Relax kids, this is a family show.
I’m talking whoopie pies, of course! After I had an epic failure for a chocolate cream pie with a Thin Mint crust (I used coconut milk to make the whipped cream, which would not whip, and therefore the “mousse” was just slush…and I wasted a box of Thin Mints I’d been saving for months for the right recipe…looks like that wasn’t it), I had to redeem myself. I’ve decided to embark on my newest project using recipes from cook books I already own. Yes, actual cook books, which are piling up on my shelves, can be used for more than just decoration. There are so many incredible recipes out there, and I probably have 25% of them already sitting in my kitchen, silently vying for my attention. It just so happens that the first recipe I pulled out on the first page of the book United Cakes of America was for chocolate whoopie pies with a rum meringue frosting straight out of whoopie pie-obsessed Maine.
Whoopies are actually much easier than I’d imagine, at least in this case. This recipe is your traditional whoopie pie with a slight twist on the frosting, and the entire process can be done under a half hour. I used vanilla and almond extracts and Mount Gay Eclipse Rum (an amazing gold rum from Barbados), but it would be easy enough to completely transform the frosting by adding raspberry or strawberry extracts or something even warmer, like cinnamon. I’ll have to get back to you on changing the cakes…pumpkin whoopies in the fall are enough to make me wish for the cold.
Stuff You’ll Need
Makes 8 pies
For the Cake
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 3 Tbsp corn starch
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup milk (either 2% or whole or almond)
- 2 Tbsp molasses
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter or Earth Balance, softened
- 1/2 cup superfine granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 egg
- Baking sheets, parchment paper
For the Filling
- 1 1/4 cups superfine granulated sugar
- 3 egg whites
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp rum
- Hand-mixer, stainless steel mixing bowl, and small saucepan-you’re gonna do some cooking here!
How to Do It
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spray each sheet lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
- Sift the dry ingredients for the cake together in a mixing bowl, and set aside. Combine the milk, molasses, and vanilla extract in a separate bowl, and set aside.
- Begin creaming the butter and both sugars together with the paddle attachment of a stand-mixer at medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Add the egg, and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula as necessary.
- Alternately add the dry and wet ingredients in 3-4 steps each into the mixer, and scrape down the sides and into the bottom of the bowl to ensure all the ingredients are blended. Whip for an additional 15-20 seconds.
- Drop 1/4 cup-sized scoops of batter 2-3 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cakes are firm and a fork or tooth pick comes out mostly clean when placed in the center of the cake.
- Remove the cakes from the oven, and let them cool completely on the pan.
- While the cakes are cooling, make the filling. Fill a small sauce pan with 1-2 cups of water, and bring to a simmer on the stove. Combine all of the ingredients except for the extracts and rum into a stainless steel mixing bowl that can be placed on top of the saucepan, and prepare your hand-mixer. An oven mitt would be helpful here as well.
- Place the bowl over the simmering water, and beat with the electric mixer on low speed. Gradually increase the speed of the mixer to its highest setting, and continue whipping the filling for a total of 7 minutes. The filling should thicken and develop stiff peaks. Carefully add the extracts and rum, and whip for another minute. Quickly remove the bowl from the heat, and set aside to cool.
- When the cakes and filling have cooled, use a pastry bag to pipe approximately 2-4 tablespoons of filling on the flat side of half the cakes. Place the flat side of the remaining cakes on top, and enjoy yourself a whoopie pie!
Tips & Treats
- A note on sugars-this recipe calls for “superfine granulated sugar”. If you’re stopping by the local grocery store, you may not be able to find “superfine granulated sugar”, so you’ll have two choices to compensate: a)do what I did and purchase fine organic sugar, like Florida Crystals, which has a smaller granule than generic granulated sugar, or b)throw your granulated sugar into a food processer and pulse for 30 seconds to cut it up. The finer texture actually helps to cut through the butter when creaming more easily, which provides for a more consistent product.
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