Classic Whoopie Pies

Strange name, delicious results. I had been meaning to make these for some time now, because I knew they would be something Taylor would thoroughly enjoy (Taylor is more of a cake guy than a cookie guy). I was right. Both him and our Swiss-cake-roll-loving neighbor devoured them. All of them. According to Taylor, they taste exactly like Swiss Cake rolls, chemicals and all, except they are made without the chemicals, and that is truly awesome (his words, not mine). I think that makes these a success…?

The beauty in these treats (which, I cannot decide whether to categorize as cake or cookie, so I did both), is their texture. It’s a cake in the shape of a cookie, filled with a light and fluffy marshmallow filling that is as messy as it is delicious. They are sure to produce a smile, if only for the silly name (“These are delicious! What are they?” “Whoopie Pies!” “Whoopie WHAT?!”) I don’t know where the name came from, but I assume the genius that invented them took one bite and couldn’t help but yell, “Whoopie!” If Taylor was the type to burst out in exclamations I’m sure he would have said just that.

I know there are some claiming that whoopie pies are the new cupcake. My take? Cupcakes are not a trend. That’s like calling chocolate chip cookies a “trend”. Whoopie pies are delicious, yes, but they are no cupcake. Nor will they be replacing cupcakes anytime soon.

Classic Whoopie Pies

Makes 8 large whoopie pies (about 4"), or 16 smaller (2") pies.
Adapted from King Arthur Flour.

Ingredients:

Cakes:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk

Filling
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar or glazing sugar
1 1/3 cups Marshmallow Fluff or marshmallow creme
1/4 teaspoon salt dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

To make the cakes: In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and vanilla till smooth. Add the egg, again beating till smooth. Add the cocoa, stirring to combine.

Add the flour to the batter alternately with the milk, beating till smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and beat again briefly to soften and combine any chunky scrapings.

Drop the dough by the 1/4-cupful onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving plenty of room between the cakes; they'll spread. A muffin scoop works well here. For smaller cakes, use a cookie scoop.

Bake the cakes for 15 to 16 minutes, till they're set and firm to the touch. Remove them from the oven, and cool on the pans. While still lukewarm, use a spatula to separate them from the pan or parchment; then allow to cool completely.

To make the filling: Beat together the butter, shortening, sugar, and marshmallow till well combined.

Dissolve the salt in the water, and add to the marshmallow mixture. Add the vanilla, and beat till smooth.

Spread the flat side of half the cakes with the filling. Top with the remaining cakes, flat side towards the filling. Wrap individually, in plastic wrap, till ready to serve.