Mr Cupcake asked the interwebs about them and then informed me that whoopie pies are the 'State Treat' of Maine, USA - not to be confused with the official Maine State Dessert which is apparently blueberry pie. I love that someone in Maine wanted to give State status to both a dessert AND a treat.
These whoopie pies are a red velvet mixture with a mascarpone and cream cheese filling flavoured with cassis liqueur and studded with cherries soaked in cassis, and a dark chocolate topping. They are very rich and decadent (those guys in Maine must be on the chubby side).
|Disaster 1 - the baking tray batch|
I read that I could cook them by piping circles of cake batter onto baking trays, or using whoopie pie tins, which are like cupcake tins, but the holes are larger and much flatter (cookie shaped rather than cake shaped). As I didn't have any whoopie pie tins I decided to make two batches, the first piping circles onto flat trays, the second using a cupcake tin but only filling the holes a quarter full - I reasoned I would get small whoopie pies that way, and larger ones on the tray.
|Disaster 2: the cupcake tin batch|
Except. Except I didn't. I got a tray full of completely joined-up batter about a centimetre thick (which I tried to turn into a swiss roll, but even that didn't work) and about 8 full size cupcakes - they rose and rose, the little buggers.
|So-called 'muffin top' tins|
Now, I was pretty happy with the way this picture turned out - they look so luscious and glossy and all - but I have a confession to make. These were a bit TOO RICH for Dr Cupcake! Yes indeed. There was an awful lot of filling in proportion to the cakey part, and the filling was pure dairy goodness - so much of it that I felt like I was becoming more lactose intolerant with every mouthful. I think next time a whipped cream filling, moderate in quantity, could work as it would be a lot lighter.
Recipe for cake batter:
125g unsalted butter or margarine (apparently they are traditionally made with vegetable shortening)
200g caster sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
300g self raising flour
20g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
250ml buttermilk (or plain yoghurt)
2 tsp red food colouring
100ml hot (not boiling) water
Set oven to 180C (350F) and grease and flour the tins. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and well combined. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat again. Sift all the dry ingredients in and mix again, then add the buttermilk, colouring and the hot water. You should end up with a sloppy but not liquid mixture which can be spooned (messily) into the pans. Let the mixture sit in the pans for 10 minutes, then pop into the over for 10-12 minutes. When you take them from the oven, run a metal spatula carefully around the edges to release the pies and cool them on a rack before filling and icing them.
Keep in a sealed container in the fridge - these are best eaten the same day but can keep for several days, depending on the filling.