America: Whoopie Pies

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From Gabrielle Langholtz’ book ‘America – A Culinary Road Trip Through the 50 States’ which is published by Phaidon and is destined to become a classic. ‘This cake-like chocolate sandwich cookie started showing up in bakeries and lunchboxes in the 1920s,’ says Gabrielle ‘and both Maine and Pennsylvania claim it as their own. It gets its name from the reception it gets when it is served. A whoopie pie can be as big as a hamburger. Serve with a glass of cold milk.’

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Makes: 8-9 large whoopie pies


For the cakes:

2 cups (260g) all-purpose (plain) flour
½ cup (40g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick (115g) butter or ½ cup (115g) solid vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1 cup (190g) packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup (240ml) buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the filling:
1 stick (115g) butter or ½ cup (115g) solid vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1 cup (120g) powdered (icing) sugar
2 cups (190g) marshmallow cream, such as Marshmallow Fluff
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350°F (180°C/Gas Mark 4). Lightly grease two baking sheets or line with parchment paper.

2. For the cakes: In a medium bowl, sift the our, cocoa powder, baking soda (bicarbonate of soda), baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and u y. Reduce the speed and beat in the egg. On very low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the our. Beat in the vanilla.

3. Drop ¼ cup (60 ml) batter 2 inches (5 cm) apart on the baking sheets. Bake until the top springs back when lightly touched, 15–20 minutes, switching racks halfway through. Transfer the cakes to wire racks to cool.

4. Meanwhile, for the filling: In a bowl, with an electric mixer, whisk the butter with the powdered (icing) sugar until smooth. Beat in the u and vanilla.

5. To fill the cakes, turn half the cakes upside down (flat side up) and spread with the filling. Top with the remaining cakes.

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