It’s time I share with you the showstopper recipe my mom and I love to make and crave along with all the people who have tried it. Whoopie pies are one of the hottest desserts right now. They’re all over TV and the Internet; everywhere you turn there are whoopie pies, and they all look utterly delicious. But most of them are chocolate with cream cheese filling, so for me they’re an allergy attack waiting to happen. A few years ago, the guys behind Baked Bakery made these pumpkin (no chocolate!) whoopie pies on The Martha Stewart Show, and I knew I had to give them a try, sans their cream cheese filling.
I’ve made these a few times now, and they always turn out magnificent. They are my Mom’s favorite of everything we’ve made; I love them, but I love so many things that I can’t bring myself to choose a favorite.
I use fresh pumpkin in all of my pumpkin recipes; these are no exception. Canned pumpkin may work, but it may not; I honestly have no idea. Pumpkins are really easy to roast and puree, though I don’t like to make the pumpkins, cakes, and filling all in one day.
These could be considered to be a lot of work; however, they are well worth it. I can’t say I know what any bakery whoopie pie tastes like, but I can’t imagine it being much better than this. The cakes are soft and moist, thanks in large part to the use of vegetable oil. The thinner edges don’t dry out and the thick cakey middles aren’t underdone. The flavor is fantastic with both the pumpkin and the spices shining; I was slightly worried about this with the large quantity of spices, but they are harmonious. They will keep up to three days at room temperature, but they also freeze well. I like to thaw them wrapped in parchment in a 350 degree F oven for about 15 minutes for a quick breakfast. Yes, cake for breakfast.
And then there’s the filling. It’s basically a seven minute frosting, which is probably my favorite frosting because it’s sweet, light, and fluffy, and I can eat a lot of it without feeling weighed down or guilty. It’s a great go-to frosting to have in your repertoire for cakes, cupcakes, cookies, even a muffin that needs a little something extra. Easy to make, though a candy thermometer and stand mixer are necessary, it tastes like marshmallow fluff but better. Way better. I added vanilla bean and pure vanilla extract to up the flavor, though cinnamon would also complement the cakes nicely. One thing to remember about this frosting is while it will hold up in the refrigerator for about three days when a piece of plastic is placed directly on top of it to prevent a skin from forming, it will not freeze well. When refrigerated, I stir it thoroughly to make sure it hasn’t started to break; if it has, stirring it brings it right back together. Because the eggs aren’t really cooked, though they will get very hot from the sugar syrup, this is one of the times I would highly recommend seeking out pasteurized shell eggs; pasteurized liquid egg whites may also work, but I am not sure of the conversion from whole egg whites.
These whoopie pies are also very messy. There’s simply no way around it. The cake is soft, sometimes falling apart as the filling sinks in, and the filling oozes out in all directions (I often like to serve extra filling on the side for added deliciousness). They are meant to be eaten with your hands, and getting messy is part of the fun of this recipe, the best way to savor your hard work. The next time you have a few hours on your hands, you should seriously check out this recipe. Even though they’re huge, I dare you to just eat one.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground cloves
- 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3 cups pumpkin puree, chilled
- 2 large eggs (pasteurized if you like)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- ⅔ cup water
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 6 large pasteurized egg whites, room temperature
- ¾ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ vanilla bean
- Make the cakes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line three baking sheets with parchment (if you have to bake in batches, that is okay).
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. In a large bowl, mix the brown sugar and oil until combined. Then add the pumpkin puree, followed by the eggs and vanilla, mixing to combine after each addition. The mixture will be quite liquid. While stirring, slowly add the flour and mix until fully incorporated.
- Using a regular sized ice cream scoop, scoop the batter onto the prepared cookie sheets. Six cakes should fit onto each pan, three rows of two. Divide any remaining batter among the cakes. Bake for about 13-15 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean (a couple of crumbs are fine), rotating halfway through if necessary. Cool cakes completely on pan.
- Make the filling. Combine 1 ½ cup sugar, water, and corn syrup in a small saucepan with a candy thermometer clipped to the side. Bring to a boil over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Once the sugar is dissolved, do not stir the mixture, but continue boiling until it reaches 230 degrees F on the candy thermometer.
- Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium high speed until frothy. Add cream of tartar, stopping to scrape down bowl if necessary. Beat until soft peaks have formed, then add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Beat until stiff peaks have formed and egg whites are glossy and voluminous.
- When the egg whites are ready and the syrup has reached 230 degrees F, remove the syrup from the heat, turn the mixer down to medium low speed, and immediately and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the bowl. If the syrup is collecting on the sides of the bowl, turn the mixer down a little. Once all of the syrup has been incorporated, beat the mixture on medium high speed until the bottom of the bowl is cool to the touch and the frosting is fluffy and glossy (not dry), about 7 minutes. Add vanilla and scrapings from half a vanilla bean. Beat just to combine. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator covered with plastic for up to 3 days.
- Assemble the whoopie pies. Take one cake and dollop a generous portion (about ½ cup) of filling in the middle of the cake. Take another cake and place it on top without pressing down to prevent all the filling from coming out. Serve immediately with extra filling on the side for dipping.
- The cakes may be frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil, placed in a zipper bag for up to six months. Thaw at room temperature or wrapped in parchment in a 350 degree F oven for about 15 minutes. The filling and whole whoopie pies with filling may not be frozen.