Happy Easter, to those of you who celebrate it! Easter is one of my family’s favorite holidays, although we’re not very religious. We use Easter more as a celebration of spring and cute animals than its religious purposes. We also use Easter as an excuse to bake a carrot cake. Up until last year, my mother always made the carrot cake in a cake pan that is in the shape of a rabbit’s head. But then last spring, my mom found the cookbook, Whoopie Pies, by Sarah Billingsley and Any Treadwell and decided to make carrot cake whoopie pies.
A whoopie pie is like a cake sandwich, with the frosting in the middle. There is some debate about the origin of the whoopie pie, but from what Whoopie Pies told me, they’re a big deal up in Pennsylvania and Maine. I think that whoopie pies are a great invention because you get the frosting and cake all in one big, satisfying bite, and they’re just so damn cute! These pies are shown on my brand new cake plate! Isn’t it sweet?
This year, I offered to make the whoopie pies. I started by grating two medium-sized carrots into my handy-dandy grater.
I bought this thing at IKEA last year, in my ‘I’m moving into my first apartment!’ spree. It has proved itself more than useful. I love to use it because it’s so convenient! All I have do is grate the ingredient across the top, and it catches in the bottom, like so:
After that, I sifted flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg together in a bowl. The recipe says to put all of the dry ingredients onto a sheet of parchment paper, but it doesn’t actually matter, you mix it all in anyway.
Then I creamed butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in my mixer.
Then I added 2 eggs and a teaspoon of vanilla and mixed that together. The flour mixture and the grated carrots came next, and I mixed them together until they combined. At this point, the batter was very, very thick and I was a little nervous. I didn’t want people chewing on a hockey puck of carrot cake!
I let that chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour, and then scooped the dough into my mother’s whoopie pie pan.
This pan has little cups for you to put the dough in, and it’s supposed to bake them in the correct shape and size. I couldn’t tell exactly how much dough I was supposed to put inside each cup. I baked these in the 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. When I pulled them out and put them on the cooling rack however, I noticed that I ended up with what looked like really short muffins, because the cakes puffed up and over the sides of each cup. Forgive me for not taking a picture of what they looked like originally to show you what I mean!
I started on the cream cheese frosting next. It’s a superbly simple recipe! You mix butter and cream cheese together in a mixer, and then you add powdered sugar and vanilla extract to it! How simple is that?
After my whoopie pies cooled, I sawed off the bottoms that made them like short muffins and plopped the cream cheese frosting in the center. I spread the frosting around with a knife and put the other whoopie cake on top. I was actually able to make a few more whoopie pies from the parts that I had sawed off.
No, the cakes didn’t turn out like carrot cake hockey pucks, I was pretty proud of myself. They had a very nice texture, and when you think about, you realize that if whoopie pies weren’t a little more dense than regular cakes, they wouldn’t be able to stay in one piece! These carrot cake whoopie pies were full of different flavors with the sharp nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger in the cake, and the super sweet and creamy frosting. Everyone at the Easter dinner table was very happy. The Whoopie Pie cookbook has dozens of different flavors of cakes and frosting to mix around and experiment with, so I’m very excited for my next whoopie pie endeavor.
Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 medium carrots, grated
Preheat the oven to 50 degrees (I actually waited until I put the dough into the refrigerator to preheat the oven, so that I wouldn’t just have the oven on while nothing is in it).Sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars together until light and creamy. Add eggs and vanilla extract and stir until combined. Add sifted, dry ingredients. Mix until combined. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.
Then, drop 2 tablespoons of batter onto a prepared baking sheet (or, in my case, whoopie pie pan), spacing them 2 inches apart. Bake for about 20 minutes.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and butter together. Add sugar and mix until combined. Add vanilla and mix until combined.
Slap your whoopie pies together and enjoy them!