I’ve been a bit remiss on the blog lately. Ok, very remiss. I’ve been doing a bit of baking but taking photos has been a bit beyond me, and I feel bad posting just words. Feel free to tell me otherwise.
I’ve been thinking about making whoopie pies for a while. While researching chocolate cupcake recipes for Project Wedding, I kept coming across whoopie pie recipes. And Pinterest is full of pictures of them. Anyway, whoopie pies are the new cupcake. They’re easier to eat, no fussing around with wrappers, and you don’t get left with that annoying bit on the bottom which has no icing left. (Can I convince you T??) Some stories say they were designed to use up leftover cake batter and icing. They’re supposed to be a bit like a cross between a cookie and a cake. The original versions I’ve seen are chocolate with fluffy vanilla icing, a bit like an Oreo.
I decided to make chocolate cakes, but with a chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream instead. This gives a nice creamy taste but without the extra sweetness you’d get from other frosting recipes. I used a recipe from Smitten Kitchen for the buttercream, adapted a little to reduce the amount of butter. I think the butter here in NZ has a stronger taste and I like the flavour and texture of this recipe with less of it.
Chocolate Whoopie Cakes
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes 2 dozen finished sandwiched cakes (24 individual cookie/cakes)
1 3/4 cups plain flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
113g butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 tablespoon lemon juice made up to 1 cup milk and left for 5 mins)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line baking trays with baking paper.
Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Beat butter and sugar on a medium speed until fluffy. Add egg and beat until combined, then add vanilla. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk, either beating on a low speed or folding in with a spoon.
Use a cookie scoop to scoop the batter onto the lined trays, and bake for about 12 mins until middles are set to the touch. Cool on a cooling rack.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
250g butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
150g dark chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature
Heat egg whites and sugar over a pot of simmering water, whisking gently until it reaches 160degrees Fahrenheit. Beat using a whisk attachment on medium speed for 3 minutes, then beat at a high speed for another 7-10 minutes until the bowl is cool to the touch. Add vanilla. Switch to a paddle beater and slowly add the butter piece by piece, waiting until each piece is incorporated before adding the next. The meringue will deflate slightly and will possible stay a bit runny until most of the butter has been added. If the mixture looks like it’s curdling, just keep beating beating beating. Trust me. I was nearly in tears an hour before my birthday party this year, because the caramel icing I was making curdled. I just left it on the mixer, still beating and it miraculously came back together by the time I’d done my hair. Once all the butter has been incorporated, slowly add the cooled melted chocolate and beat until combined.
If you are still having problems, the hints from Smitten Kitchen and also this one from Sweetapolita are genius
This should be enough to sandwich all the cakes together. Use a piping bag and be generous with the filling.
Store the filled cakes in the fridge if you need to, but leave out for a few hours before serving to soften the icing, otherwise it might feel like you are eating solid butter.
I’m still in search for the perfect cupcake recipe, and the wedding is coming up fast. At least I know I’ve mastered the Buttercream though!!!