Sunday, January 23, 2011

Making Whoopie

We are making Whoopie Pies! Not quite a sandwich cookie, not quite a cake, whoopie pies are known by two characteristics: their soft, rounded shape and a generous amount of sweet creamy filling.  For Christmas my mother in law bought me a whoopie pie pan and a wonderful cookbook, "Whoopie Pies" by Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell.

The cookbook is adorable, with pages full of useful tidbits and helpful tips for making your own whoopie pies. I'm going to share what I learned, including the fact that you don't need fancy equipment to make whoopie pies. Here are some items I found really useful:
  • My KitchenAid Mixer: I used this for the cake batter and to whip the filling. Of course you could also do the mixing by hand and work those bicep muscles!
  • Whoopie Pie baking Sheets: I liked using this because it ensured my whoopie pies were uniform in size. You could also use baking sheets, just be consistent with your scoop size.
  • If you are using baking sheets, line with parchment paper or a silpat sheet liner.
For my first batch of whoopie pies, I let Jim choose from the recipes in our cookbook. His choice was Red Velvet Whoopie.

For Red Velvet Whoopie Pies you will need the following:
2 1/2 C all purpose flour
1 C cocoa powder (you could use as little at 1/4 C depending on your preferences)
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 C unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
1/2 C vegetable shortening
1/2 (packed) brown sugar
1 C granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 t vanilla extract
1/2 ounce (one small bottle) red food coloring
1 C buttermilk

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper. (I didn't sift these ingredients first, and nothing bad happened to me.)

In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (oh, how I love this kitchen gadget), beat together the butter, shortening, and both sugars on low speed until just combined.  Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy and smooth, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the vanilla and red food coloring and beat just until blended.

Add half of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk 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 buttermilk and beat until completely combined.

Using a spoon, drop about 1 T of batter onto a prepared baking sheet (or your whoopie pie baking pan) spacing them at least 2 inches apart.  Bake one sheet at a time for about 10 minutes each, or until the cakes spring back when pressed gently.  Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the cakes cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.
To make Classic Buttercream frosting I used:
3 C confectioners' sugar
1/2 C unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 to 4 T heavy whipping cream
1 t vanilla extract
Pinch of salt.

In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the confectioners' sugar with the butter, starting on low and increasing to medium speed, until the mixture is crumbly, about 1 minute. Add the heavy cream, vanilla, and salt and beat on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.
To assemble the Whoopie Pies, spread filling onto the flat side of one cake using a knife or spoon.

Alternatively, you can use a pastry bag with a round tip to pipe the filling onto the cakes, which will give you a smoother, neater presentation.

I personally like the wonky handmade look. But that's me.

Did you know a Whoopie Pie by any other name would taste as sweet? They have also been called Scooter Pies, Chocolate Drops, Round Dogs, Cream Cakes, Gobs, Moon Pies, and Black Moons.
Top it with another cake, flat-side down. Repeat with the rest of the cakes and filling.

If your treat is flat or thinly filled, sorry.... that is not a proper whoopie pie.

The cake part of the whoopie pies can be baked in advance and frozen. Bake as instructed by the recipe, cool them completely, then transfer to a cookie sheet and flash freeze in freezer for one hour. They will then be frozen enough to store in a resealable freezer bag without sticking to one another. These can be stored in the freezer for a month.

Most fillings (buttercream, ganache, cream cheese) can be made ahead and stored in a covered container in the fridge for up to a week. The "classic" fillings (Marshmallow and Whipped Chocolate Ganache) do not store well and are best used the same day.

When you are ready to assemble the whoopie pies, remove the cakes from the freezer and defrost at room temperature for at least 2 hours before filling. Remove the creamy fillings from the fridge and bring to room temperature about one hour before using.

A Fun Fact: Five-hundred people attended the first annual Whoopie Pie Festival in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine. One of the judges at the event is now working to make whoopie pies the state's official dessert.

Another fun fact: Instead of a wedding cake, Jim and I decided to order Whoopie Pies from our favorite little bakery in downtown Napa. Sweetie Pies in Napa, California produces some of the best cookies and sweet treats we have ever had. It's a must stop for us whenever we are in Wine Country.
This could quite possibly be the worst picture of Jim and I at our wedding. It's not going to make it into the wedding album but I will post it here for everyone to poke fun at.
Once you go whoopie, you'll never go back.


  1. Those whoopie pies look fantastic. Red velvet cake is my family's all-time favorite and the color of yours really makes them perfect for Valentine's Day. Plus, with all that yummy frosting in them, who could resist. I have a new linky on my blog called "Sweets for a Saturday" and I'd like to invite you to stop by and link this up.

  2. So perfect for Valentines Day! Love it! gtnyu (that was from my two year old)

  3. Oh La La! Looks like you love making whoopie! ;)

  4. the picture of you and Jim..too funny.

  5. ahhh so perfect for February! I loved the pumpkin whoopies I made; I can't wait to try these!

  6. I got half way through assembling the batter before I realized you never say what temperature to bake them at! Help!

  7. Found the answer! 350 degrees. Also, the recipe makes 48 4-inch cakes.

  8. Hi
    May I know what's the brand of the whoopie pie pan you are using? Are the wells 'rounded' off at the base. Some pans have this 90 degrees wells that produce whoopie pies which are doomed shaped. Hope you know what I mean :)



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