There’s a lot to the whoopie pie. Aside from the ingredients, that is. Like it’s the official state treat of Maine. Ever knew there was such a thing as a state treat? I didn’t. State dessert…sure. But state treat? I can see how it would be difficult to choose between the whoopie pie and blueberry pie though. So props to Maine for finding a loophole. Maine and Pennsylvania are even in, what seems like, a never-ending debate over where the whoopie pie originated. Mainers say Maine. Pennsylvanians say Pennsylvania. Naturally. It’s a traditional New England dessert, there’s no doubt about that. Still, we have an interstate whoopie pie dispute on our hands. So much so that the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have both reported on the topic in the last couple of years. Which state should actually get the credit for this scrumptious dessert? Food for thought.
I’m not a Mainer. Nor a Pennsylvanian. But I do love whoopie pies. I grew up eating them as a New Englander and twenty-something years later whoopie pies are still one of my favorite desserts. So it’s only natural to spend countless hours finding the ultimate whoopie pie recipe, right? That’s what I like to tell myself, at least. The recipes I’ve made from cookbooks and websites quite honestly haven’t done it for me. Either the cake is too dry. Or the filling is too gooey. Or the combination is, in some way or another, off. So here I am, 7 or 8 whoopie pie recipes later. That’s about 100 whoopie pies. The reject whoopies haven’t gone to waste though, no fear. I have wonderful family, friends and coworkers in my life that have unknowingly agreed to be my guinea pigs.
I have to admit, I’m a bit whoopie pie-d out now. But after some trial and error, I finally found what I consider to be the perfect combination of cake and filling. Moist, chocolatey, fluffy cakes. Smooth, buttery, marshmallow filling.
useful gadgets: stand mixer, cookie scoop, pastry bag & Ateco #807 or #809 tip
for the cakes:
4 cups flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup brewed coffee
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tsp vanilla
for the filling:
4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
4 cups marshmallow topping (about 14 oz)
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put a rack in the upper half of the oven.
Brew a cup of coffee and let it cool. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a medium-sized bowl and set aside. In a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer, beat the softened butter and brown sugar together at medium-high until the consistency is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Mix in the vanilla and then the eggs. Melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave or in a double boiler and incorporate. Beat until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed and switch the stand mixer or handheld mixer to a lower speed. Add the cooled coffee and then alternatively add the flour mixture and buttermilk. Mix until the batter reaches a smooth consistency.
To achieve a perfectly round cake for the whoopie pies, I use a pastry bag or cookie scoop. The cookie scoop is one of my all-time favorite kitchen gadgets. I put it in the ‘I don’t know how I got by without it’ category. Like the iPhone. Don’t judge. If you don’t have a pastry bag or cookie scoop, spoon about three tablespoons, or a little less than ¼ cup, of batter onto the parchment lined baking sheet in a circular shape.
Bake for 8 minutes, or until the cakes have puffed. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before assembling.
For the filling, beat together the softened butter, marshmallow topping, vanilla extract and salt with an electric mixer. Once well combined, add one cup of the confectioners’ sugar at a time, allowing the filling to reach a smooth consistency.
To assemble the whoopie pies, put the filling in a pastry bag and pipe it in a spiral on the flat side of half the cakes. Place the remaining half of the cakes on top and press each down a smidge for the filling to peek out the sides. Don’t have a pastry bag? You can just as easily use a ziploc freezer bag! Put the filling in the ziploc, seal it and cut a ¼ inch line diagonally across the bottom corner. Pipe the filling from the ziploc bag just like you would from a pastry bag. Don’t feel like using any kind of bag? Place a spoonful of filling on the flat side of half the cakes instead of piping.
Looking to make colossal whoopies? Use another tablespoon of batter and bake for 10 minutes.
nom nom nom.