The other week I decided it was about time I had a go at making whoopie pies, which are described by many as a cross between a cookie and a cupcake. I’m a bit late on this trend I know, but there are only so many treats I can get round to baking for fear of my cake-taster exploding!
When I Googled ‘whoopie pies’ there wasn’t much by way of chat about them and what there was mainly came in dated 2010. Headlines like ‘Move aside cup cakes, whoopie pies are all the rage now‘ and ‘The cupcake is dead. Long live the whoopie!‘ popped up and it got me wondering about whether or not I’d just totally missed them on the shop shelves (try saying that with a mouthful of cake), or they had simply been a bit over hyped like many things these days. Maybe they are still working their way up the rankings, but cupcakes still seem to be the rage everywhere I’m going.
I won’t bore you with the history of the whoopie because there are a few different stories about where they originate from and to be honest do we really care?! It’s all about the eating in my house, who made them first isn’t exactly on the forefront of anyone’s mind when I place a plate of baked goods in front of them.
Whoopies are easy enough to make, but be very careful as you can end up with millions of the blighters and will be forced to freeze them like I did. They definitely don’t taste as good after they have been frozen, so I’d suggest halving the recipe IF you can get your head around the figures. The book I have has the ingredients listed in American cups and it took me a while to convert into grams – As a creature of habit I did not want to venture from my usual weight measurements to cups during a trail bake.
I started off by making the ‘classic chocolate whoopie’ with a cream cheese filling and wasn’t really that impressed. Having never tasted them before it was hard to know whether it was my baking or just the recipe that I didn’t agree with. I found them to be too dense for my liking and it even took Alex took a while to warm to them. The vanilla whoopie was a lot nicer, but I’m not sure I’ll be making them again anytime soon. First I will have to take a trip into Harrods or The Hummingbird Bakery to buy some for a taste test – All in the name of research obviously…
For now all I can say is – ‘Long live the cupcake!’
Below is the recipe for the chocolate whoopies – Just because they are the only ones I have pictures of. You can find lots of different recipes here: letsmakewhoopie.
Classic Chocolate Whoopie Pies
Makes about 48 two-inch cakes, enough for 24 pies.
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature – (56.7g)
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening – (56.7g)
(Named Trex, Flora White or Cookeen in the UK)
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar – (200g)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper. In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, shortening and brown sugar on low speed until just combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes.
3. Add half of the flour mixture and half of the milk to the batter and beat on low until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining flour mixture and 1/2 cup milk and beat until completely combined.
4. Using a spoon, drop about 1 tablespoon of batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets and repeat, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for about 10 minutes each, or until the pies spring back when pressed gently. Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.
Ingredients for the vanilla buttercream
4oz cream cheese, at room temperature
3 1/2 cups pure icing sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese and butter on medium speed. Add sugar and beat on slow until combined. Add the vanilla and increase the speed to medium; beat until creamy and smooth, about 4 miunutes.
I used a whoopie pie tin and book which are on sale here at Firebox. There’s no need to use a tin but some people may find it quicker and easier and I found that my pies were a little neater if not a little UFO looking.
Watch this video tutorial with Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell here – It helps!