Apparently, whoopie pies are now trendy the way eccentric cupcakes were last year and boring cupcakes were the year before. I know this, not because I am myself trendy in any way, but because the 'New York Times' did a huge spread on this tasty cake last week. In true NYC fashion, this profile offered a gentle pat on the forward-thinking backs of its cutting edge New Yorkers for executing yet another culinary triumph. Never mind that folks in Maine (not to mention the Amish) have never stopped eating this since they started, like, a century ago. If whoopie pies are back in style, someone should probably let Mainers know that they went out in the first place.
I happen to think that the brilliance of this treat is in its similarity to that other genius creation, the sandwich. It's all the glories of a piece of cake, but with the messy bits tucked carefully into a neat, portable exterior. No fork. No wrapper. No glamour. Just a pie you can easily eat with one had while steering your horse and buggy with the other.
(c/o The New York Times--my recipe makes 2 sizable pies)
For the Cake:
2 Tbsp butter, room temp
1/4 Cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp egg substitute (or 1/4 beaten egg)
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cocoa
1/4 cup buttermilk (or 3 T yogurt + 1 T milk)
1/2 Tbsp veg oil
For the Filling
1 Egg white
5 Tbsp butter, room temp
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
To prepare the cakes:
- Preheat oven to 350º. Beat butter and sugar till fluffy. Add egg and nilla. Beat some more.
- Combine all dry ingredients (flour through cocoa) in a small bowl. Pour oil into buttermilk. Then, beginning with the flour mixture, add alternately with the buttermilk to the batter (flour - b'milk - flour - b'milk - flour) until it's all incorporated.
- On a parchment lined baking sheet, scoop out four, 1/4-cup sized scoops. Bake 12-14 minutes, or until cakes spring back when pressed lightly. Cool on a rack.
Now, the filling:
- In a double boiler or a bowl set over simmering water, whisk together the egg and sugar, vigorously, until sugar is dissolved and mixture reaches 180º. (Confession: I don't think I got up to 180, I just sort of guestimated and it came out fine.)
- Transfer to a mixing bowl and beat on high speed (with whisk attachment if you have that option) for a good long while, until doubled in volume, thick, and shiny. Reduce speed and add butter 1 Tbsp at a time.
- Finish with vanilla and salt, then hit the beaters up to high again for one minute. You should have a nice, stiff cream.
- Split between 2 cookies and sandwich them to make pies!