Friday, September 17, 2010

Red Velvet Whoopie with Cream Cheese Filling

After seeing a few awesome looking red velvet cakes and red velvet cupcakes on various blogs my kids started bugging me to make this brightly colored confection. To be honest, while they are great to look at I wasn't sure if I was going to make a dessert that required me to add in a whole bottle of red food dye. It kind of went against everything I usually stand for. I try to maintain a dye-free zone around the house whenever possible with one of the only exceptions being my personal weakness; M&M's.

I figured since I had never tasted this cake I should give it a go at least once in my life, even if just for the fact to say: I tried it. I knew I didn't want a big cake around the house, especially if it turned out to be something I wasn't too fond of. The other idea was to make cupcakes, but it's been done on other blogs and sometimes the rebel in me wants to be a little bit different. So what was left? Yep, whoopie pies. These little delights are always a huge hit when I make them and they are also perfect to "pawn off" on neighbors and friends. This recipe is adapted yet again from this great little book that has so many fun ideas inside: Whoopie Pies by Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell. 

This whoopie pie starts by baking the cake part. The recipe calls for up to 1 cup of cocoa, but also mentions that 1/4 cup might suffice if you want more of a red looking cake. I used the later since I wasn't going for chocolate flavor. Besides the usual suspects of flour, butter, sugar, and eggs, this also calls for buttermilk. I always have a small container in my fridge, but if you don't, or don't want to purchase any, it can easily be made by measuring 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar into a cup and adding milk to total 1 cup. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, give it a stir and you are good to go.
To make perfect whoopie pies use an ice cream scoop to drop perfect little round cakes onto your baking sheet.
The filling of these whoopies is a traditional cream cheese frosting. I started with the recipe given in the book, but decided after tasting it that it was lacking cream cheese flavor, so I doubled the amount it called for since you can never have too much cream cheese, right?

So, what was the verdict of these little desserts? The kids loved them, their friends loved them, and I think my neighbors enjoyed them as well. As far as my husband is concerned, he thought they were tasty but I'm pretty sure he wouldn't ask for them again. What about me you are wondering? Well, this is tricky since I loved the frosting. The cake part I felt kind of "eh" about. I could take it or leave it. In fact, I was almost annoyed that it didn't have a distinguished flavor. Would I make them again? Maybe. If I was trying to go for a theme I think they would be adorable, or if someone asked me specifically about making them. Considering that you can find so many incredible other cakes or whoopie pie combinations out there, this one just left me lukewarm and I could find much better options to waste my calories on, but if you are a fan of Red Velvet anything, then you must give them a try, I bet you'll like them!

Red Velvet Whoopie with Cream Cheese Filling

For the pies:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder (can be upped to 1 cup if you want more cocoa flavor)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 ounce (one small bottle) red food coloring
1 cup buttermilk

For the filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 1/2 cups (one 16-ounce box) confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the pies: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking 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 both sugars on low speed until just combined. Increase the speed to medium  and beat until fluffy and smooth, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and red food coloring and beat just until blended.

Add half of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk 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 buttermilk and beat until completely combined.

Using an ice cream scoop, drop batter onto one of the prepared baking sheet and repeat, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for about 10 minutes each, or until the cakes spring back when pressed gently. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the cakes cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.

For the filling: In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese and butter on medium speed. Add the sugar and beat on low speed until combined. Add the vanilla and increase the speed to medium, beat until creamy and smooth, about 4 minutes.

Assembling the whoopie pies: 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


  1. OMG these look amazing... My step daughter loves whoopy pies and red velvet... maybe I will make them for her sometime next week... she is a tween so it all depends on her behavior ;)

  2. Wow...I'm so impressed. What a way to kick off the weekend. Creamy, have my banana buns beat! These look amazing, and I'm going to have to jump on the whoopie pie bandwagon. How could I not after seeing these beauties!

  3. Gorgeous! I'm glad there are many whoopie pies recipes going around the blogs I read cause I failed mine. Now I totally know where to look for a good recipe. And I've never done a red velvet cake for your same reason...but now after seen these I have to try

  4. Those are gorgeous, striking and I bet tasty

  5. Those look good. I'd be weary of the food colouring as well.

    I'm sure there's a way to make those cakes with beets, and I heard a rumour that the Moosewood vegeterian cookbook has a chocolate beet cake recipe.

    That might be a good research project for me (research meaning cracking open a book instead of using Google).

  6. Dan, coloring with beets sounds so much better than the store bought food coloring! I'll let you experiment and if you find something, please do come back and share it :o)

  7. The red color looks so gorgeous for real!!!!! striking!!!!!!! and I'm sure this whoopie taste amazing!

  8. As you can tell from my blog, RED is my favorite color! Love these...wish you lived near me so I could sample. Not sure I have the baking chops to pull these off...but they are GORGEOUS!!

  9. These are beautiful! I love how perfect the filling is with it's swirled stripes. I've never made red velvet anything for just the same reason, but after seeing your cookies, perhaps I should give it a try.

  10. No that's what I call makin' whoopie! GREG

  11. Looks sooooo good!! I love the piped filling on the inside! It makes it look so much better than just scooping it onto the cake. I would love one of these!

  12. Okay, I want one (or five) of these right now!!! They look so delicious!

  13. Susi your pictures look better than the book!! Seriously! And the guy who took them is an old pro.

    I have that book too, but have yet to make anything out of it. Maybe I'll start with these.


  14. I have to say, I am totally with you in not thinking too much of red velvet cake. It usually tastes too much like the bottle of red food coloring. No one can convince me that it doesn't have a peculiar taste. Your finished whoopie pies are adorable, though. I love how you piped the filling to give it a little sparkle!

  15. wow...those whoopie pies live up to their name!!! My girls would absolutely love those, I am going to have to try and make them for them....
    thanks so much for the inspiration!
    being a southern boy I do love my whoppie pies!

  16. Fantastic! Love the color. I'm with you when it comes to adding a whole bottle of red dye. :)

  17. Okay Girl, I'm gonna congrat you right now, on your Top 9 tomm! He He Besides anything with cream cheese has my vote.

  18. I'm with you on the food dye but sometimes you just have to be festive! And your whoopie pies sure fit that bill.

  19. Susi, sind das riessen Cookies oder sieht das nur so aus auf dem Bild? Das Glass sieht so mini daneben aus. Unglaublich lecker, trotz Farbstoff.

  20. These look scrumptious! I have never yet made whoopie pies because I'm so afraid I'll eat all of them in the batch. I would definitely eat these!

  21. These look fabulous! I love the swirled filling.

  22. I am so glad to see someone with lots of whoopie pie recipes! I've been wanting to make them for so long, but if you thought the cake wasn't that good then I might have to pass...

  23. I have to admit that I do love red velvet cake and I know that I would go crazy for these whoopie pies! Plus, they look absolutely gorgeous:)

  24. You've caught my eye with your brightly colored whoopie pies! I like the way they puff up and look scrumptious with the filling:)

  25. I cannot believe you had never tried red velvet cake. It is one of my favorites. You should try the Better Homes & Garden's version of red velvet whoopie pies. I have tried a lot of different versions and that one is my favorite. The brown sugar gives them really good flavor. Here is the link:

  26. Your cookies are gorgeous. You are getting to be a pro with that camera. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  27. I have to say...I never tried the red velvet cake, but I'm more them intrigued about it. There is so much buzz about this cake. Your Whoopie pies look delicious. Have a great Sunday.

  28. Their color and shape are fantastic. First time visiting your blog. They look very sophisticated!

  29. I love the bright red color! These look delicious :)

  30. Wow, I've been seeing these on a bunch of blogs lately, but yours look incredibly professional! And like they're straight from a bakery. I LOVE the color. This is my first time to your blog (HOW on Earth?!) and I can't wait to see what else you come up with :)


  31. Susi! gawd, here's my big bear hug from way across miles. thank you for putting this recipe out. i'm dying to grab this. i think it's perfect for my christmas cookie bowl! :)

  32. I love the way you've piped the frosting! I imagine mine wouldn't be nearly as pretty as yours but you've totally inspired me to try making theses :)

  33. Wow Susi! how did I miss these! girl, there is such and excellence about everything you do. I am so impressed by your cooking and's simply beautiful. I love the way you piped your frosting. I'm going to have to try that. Can I please come over and bake with you someday and have dinner too???? Thank you for your vote!!!

  34. sure could use one of those right now :)

  35. I absolutely love red velvet and never had whoopie pies ever (yes I live in another planet.....), you've got me very curious with these beautiful pies!

  36. These pictures are amazing. These whoopie pies are soooo good.

  37. they look magnificent. thanks for sharing.

  38. I know you have a problem with using a lot of red food colouring, but have you ever considered using the gel colouring that is traditionally used for giving frosting colour ? I found this really worked when I make red velvet anything ! I usually mix it into the buttermilk. You are able to use Much less. Hope this helps !

  39. I just made pumpkin chocolate chip whoopies pies with your filling. SO GOOD !!!!! thanks!

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