Whoopie!

Pumpkin is our ingredient of the season. We’re a big fan of pumpkin desserts (cookies, and popsicles, anyone?), but we also like our pumpkin in the form of brews and stew too!

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Ok, I know that our posts’ titles should directly identify their topic, but “failed pumpkin whoopie pies become kicka$$ pumpkin muffin tops with cream cheese frosting” seemed a bit too long. And now I’ve just given away the whole arch of this post, but really, the end result is so delicious that you’ll want to read through to the end and the bake a batch of these treats.

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If you’ve never had a whoopie pie, they are a dessert made with two small round cakes sandwiched together with frosting. The most common whoopie pies use a chocolate cake, but the pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting is fairly common, especially in the fall. Growing up in PA, we always considered whoopie pies to be an Amish tradition. You can often find them at Amish farm stands and markets; if you’re in the Philly area, there’s an Amish stand in Reading Terminal Market that sells them. But apparently there’s some debate as to the whoopie pie’s origins, as parts of New England also claim them as their own.

Now that we’re in Colorado, I haven’t seen them around, which is unfortunate, because every fall I get a craving for pumpkin whoopie pies. I used the recipe from this book. The book’s concept is fantastic, it has dozens of recipes for cakes and fillings, allowing you to mix and match all sorts of flavor combos. I kept it traditional with the basic pumpkin whoopie and a cream cheese frosting, but I considered the marshmallow, maple, and maple bacon fillings (those are three separate options).

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The problem with this project was that the cakes were just too big high and dense. I don’t mind a big whoopie pie; it would have been ok if they had spread and were really wide, but they were so high that there was no way to bite into the finished whoopie pie. Plus, they really did have more of a hearty muffin texture than a crumbly cake texture. I frosted the tops of each cake and called it a day. No one complained… but I’m still on the hunt for a pumpkin whoopie pie!

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At first I thought that maybe cooking these at a high altitude was the problem, but I’ve done plenty of baking here, and I don’t think that was it. After reading a few more pumpkin whoopie recipes online, I noticed a few differences between the recipe I used and others. So, with my craving still holding steady, I’m definitely going to give this another go. Other recipes call for oil and a slightly higher fat to flour ratio than the butter and flour combo in the recipe below. I do think that will make for a thinner batter that spreads a bit more. I’m hoping it’ll also contribute to a more cake-like texture. And while I’m at it, I’ll experiment with another filling. Bacon maple?

The cake recipe written below comes directly from the Whoopie Pies cookbook. It is truly delicious, and created something that was a dead ringer for a pumpkin muffin top. The cream cheese filling/frosting is based off of the one from the cookbook, but I used a lot less sugar (and it was still plenty sweet).

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I probably should have asked this at the beginning of the post, but do any of you have a favorite pumpkin whoopie pie recipe? I’m on the hunt!

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