas, a few brands still stick to their regional roots and the same family recipes, among them Zapp’s potato chips from Louisiana and It’s-It ice cream sandwiches of San Francisco. And as a proud Pennsylvanian, I would be remiss not to feature Tastykakes, the Philadelphia-based bakery that’s been churning out Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes, Koffee Kakes, Kreamies, and other krazily-spelled cakes since 1914.

homemade tastykake butterscotch krimpets
As a companion piece to the story, I’ve developed a DIY version of Tastykake’s Butterscotch Krimpets, the spongy little snack cakes with golden caramel frosting that were some of the bakery’s earliest creations. And like Cheez-Its, Pudding Pops, and other homemade junk foods already featured on Good. Food. Stories., these not only taste almost exactly like the real thing, but they’re exceedingly simple to make.

If you’re opening up a package of store-bought Krimpets, according to GFS contributor and Tastykake superfan Christine Galanti, “there’s a secret to preventing the layer of frosting from sticking to the wrapper: gently wipe the unopened package, frosting side down, on a smooth surface.” That won’t be a problem with this homemade version, but the buttery cakes may offer up leverage to barter for some pretty valuable things.

And those who are petrified by the prospect of molten hot sugar need not avoid this recipe for fear of death by frosting. Making butterscotch is much easier than dry caramel; with a higher moisture and fat content, there’s less danger of scorching. Shuna Lydon’s perfect butterscotch tutorial from Simply Recipes has step-by-step photos of the process. Don’t omit the salt; it’s crucial for that true butterscotch flavor.

(Krimpet fans around the world, take note: you can buy three different Krimpet Lovers Collection packages via Tastykake online. Is there anyone out there who loves the jelly Krimpets more than the butterscotch version?)

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  1. says

    I am remembering the routine that my friends would go through (I wasn’t allowed to have them, sigh) rubbing the packaged cakes, frosting side down, onto the table before they opened them up so the frosting didn’t stick. I bet yours are way more delish!

  2. says

    Sounds fun to make! It’s been years since I’ve had any of my childhood favorites, since they all have processed with peanuts warnings on them.

  3. Chris says

    I wanted both butterscotch AND jelly krimpets (my childhood fave) so badly after reading this article! Fortunately, shortly thereafter the bus I was riding from DC back to NYC broke down and left me stranded at the John Fenwick rest stop. The gas station mini mart had not just butterscotch krimpets, but Phillies butterscotch krimpets and jelly krimpets! I’d break down in Jersey any day for Casey’s homemade krimpets.

  4. says

    Butterscotch Krimpets were my absolute favorite treat as a kid! I had them in my lunch box almost everyday. I hail from outside Philly and now that I’ve moved to Upstate NY, I crave things that remind me of home like Tastykakes. I have a great recipe for Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes and now I can make Krimpets too, thanks to you!

  5. says

    do these make your kitchen smell amazing while you’re making them? butterscotch, the perfect thing to bake for autumn, I think.

    • Casey BarberCasey Barber says

      Kerry, that’s a good question because I’ve honestly never noticed my kitchen smelling any better (or worse?) than usual when making caramel or butterscotch… but eating the fresh stuff is absolute heaven. It’s so good with apples for autumn too!

  6. Becster says

    As a born and bred Philadelphian, I can honestly say these are one of my favorite treats. My parents moved to Michigan a couple years ago, they will be thrilled to get that Tastycake flavor far from home!

  7. Leigh says

    I’m a Scranton, PA native – Tastykakes are my favorite junk food, and one I gave up long ago. Knowing now how to make them from scratch makes me gleeful. Thank you so much!

  8. Marisa says

    I’ve been watching the flooding in my hometown along the Susquehanna and it’s breaking my heart. A little taste of home will help, I think. These plus a “barbeque” sandwich (the rest of the world calls ’em sloppy joes) were my ideal school lunch. Thanks for posting – your timing is perfect.

  9. Merr says

    I have never ever heard of a krimpet but your recipe, wow, with the few ingredients, sounds like something I might try. They look lovely. Anything with frosting is lovely :)

  10. Jane Boursaw says

    They look very yummy, and I’d love to consume anything called krimpet or tastykake. They’re such kute names.

  11. says

    Love this post because I’ve been eating Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets off and on since I was a kid. It’s so good to know you can do a DIY. I’ve gotta try this!

  12. messedupworld says

    I truthfully just decided to look if I could find a recipe because I’m sitting here eating the real ones that were on sale this week for $1.99 box and know they will not be affordable when back to full price. Thanks, I’ll try them after the boxes I bought are a memory!

  13. Rich says

    I’d try these except I don’t see any leavening in the cake except maybe the eggs but I doubt eggs alone will create enough leavening to make a decent cake.

    • Casey BarberCasey Barber says

      Rich, this is a traditional sponge cake recipe that uses the leavening created by thickly whipped eggs to make a light and spongy batter. This recipe has been tested numerous times to the delight of Tastykake fans, but feel free to try your own version with baking powder if you desire.

  14. Rich says

    Ok, after the kind email reply stating the eggs are the sole leavening,
    I used baking powder and the cake was exacly like a Tastycake.
    Eggs alone make the cake too heavy too heavy and thick, not like a Tastycake.
    Baking powder lightens it up.

  15. Rich says

    and, after adding 3oz of the butterscotch sauceto the frosting, there was hardly any butterscotch taste so I added all of the sauce and it stillcould use more

    • Casey BarberCasey Barber says

      Thad, wait for the book version – or, even better, TEST the book version. I’m making them even BETTER for print!