Whoopie pie

by Alison, 09/10/2013

Whoopie pies. I first saw these on an old Masterchef episode about a month ago. They looked good, but then again, so does most chocolate cake in my eyes. I thought nothing more about them, until I was heading to a friends for dinner and I wanted to bring something sweet for dessert. I wandered into a bakery in Ennis and there they were again, Whoopie pies. Now that they were right in front of me, I was curious and had to try them. 

The only thing I can think to compare this first one to, is an Iceberger. I know this will not mean a lot to anyone outside of Ireland but this is an ice-cream sandwich made by HB, consisting of a layer of vanilla ice-cream between two soft chocolate biscuits. Plain, simple, with none of the bells and whistles of other ice-creams. Nevertheless they are lovely every so often. Perfect if you want an ice-cream but still feel like a cup of tea with dessert.  

So having tried them, I wondered how hard can it be to make them. As they were a new cake to me I have made minimal alterations to the recipes below. 

The cake recipe is from The Joy of Baking and the filling recipe is from Baking a Moment.  The cake recipe made enough for 8 large whoopie pies or 16 tops and bottoms and the filling recipe made more then enough for the whoopie pies. The filling recipe is more time consuming then a butter-cream filling but the texture is lovely and smooth and the filling is stable and holds its shape well. Having only tried making them for the first time, I was surprised and pleased with how well they tasted.

However I wanted to see if anybody out there had any advice/ opinions. From what I saw when looking at the various recipes, Whoopie Pies are like cupcakes- growing in popularity and come in a dizzying array of flavour combinations. There are many varieties of basic cake recipes and the fillings range in flavour and type.

I choose the vanilla chocolate flavour combination as it seemed the most traditional and a good place to start.

I'd love some feedback or advice on making them. So if anybody out there has tried them or made them before, I'd love to hear from you.

Ingredients for the cake:
230g plain flour
75g cocoa powder (I used Bournville, but if you could get your hands on a really good quality cocoa I'm certain it would be worth it)
1tsp baking powder
1/4tsp baking soda
170g butter, softened
150g granulated sugar
1 large egg
1tsp vanilla extract
60ml buttermilk
120ml lukewarm coffee

Ingredients for the vanilla cream cheese filling:
1cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup plain flour
3tbs cornflour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4oz cream cheese

Pre-heat the oven to 190˚C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Boil a kettle and make your coffee.
Then start on your filling. Place the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt in a pot and mix together.
Gradually start to whisk in the milk, and ensure there are no lumps in the mixture.
Place the pot on a medium heat and cook. Continue to stir until the mixture becomes thick.
Sieve the mixture into an airtight container and place in the fridge to cool. This can take about an hour.
While the filling mixture is cooling, start on your cakes.

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda together, into a large mixing bowl.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add the egg to the butter and sugar mixture, beating well.
Mix the coffee and buttermilk together.
Alternate adding the dry mixture and wet mixture to the creamed butter, sugar and egg mixture.
Drop heaped tablespoons of the mixture onto the baking trays. The recipe mentioned using an ice-cream scoop. I don't have one of these so I ended up resorting to a ladle. This seemed to work a treat. Ensure you have about 5cm between the cakes as the mixture spreads. Smooth down the tops of the cakes with a spoon.
Bake until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly pressed. The recipe said 9-10mintues. Mine took 12-14, so watch them carefully.

I also only have one hot spot in my oven, so I had to bake the recipe in two batches, but even though the mixture was sitting around for a bit, the second lot rose just as well as the first.
When ready remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
While these are cooling, take the filling mixture from the fridge and place it in a large missing bowl along with the vanilla extract. Mix on a high speed.
Mix in the cream cheese a tablespoon at a time.
Mix in the butter a tablespoon at a time. Mix until fluffy.
Put in an airtight container and chill until ready to use.

The first recipe advised that they can be kept in the fridge for a few days and I have to agree. Mine still tasted nice on day 3.

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