I’d managed to resist the whole whoopie pie craze until now, but a bit of Christmas money and too much Amazon browsing time meant an impulse purchase of Claire Ptak’s book on the subject. I really liked the way she followed each recipe with a recommended filling recipe, but gave it all a mix-and-match feel so that, you imagine, strawberry buttercream filling could go into a chocolate whoopie if the fancy took you.
Thanks to a huge bag of carrots from the farmer’s market, I was immediately drawn to the carrot cake whoopies with orange mascarpone filling – cream cheese icing and carrot cake is a match made in heaven, as any fool could tell you. The mixture was straightforward to make (see recipe below), and I used an ice-cream scoop to dollop my 18 equally sized blobs on to the prepared baking sheets. Claire Ptak recommends a 5cm gap between scoops of mixture, but if you have the space then I’d leave a larger gap if you possibly can; I watched, powerless, as mine merged in the oven.
Once cool (cooling doesn’t take too long, as the cakes are relatively thin), you need to whizz up your filling, sandwich the cakes together and scoff them down.
Verdict: delicious, sweet, greedy, and a great way to transport a cake + icing combo around without the topping ending up smeared all over the place. No wonder the Amish take them in their lunchboxes. I don’t think there’s anything particularly cutting-edge here though – it’s just a standard cake but with the icing on the inside. I’m going to eat another one now, just to make sure.
Carrot cake whoopie pies (adapted from The Whoopie Pie Book by Claire Ptak)
Makes 9 large or 24 small whoopie pies
250g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp salt
125g unsalted butter, softened
100g caster sugar
100g light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract (use the best you can afford)
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
zest of 1 orange (or use the zest of about ¾ of an orange here and the remainder in the filling)
250g cream cheese
100g icing sugar
Zest and juice of half an orange – see note above if you abhor orange waste, like I do
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line 2 large baking sheets with baking paper.
- Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger. Stir in the salt, and set this bowl aside for now.
- In a separate large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together until the mixture is really light and fluffy. The more air you can get in at this stage, the better. Add the egg and vanilla extract, and mix well until it’s all well combined and not curdled-looking. Add the grated carrot and orange zest, and mix again. Add the bowl of dry ingredients and mix once more, until everything’s just incorporated. Refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes (transferred to a Tupperware container if you have an enormous mixing bowl and a tiny fridge).
- Put 18 scoops of the mixture 5cm apart on your prepared trays, or 48 scoops for mini whoopies. Bake in the middle of the oven for 10–12 mins (for large ones) or 8–10 (for mini ones). I had to do the baking in two batches, as I have a normal person’s oven and do not work in a school/prison canteen.
- Move them onto a cooling rack and leave until cold – actually cold, not just cool, or the filling will ooze all over the place.
- Whisk the cream cheese until smooth, then add the mascarpone and mix again. Sift in the icing sugar, and mix till smooth. Add the zest and juice of half an orange (see note above) and mix to combine.
- Spread a heaped tablespoon of filling over the flat surface of one of the cakes, then sandwich it together with another. If yours aren’t exactly uniform in size, you might need to audit your cakes first to pair them up appropriately and prevent filling overspill.
- EAT! Or store for a couple of days, layered up with greaseproof paper so they don’t stick together.