Are whoopie pies the new cupcake? Is the cupcake soo the “aughts” and the whoopie pie the “it dessert” just waiting in the wings to break out in the teens?
The Baltimore Sun thinks, maybe so.
It was a funny coincidence then that I read this article about a week after I had made a batch of whoopie pies for my birthday. Apparently my subconscious is more on-trend that I am.
Whenever my birthday rolls around I get it in my head to make treats for my classmates/friends/coworkers. Since I’ve been binge baking since Thanksgiving, though, when February rolled around I was running out of novel ideas for treats. What’s a girl to do? I had just baked a batch of red velvet cupcakes. A platter of lemon bars. More blueberry panna cotta than is probably wise.
When I was in elementary school my favorite treat to bring in back then were these mini “hamburger” cookies. The “meat” patty would be a thin mint, and the bun would consist of two vanilla wafers. I’d “glue” the cookies together with red, green, and yellow frosting for the ketchup, lettuce, and mustard respectively, and to literally top it off, I’d smear a little corn syrup on the top wafer and sprinkle on sesame seeds.
And while the child in me still loves the little burger cookies, because they are so cute, I’m 29 years old now. I’m barreling toward my thirties. Sometimes my knee I hurt in rec soccer in college feels funny when it rains. All this said, I need something that’s a little more adult that still appeals to the kid in me. Like whoopie pies. But let’s do this right. Let’s get rid of the shrink wrap, the preservatives. Let’s make these suckers from scratch. Impress your friends. Take a bite. Savor. Let your eyeballs roll into the back of your head. Feel the surge of pleasure tingle all the way down to your toes.
For those of you who don’t know what a whoopie pie is, though, everybody’s favorite lazybones information source, Wikipedia, says this:
A whoopie pie is a baked good made of two round mound-shaped pieces of chocolate cake, sometimes pumpkin cake, with a sweet, creamy frosting sandwiched between them. While considered a New England phenomenon and a Pennsylvania Amish tradition,they are increasingly sold throughout the United States. According to food historians, Amish women would bake these (known as hucklebucks at the time) and put them in farmers’ lunchboxes. When farmers would find these treats in their lunch, they would shout “Whoopie!”
Whoopie, indeed! And what about this recipe makes me whoop the most? Is it the chocolately cake? A little bit, yes, but in my personal opinion (and your mileage may vary), it’s the creme filling that does the trick, because where whoopie pies are concerned, I’m not a traditionalist, so goodbye marshmallow fluff, hello cream cheese.
For the cake I used a recipe from Epicurious, with only a few changes to adjust my purpose, but on the whole, this recipe is fantastic. The cream cheese is my own, though, basic as it is.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Ready baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
- Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl until combined. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl.
- Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a handheld, then add egg, beating until combined well. Reduce speed to low and alternately mix in flour mixture and buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with flour, scraping down side of bowl occasionally, and mixing until smooth.
- Spoon about 3 tablespoons worth of batter onto the parchment, keeping 2 inches apart. Shape with spoon into a round puddle. Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until tops are puffed and cakes spring back when touched, 11 to 13 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack to cool completely. If you want larger pies, spoon 1/4 cup instead, but word of advice–they will be HUGE.
- Let cakes cool on a wire rack.
Cream Cheese Frosting
This frosting is also great for cakes/cupcakes. It’s cream cheesey without overpowering, rich and tasty, but not heavy like a buttercream.
- 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons half and half
- 1 (8 oz.) package of cream cheese, softened
- 1. Whip together sugar, butter, cream cheese, and vanilla with an electric beater on low speed until creamy. Add the half and half and continue to mix. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before use.