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Tuesday 4 October 2011

Sluttishly Sweet: Whoopie Pies

You remember whoopie pies, the mini cakelets we all went mad for last year? Two soft cakes sandwiched together with butter icing, they give you the best bits of the cake - no wading through mountains of icing to finally find the soft sponge with these.

I had assumed these delicious morsels were impossible to replicate at home without a special tray to make the shallow cakes, but then I learned that simply dolloping some cake mix on a baking tray does the job fine. You won't get perfect circles, but part of the fun is hunting through for two similar sized cakes to pair up.

I've included the cat for reasons of scale (also, he's a nosy bugger who likes to get involved in everything). You can eat these cakes in two bites. Experiment with different flavours for the cake and fillings - vanilla, chocolate, mint, coffee - whatever you fancy. Here, ginger and lemon makes for a fresh, zingy taste.

Whoopie pies (makes 10)

You will need:

For the sponge:
  • 1 egg
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 75g unsalted butter, melted
  • 125ml soured cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • Zest of a lemon
For the filling:
  • 150g unsalted butter, softened
  • 280g icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
Make it!
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and ginger, add the lemon zest, and set aside.
  3. Whisk together the egg and sugar in a separate bowl until fluffy and light. If you've got an electric mixer, this takes about 5 minutes. If you don't, be prepared to work your arm muscles.
  4. Whisk in the melted butter, soured cream and vanilla essence. Gradually fold in the flour mixture, half at a time, until fully combined. Pop in the fridge for 20 minutes to help the mixture firm up and hold its shape while cooking.
  5. Drop a heaped tablespoon or ice-cream scoop of mixture on the tray. Repeat until you have 10 blobs of mixture on each tray, evenly spaced.
  6. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden and springy. Leave to cool on a baking tray.
  7. To make the filling, beat the butter in a large bowl until soft. Tip in the vanilla essence and gradually beat in the icing sugar until creamy. Leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  8. To make the whoopie pies, spread a heaped tablespoon of the buttercream on one cake and sandwich another on top. They'll keep for a few days, assuming you don't wolf them down in one sitting.


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