The Best Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Frosting are the ideal fall mashup between cookies and cake and are sandwiched with a creamy, tangy spread.
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I’m a huge fan of individual desserts, and with a layer of cream cheese frosting sandwiched between two pumpkin cakes, pumpkin whoopie pies are the perfect sweet finale for any feast. There’s no need to save these beauties for Thanksgiving, though. (All fall long, I hear the call of these pumpkin whoopie pies with cream cheese filling!) However, they would make for a stunning addition to your Turkey Day dessert spread.
Part cookie and part cake, this recipe was inspired by my original chocolate foray into this classic dessert. While I’m all for pumpkin desserts, there’s just something about the texture of pumpkin cake that I much prefer to the classic pie. Plus, this recipe is way easier to make than having to roll out pie crust!
The miniature cakes bake up in less than 15 minutes. They’re like a light, pillowy, super-moist cake that’s still sturdy enough to be sandwiched together with your choice of filling. And while cream cheese frosting and buttercream both would be fantastic here, there’s just something about the tanginess of cream cheese frosting that pairs so perfectly with pumpkin … and pumpkin spices!
The boys absolutely devoured these, as they were the perfect size for their little hands. They also travel surprisingly well and can be packed up for potlucks or bake sales and will arrive in perfect shape.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Perfect blend of warm fall spices.
- Moist and tender cake layers.
- Sweet and tangy cream cheese filling.
- Fast. The whoopie pies bake in just 15 minutes and the whole recipe comes together in under 40 minutes!
- Straightforward and easy-to-follow recipe.
- Kid-friendly. Kiddos love these handheld whoopie pies! They make a great lunchbox treat.
- All-purpose flour: Flour gives these whoopie pies their structure. You could swap in a gluten-free flour, like Cup4Cup.
- Salt: Salt brings out other flavors, which is why you’ll still see it added to baked goods.
- Baking powder and soda: These will make sure the whoopie pies rise—preventing them from coming out too dense.
- Ground cinnamon, ginger and cloves: The spices here are basically DIY pumpkin spice! You can absolutely swap in bottled pumpkin spice, though.
- Light brown sugar: Sweet—literally! Light brown sugar adds a caramel note to the whoopie pies.
- Vegetable oil: Oil will make sure these little cookie-cakes are moist.
- Pumpkin purée: You’ll want to use 100% pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling.
- Eggs: Eggs help to bind the ingredients together.
- Vanilla extract: Vanilla goes into both the whoopie pies and frosting. Real-deal vanilla extract is preferable to imitation.
- Cream cheese: For the best flavor, use full-fat cream cheese. Room-temperature cream cheese will be easier to whip into the frosting.
- Unsalted butter: A bit of butter makes the frosting creamy and dreamy. Again, you’ll want it to be at room temperature!
- Confectioners’ sugar: Also known as powdered sugar, sifting it will ensure lump-free, super-fluffy frosting.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
- Preheat the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat.
- Mix the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and soda and spices.
- Mix the wet ingredients. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and oil. Add the pumpkin, whisk to combine, then add the eggs and vanilla and whisk again.
- Add the dry to the wet ingredients. Sprinkle portions of the flour mixture over the wet ingredients, whisking until combined between each addition until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated.
- Scoop. Using an ice cream scoop (also called a portion scoop), scoop the batter onto the baking sheets, spacing the portions 3 inches apart.
- Bake and cool. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and let cool completely.
- Make the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla for 2 minutes or until incorporated. Turn off the mixer, add half of the powdered sugar, mix, then add the other half of the sugar and beat until combined.
- Assemble. Spread the filling onto one cake half, then sandwich with another cake half. Repeat with the remaining frosting and cakes.
Pro Tip: To quickly soften cream cheese, unwrap it and place it onto a microwave-safe plate. Microwave in 10- to 15-second increments until the cream cheese easily indents when you press your finger onto it.
- Make More Filling: Double the frosting recipe above if you want to have a sufficient amount to pipe a thick layer between whoopie pies, rather than a smaller slathering.
- Opt for Neatness: While I like using an offset spatula to spread the frosting onto the cakes for a rustic look, you could also transfer the frosting into a piping bag and pipe it onto the cakes in a neat swirl.
- Rotate the Baking Sheets: If you’re finding your whoopie cakes are baking unevenly, rotate the baking sheets midway through cooking—turning them 180 degrees and switching the top to the bottom and vice versa.
To maintain the freshness of pumpkin whoopie pies with cream cheese frosting, store them in the refrigerator, as cream cheese filling is perishable. Use an airtight container or cover them with plastic wrap, and be sure not to stack them to prevent sticking. If you need to stack them, place a piece of parchment paper or wax paper between each layer. They’ll stay fresh for up to a few days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Whoopie pies can come out flat if you overmix your cake batter or if you don’t use enough leavener (like baking powder and/or soda).
They are the same thing! A gob cake is a regional term, specifically in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area.
Use a cookie scoop or a piping bag for uniform portions. Space them evenly on the baking sheet to help them bake into round shapes. Gently tap the baking sheet on the counter to level the batter.
- Pumpkin Pie Pancakes
- No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Parfaits
- Pumpkin Pie Rice Krispie Treats
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies
For the whoopie pies:
- 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 light brown sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3 cups canned pumpkin purée, chilled
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the filling:
- 1 8-oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
Make the whoopie pies:
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and oil until combined. Add the canned pumpkin purée and whisk to combine thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined.
- Sprinkle portions of the flour mixture intermittently into the pumpkin mixture, whisking in each part until well combined.
- Use an ice cream scoop to drop portions of the batter onto each of the prepared baking sheets, spacing them at least 3 inches apart.
- Bake the whoopie pies for 12 to 15 minutes until the cakes are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove the whoopie pies from the oven and let them cool completely while you make the filling.
Make the filling:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until incorporated, about 2 minutes.
- Turn off the mixture and add half of the sifted powdered sugar to the cream cheese mixture, beating to combine. Add the second half of the powdered sugar and beat until combined.
- Assemble the whoopie pies by spreading a portion of the filling onto the flat sides of half of the cakes. Top each with an unfrosted second cake to form sandwiches.
- Double the frosting recipe above if you want to have a sufficient amount to pipe a thick layer between whoopie pies, rather than a smaller slathering.
- While I like using an offset spatula to spread the frosting onto the cakes for a rustic look, you could also transfer the frosting into a piping bag and pipe it onto the cakes in a neat swirl.
- If you’re finding your whoopie cakes are baking unevenly, rotate the baking sheets midway from cooking—turning them 180 degrees and switching the top to the bottom and vice versa.
- ★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!
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Recipe adapted from Serious Eats.