PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–For the fans out there, a Tastykake is simply a delicious treat many have enjoyed since their childhood, but when you unwrap that confection, chances are you never thought about the science and secrets behind it.
You know what they say, “Nobody bakes a cake as tasty as a Tastykake”.
Tastykake has been a Philadelphia original since 1914.
But there’s a lot more than just sugar and butter that goes into making these treats.
“We need precise temperature and so we have to change the heat a little bit, change the water, we’ve got to account for all those variables. The humidity, the temperature of water, so there’s a lot of science behind it,” said Paul Ridder, president of Tastykake.
To find out how they do it, CBS’s Jessica Dean suited up, hairnet and all, for special access to the Tastykake bakery in South Philadelphia.
The bakery is in production five to six days a week, with three shifts around the clock.
Ridder acted as the guide, Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes were the goal.
It all starts with the cake batter.
“We’re able to, with our oven, as the cake travels up and down through it, to exactly control the temperature and the way it bakes to get just the right amount of air in it,” say Ridder.
Bakers test the volume and weight of the batter every 15 minutes to make sure it’s just right.
Once the cakes cool, it’s time for the good stuff.
“We use enough peanut butter to make about eight million peanut butter and jelly sandwiches a year,” said Ridder.
That peanut butter is made from a special recipe just for Tastykake.
From there, the kakes head under a chocolate waterfall.
Ridder says, “We essentially bathe them in chocolate. We cover the top and actually puddle the bottom.”
Covered in warm chocolate, the kake goes through a long cooling tunnel which dips down to 40 degrees, making them crunchy.
Throughout the process a series of electronic eyes keeps watch over the kakes.
“If it doesn’t identify two tastykakes in perfectly right with the seal, it’ll kick it off”
The good ones continue down the line and into boxes.
Next stop: the store shelves.
“It takes about a half hour from the time we deposit to the time they’re ready to be sold,” said Ridder.
Between the chocolate and the peanut butter, there’s a lot of history sandwiched in these treats.
“Our customers are fanatical about our product and they don’t ever want it to change. So we’ve got to balance that ‘don’t do anything different’ with ‘do something new’ at the same time to keep them interested, to keep them excited,” Ridder said.
And to keep them coming back for more.