The Whoopie Pie. I hope you can hear my deeply sceptical voice. Because honestly, who would give a cake such a ridiculous name?
There is some debate online about where it originated, maybe Pennsylvania, maybe New England (can you tell I don’t know the difference?). There was something about them being an Amish delicacy, but there was lots of claim and counter-claim and I got a bit bored.
One account said that the name was given to them because when schoolchildren found them in their lunch box, they exclaimed ‘Whoopie!’
And then presumably they counter-exclaimed ‘Pie!’ (Even though they look nothing like pies).
And then – and then – some bright spark yelled out, ‘I know! Let’s call them Whoopie Pies!’ and everyone whooped and high-fived everyone else and triumphal, patriotic music welled up and all the action went slo-mo and thus a tradition was born.
Actually, it sounds quite plausible doesn’t it?
You know, despite my sceptical voice and my disparaging tone (you picked up on that, right?) I do love the concept of the Whoopie! Pie. It is in fact, a cake sandwich. And whoever came up with that idea, well they deserve an OBE for Services Rendered to the World of Gluttony.
I salute whichever American – Amish or not – created this confection because us staid and sensible (boring? unadventurous?) Brits would never have allowed a cake sandwich. I can hear my dear Mother’s voice, ‘A Cake sandwich? Absolute rubbish!’
She’s right of course. But now that I’ve crossed over to the dark side and tasted cake sandwich, well, I’m happy to sell my soul to the devilish whoopie pie.
I’ll say it again, A. Cake. Sandwich.
Whoopie Pies (makes about 8 whoopie pies)
These probably taste nothing like Whoopie Pies from across the pond, but they are just gorgeous. A cake sandwich people! A Cake sandwich! I've tried to reduce the refined sugar because, well, we're supposed to eat less sugar aren't we?
130g dairy free margarine
175g rice syrup or Agave syrup/nectar (but - whisper - you could use sugar)
60g cocoa powder
50g dairy free dark chocolate or couverture (you could omit this and use an extra 20g cocoa powder)
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Gluten free version:
125g brown rice flour
50g potato flour (or corn starch)
1 heaped tbsp ground linseeds / flax seeds
¾ tsp xanthan gum
With wheat flour:
Use 175g wheat flour instead of gluten free flour (keep the linseeds / flax seeds)
Omit the ¾ tsp xanthan gum
1 egg (beaten)
or an egg replacing mix of:
1 heaped tsp of Orgran 'No egg' Egg Replacer
2 heaped tbsps ground linseeds
a pinch of xanthan gum
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp of vegetable oil
6 tbsps rice milk
50-100ml of rice milk / cows' milk
For the filling: (I made this up as I went along, the following is a guide...)
150g dairy free margarine
Yellow paste food colouring (not the liquid stuff, bleurgh)
170g icing sugar (you can also sweeten with agave syrup, although it makes the icing a lot softer)
1-2 tbps lemon juice (add gradually according to taste)
½ tsp of cream of tartar
- Heat the oven to 170˚ Celsius. Line a large baking tray with baking parchment
- If using the egg replacing mix, put all the ingredients into a bowl and whisk with a mini whisk until all the lumps have gone. Set aside
- Put the dairy free margarine and rice/agave syrup into a large saucepan and melt gently over a low heat
- Add the chocolate/couverture and stir until melted. Add the cocoa powder and stir
- Add either the egg (beaten) or the egg replacing mix and stir
- Add the flour (gluten free or wheat), xanthan gum (GF version), ground linseeds, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder and stir
- Add the rice milk gradually. You may need to add extra if the mixture seems very thick. But you need to be able to scoop it out with an ice cream scoop so it mustn't be too runny
- Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out an even number of scoops (am I really saying 'scoop' over and over?) onto the baking tray to make the tops and bottoms of the whoopie pies
- I've written scoop so often now, it seems a really weird word
- Place the baking sheet with the scoops (there it is again!) into the oven and bake for 7-12 minutes until they are risen and springy to the touch
- Remove and leave to cool on a wire rack
- Prepare the filling. Beat the dairy free margarine with the food colouring until soft and yellow and add the sieved icing sugar. Beat again until smooth. Taste it, horribly sweet? Add lemon juice. Not sweet enough? Add more sugar. You are aiming for a sweet but tart filling with a lovely fatty in-the-mouth feel. Yum!
- When the pies are cool, sandwich them together with the filling. Add sprinkles if you wish, or just leave plain
- Take them on the school run but do not give to your children unless they shriek Whoopie!
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