Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Caramel Cream Cheese Filling

I've been looking forward to these whoopie pies since August when I planned out my fall baking schedule.

Yes, I made a schedule. Yes, in August. Have we met?

Unfortunately, the universe sensed how excited I was about caramel cream cheese frosting sandwiched between pumpkin cake-cookies and decided to invoke that every-action-equal-opposite-reaction thing by completely ruining them, thereby sending me into a spiral of disappointment and self-loathing equal to my initial level of excitement.

Abridged version? The universe ruined my whoopie pies, and my will to live is waning.

How did I (the universe) ruin them? I underbaked them. Major.

The tester came out clean, the tops sprang back when pressed gently, and everything seemed to be in order when I was assembling them. But as soon as I took a bite, my pumpkin whoopie pie dreams were shattered.

Some things are kind of delicious when they're slightly underbaked (hello, brownies. hello, cookies), but cake is not one of those things. Not to mention that "slightly" doesn't really apply in this case.

Q: Which of the following disturbs you most?
I. I still ate an entire whoopie pie. Plus a few extra bites "just to see if they were really under baked." Sound familiar
II. As I was throwing them away ( / crying and cursing the universe), Charlie snatched one out of my hand and devoured it in approximately 3 seconds. Apparently, pumpkin whoopie pies are bulldog-approved. 
III. Despite my complete failure, I still decided to blog about these and highly recommend that you make them. 
Please select your answer from the following choices: 
A. I only
B. II only
C. I & II only
D. I & III only
E. I, II & III
F. None of the above
Anyone else having a terrifying flashback to reading this kind of question on a standardized test and wondering why WTF isn't listed as an option?

No? Just me again?

I don't want to sound all "those grapes were probably sour anyway", but I've decided that I don't really like whoopie pies. The cake-to-frosting ratio is all wrong. Double cake? Ehh. Double frosting? YES.

If you disagree, then you've obviously never had caramel cream cheese frosting.
You should really do something about that.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Caramel Cream Cheese Filling
Adapted from Martha Stewart

For the whoopie pies:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon ginger
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon cloves
2 cups brown sugar, pakced
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the caramel cream cheese filling:

3/4 cup butter
1 cup cream cheese
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
6 cups powdered sugar
caramel ice cream topping


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. In a separate large bowl, stir together the brown sugar and oil until completely combined . Add the pumpkin puree, followed by the eggs and vanilla, mixing well after each ingredient is added.

3. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients, and stir until the dry ingredients are totally incorporated.

4. Using an ice cream or cookie scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets about one inch apart. I used a 1/4-cup scoop and ended up with 24 cakes, which made 12 large whoopie pies. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops begin to crack and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Cool the cakes completely on the pans.

5. While the cakes are baking, make the filling. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese at medium-high speed for about two minutes. Add the vanilla and beat one minute more. Reduce the speed to stir and add the powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time. Once the sugar is completely incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and beat for about two minutes.

6. Assemble the whoopie pies:

Prepare your decorating bag. You can either use a disposable pastry bag or a gallon-size plastic storage bag. After fitting your decorating bag with a large round piping tip, use a small spatula to paint stripes on the inside of the bag with the caramel ice cream topping. Next, fill the bag with the cream cheese frosting. Squeeze the frosting out into a small bowl until you begin to see the stripes of caramel in the frosting.

Match up the cooled cakes according to size and shape. Pipe 2-3 tablespoons of frosting onto one cake in each pair. Top the frosted cakes with the unfrosted cakes and press down gently. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.

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