February 12, 2018
It’s one layer of chocolate cake, topped with 12 ounces of crunchy peanut butter and smothered with 7 ounces of chocolate butter cream icing.
When Peggy McKinney repeats those steps and adds a few chocolate frosting flourishes on top, she’s created another of her award-winning peanut butter fudge cakes. The dessert recently was named Bama’s Best Peanut Butter Dessert in a contest sponsored by the Alabama Peanut Producers Association (APPA).
“It’s very simple; we make this wonderful fudgy cake, and then we just put peanut butter and chocolate in between,” McKinney said. “If you like chocolate and peanut butter, this cake just sends your taste buds into orbit.”
McKinney officially began her business — McKinney Cakes — in 1997, but she’s baked cakes for weddings and special events since 1974. She got her start when her mother bought her a decorator kit, which McKinney used to make her son’s third birthday cake.
“I complained about bakery cakes because I just didn’t think they were cute enough for my precious child,” McKinney said. “I was hooked after making that first cake. It’s just a joyful business.”
The peanut butter fudge cake is a favorite for grooms in and around Montgomery. Devoted customers have driven from as far away as New Orleans; Tampa, Florida; and Durham, North Carolina, for the famous confection.
After decades in the business, McKinney Cakes is a generational tradition.
“Thirty years ago, Peggy made my wedding cake. I came back in 2015 because my daughter was
getting married, and we wanted Peggy to do her wedding cake, too,” said Gwyn Bruner, a customer who’s now the bakery’s bookkeeper. “She just puts her heart and soul into every cake she makes.”
The legendary peanut butter fudge cake won the honor of Bama’s Best Peanut Butter Dessert through a "Simply Southern TV" contest hosted on the show’s Facebook page.
“When I shared it on Facebook, there was just an instant response,” said Karen Simmons, McKinney’s daughter. “People love this lady, and they love her cake. I think she really deserves this honor.”
Over 1,000 votes were cast for McKinney Cakes. As winner, she received $300 and a plaque courtesy of APPA.
With over 40 years of baking under her belt, McKinney said the smiles of happy customers with her cakes keeps her going. And she has no plans to hang up her spatula anytime soon.
“I am not going to retire,” McKinney said. “I’ve never written down my recipe, but I joke that I plan to put it on my tombstone. Then, people will drive by the cemetery wondering ‘Why is there that long line of people?’ and it’ll be folks waiting to copy down that peanut butter fudge cake recipe.”
To order the award-winning cake, call McKinney Cakes at (334) 263-2161. Find out more about other offerings on the McKinney Cakes Facebook page.
Catch the "Simply Southern TV" feature on Bama’s Best Peanut Butter Dessert in show 313, which airs March 25 and reruns June 24.