Sounds like “cookie,” tastes like cake. But no matter what you call them, whoopie pies are all the rage. Last week the New York Times ran an article about the buttery, cake-like dessert, which first appeared in Maine and Pennsylvania’s Amish country as early as 1927. The hockey puck-sized desserts are now migrating into bakeries and dessert shops across the country. New York Times business correspondent Micheline Maynard wrote about the increasing popularity of this New England classic that “even cracked the lineup at Magnolia Bakery in Manhattan.” I’m using my favorite sour cream-based batter for the cakes and the Times’ recipe for the buttercream. Sour cream cake, buttercream filling. We’re bringing whoopie back … and I have a feeling it’s here to stay.
For the cakes:
- 1 package chocolate cake mix
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the buttercream:
- 3 large egg whites
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 2 sticks butter, at room temp
- 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a stand mixer, combine the cake mix, sour cream, oil, water, sugar, eggs and vanilla.
- Blend the ingredients together on low speed for one minute.
- Using an ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop out 24 mounds of the batter onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the tops spring back when touched. Remove and let cool completely.
- Next, prepare the buttercream by bringing a large pot with an inch or two of water to a boil over high heat.
- Combine the egg whites and sugar in a smaller pot and place it over the larger pot of boiling water. Whisk the ingredients together just until the sugar is dissolved and the temperature reaches 180ºF on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer the mixture immediately to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Beat the dissolved sugar mixture on high speed until it doubles in volume and becomes thick and shiny. Continue to whisk until cool.
- Reduce speed to medium and add butter, roughly 1 Tablespoon at a time, until it is all incorporated.
- Add the vanilla and salt (if mixture looks curdled, continue to whisk until smooth).
- Increase the speed to high and whisk for 1 more minute.
- Assemble the whoopie pies by spreading a portion of the buttercream onto the flat sides of twelve of the cakes. Top with a non-filled second cake to form sandwiches. Enjoy them plain or rolled in sprinkles or nuts.
- If the buttercream is too thin, pop it in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes to thicken it.
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