Whoopie pies have taken the world by storm recently, and have even been hailed as the “new cupcake”. Who would have thought that two round pieces of cake (sandwiched with a creamy filling) could become so popular?
According to folklore, Amish women used to bake these for their husbands and put them in their lunchboxes. When the men opened their lunchboxes after a hard morning in the fields, they would shout “whoopie!”. And thus the whoopie pie was born. Of course, there is no proof that this is how they got their name, but it’s a fun story, and I’m more than happy to go along with it!
I’ve been seeing a lot of pumpkin puree around recently, and so thought it would be fun to incorporate some pumpkin into some whoopie pies. It was quite interesting as I had never actually used pumpkin puree before, nor had I ever made whoopie pies. Oh, and I’d only ever eaten one whoopie pie from Hummingbird Bakery. Thinking back, I must say I didn’t really have much idea of what I was aiming to achieve, both taste and texture wise. But that’s the fun thing about cooking, no? The experimenting. Or sometimes, the disasters…
Shaping these whoopie pies were actually much harder than I expected. I don’t have a cookie scoop, so had to use two spoons to form them into the two domed halves. For my first batch, I didn’t smooth them out, hoping they’d even out as they baked. I can now tell you that they didn’t (not sure if this is true of all whoopie pie recipes, or just this one?). So I ended up spending a fair amount of time trying to make sure the rest of my whoopie halves were smoother and more respectable… I also ended up with rather unevenly sized halves, as I didn’t measure how much batter I used each time. Basically, I was lazy.
Having said that, the final product actually tasted pretty good. Instead of using the more “traditional” cream cheese filling, I decided to go for a dark chocolate one. And you know what, I’m glad I did. The bittersweet chocolate ganache/filling complemented the pumpkin perfectly, and I daresay I would not have enjoyed them as much had it been a cream cheese filling. (Thank you R for the suggestion!)
I also made some “mini” cupcakes with some of the batter. Mainly because I’d just bought a new silicone cupcake tray, and felt the overwhelming urge to use it. I didn’t fill the holes till the top, as I was hoping to get a effect of a paper lined cupcake (if you know what I mean). They didn’t turn out all that well (as you can see), but I’m definitely going to try to achieve that effect the next time I use the tray! Another thing that bugged me were the air bubbles in the batter, which caused little “holes” in the final product. I think I’ll try tweaking the recipe to make it more liquid next time around… And yes, the frosting on the top does look a bit like a lump of poo – so I dusted them with icing sugar in an attempt to make them look less so.
If you have any good whoopie pie recipes, do let me know as I’d love to try making them again!!
For the whoopie pies:
- 3 cups plain flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 250g butter, softened
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 can (425g) solid pack pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract
For the chocolate ganache frosting:
- 200g dark chocolate (I use Green & Blacks 72% cook’s chocolate)
- 200g double cream
- 20g butter
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line baking trays with parchment paper, and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, spice blends, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well.
3. In a mixer, beat butter and brown sugar (on medium-high speed) until it becomes thick and creamy.
4. Add the pumpkin puree, and beat until just combined.
5. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until light and fluffy. (Mixture will be thin, like a muffin batter.)
6. Gradually add flour mixture (I added it in three batches), and beat until well combined.
7. Using a large cookie scoop (about 2 inches diameter), scoop batter onto prepared trays, and slightly flatten the whoopie pie halves with the back of your scoop. Leave them approximately 5cm apart. (If you don’t own a cookie scoop, do what I did and use two spoons).
8. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until whoopie pie halves spring back when lightly pressed.
9. Cool the whoopie pie halves. Whilst waiting for them to cool, prepare the chocolate ganache filling.
10. Heat the double cream in a pan over medium heat, until it feels hot to touch.
11. Place the broken up chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl. Pour the heated cream over the chocolate and butter, and stir until all the chocolate/butter is melted. It should form a thick and shiny frosting.
12. To assemble the whoopie pies: Pipe or spoon the chocolate ganache filling (about a tablespoon) onto that half. Place another half, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edges of the whoopie pie. Repeat until all the halves are used.