Baking and cooking trends are almost like fashion. Things that are hip today might be gone by next year. In fact, cupcakes have been all the rage and while you still find them in a lot of cookbooks and food blogs, they are indeed becoming less and less popular. The next "big thing" after cupcakes appeared to be macaroons, which are still all over the internet. I personally have not made them yet, and I'm wondering if by the time I'm getting around to them they are already passe again.
But just like fashion, as soon as one item "retires" there is a new one resurrected or back in style. In this case I'm talking about the Whoopie Pie. Whoopie pies have been around for a long time, especially if you have lived on the east coast, but for some reason they have always been the stepchild to cupcakes and macaroons. Well not anymore. Keep your eyes open and you will start seeing Whoopie Pies popping up everywhere. A great book which will get you started and has endless possibilities is: Whoopie Pies by Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell.
Whoopie pies are pretty easy to make, taste like childhood, and when brought along to any function, I guarantee you won't be coming home with leftovers.
I decided to kick my whoopie pie experience off with the classic chocolate cake and marshmallow frosting. They were everything and more I remembered them to be. I loved the non too sweet soft cake part that harmonized perfectly with the soft marshmallow filling. I used extra dark cocoa powder which too me made them taste even richer, but any cocoa powder will work. The marshmallow creme for the filling is a cinch, since it relies on store bought marshmallow fluff and is whipped up in no time. The only thing that bothered me a bit was the way my finished pies looked. The tops of all of the whoopie pies in the book are smooth, and even after carefully watching mine while they were baking the tops cracked. I'm not sure why this happened, maybe it had to do with the lack of humidity we have here in the Southwest, but it didn't affect the taste of the pies.
My whole family went bonkers over these little delights and I see many more whoopie pies in my baking future. I hope this inspired you as well to make some whoopie pies, you know, you want to!
Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Marshmallow Creme Filling
For the pies:
1 2/3 cups all- purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
For the filling:
1 1/2 cups Marshmallow Fluff (or other prepared marshmallow cream)
1 1/4 cups vegetable shortening
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
For the pies: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper. In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, shortening, and brown sugar on low speed until just combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes.
Add half of the flour mixture and half of the milk to the batter and beat on low until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining flour mixture and 1/2 cup milk and beat until completely combined.
Using a 1 1/2 tablespoon ice cream scoop, drop the batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets and repeat, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet a t a time for about 10 minutes each, or until the pies spring back when pressed gently. Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely before filling.
For the filling: In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the Marshmallow Fluff and the vegetable shortening, starting on low and increasing to medium speed until the mixture is smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low, add the confectioners' sugar and the vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes more.
Assembling the whoopie pie: Spread filling onto the flat side of one cake using a knife or spoon. Top with another cake, flat-side down. Repeat with the rest of the cakes and filling.
Alternatively, you can use a pastry bag with a round or star tip to pipe the filling onto the cakes, which will give you a smoother, neater presentation.
Adapted from: Whoopie Pies