Watch how it’s done on the episode “When Only Chocolate Will Do” (check our schedule in December). Whoopie pies are a classic dessert recipe consisting of rounds of moist chocolate cake sandwiching a thick layer of creamy frosting. The origins of the pie date to the early part of the 20th century, and have roots in either coastal Maine or in the rich baking tradition of the Pennsylvania Dutch.
Why This Recipe Works
We wanted to update the traditionally slightly fusty, lard-laced recipe. Many updated baking recipes replace lard with vegetable shortening, but in our experience, the substitution wreaks havoc on texture and flavor. Sure enough, we found butter was a far superior stand-in than shortening.
As for the flavor, adding plenty of cocoa powder and vanilla to the cake batter was all it took to recreate the traditional taste of a Whoopie pie. We found Dutch-processed cocoa guaranteed a deep, dark-colored crumb and also possessed a more intense chocolate flavor than regular cocoa powder.
Ingredients and Directions
Makes 6 pies
Don’t be tempted to bake all the cakes on one baking sheet: The batter needs room to spread.
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
½ cup (1½ ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 cup packed (7 ounces) light brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1¼ cups (5 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon salt
2½ cups marshmallow crème
1. For the cakes: Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl.
2. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add egg and beat until incorporated, then beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, scraping down bowl as needed. Give batter final stir by hand.
3. Using ⅓-cup dry measure, scoop 6 mounds of batter onto each prepared sheet, spacing mounds about 3 inches apart. Bake until cakes spring back when pressed with your fingertip, 15 to 18 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cakes cool completely on sheets.
4. For the filling: Using clean, dry mixer bowl and paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla and salt until combined. Beat in marshmallow crème until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Refrigerate filling until slightly firm, about 30 minutes. (Filling can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
5. Dollop ⅓ cup filling on center of flat side of 6 cakes. Top with flat side of remaining 6 cakes and gently press until filling spreads to edges of cakes. Serve. (Whoopie pies can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.)