1. Follow Martha’s recipe.
2. There is no step 2. Just follow her lead, and you will have the most incredible baked goods on your block!
(Photo from here, Edits by Me)
Well, at least that’s what I’ve found. I’ve used Martha’s recipes as the base of many different cake and cupcake adventures, and I can honestly say that the woman has never let me down. In this instance, I was looking for something yummy to make for my friend Jon’s birthday.
Earlier in the week Jon had requested something with blueberries, but I was having a hard time envisioning cupcakes that didn’t taste like they were muffins. See, blueberry isn’t an exceptionally strong flavor and I felt that if I used whole blueberries in a cupcake batter then they’d just sink to the bottom because the batter is so light. Plus, vanilla cupcakes with whole blueberries is eerily reminiscent of blueberry muffins, and I just didn’t want to go there.
So I abandoned blueberries and went in a completely different direction: the Whoopie Pie.
Have you heard of Whoopie Pies? Williams-Sonoma recently started selling Whoopie Pie pans and Whoopie Pie mix, and apparently gained some fame on Sex and the City a few years back (under the guise of “Sweetie Pies.” Essentially they’re a two cake-like cookies with buttercream sandwiched in the middle. Almost like a giant Oreo cookie sandwich but MUCH larger and softer.
(Photo from here)
Traditional Whoopie Pies are a dark chocolate (almost black) cake, with Vanilla buttercream in the middle. Legend has it that in the 1800’s, Amish wives would pack this treat for their husbands when they went out into the fields each morning. Apparently when a husband would open his lunch pack and see this treat, he’d yell, “Whoopie!” thus giving the dessert its charming moniker. Obviously there are many variations to this story, but I like this one best. 🙂
The batter was really easy to make, and I was very impressed with how thick it was. See, I chose not to invest in a special Whoopie Pie pan, and so I was a bit nervous with the batter spreading out and running all over my oven. However, it was very thick and stayed together nicely. You could use an ice cream scoop to keep things uniform, but I used a trusty tablespoon measuring spoon & a regular cereal spoon to get the job done. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper, scoop them out, and into the oven they go for about 12 minutes.
I was also surprised by how much they DID NOT spread out on the baking sheet. Usually when you make cookies you space them pretty far apart to allow for all that spreading/rising action, but for the most part these ‘lil buggers stayed put. I’d guess that they doubled or tripled in size from when I scooped them out, but a lot of that growth went up (if that makes any sense).
After a quick discussion with the birthday boy via Twitter, it was decided that the filling would be a peanut butter flavored buttercream rather than the traditional vanilla. I have to admit that the original recipe was a little too peanut-buttery for me, so I added extra powdered sugar and a couple teaspoons of heavy whipping cream to make it more sweet and airy.
You can find the original recipe for both the cake and buttercream here.
Once your cakes are cooled, pipe (or smear, if you’re out of time) the buttercream onto one cake and sandwich with a second! Much like cupcakes these beauties can be rolled in sprinkles (on the side), drizzled with melted chocolate, or dipped into chocolate, white chocolate, candy melts,etc… Mmmm, I’m getting hungry.
There really are endless variations to this dessert, so don’t be afraid to get creative! But if you’re out of time, or simply just too lazy to decorate, you’ll still get tons of, “OM NOM NOMMMMMM”s by serving this treat as is.