I’ve not tried to make them before for two reasons: firstly I thought it would be too tricky, and secondly because M&S have been selling delicious whoopie pies so I just bought those instead. But they seem to have stopped selling them now (does this mean the trend failed to catch on in the UK?), and so I had no option but to bake my own.
I must confess from the outset that these are not as genuine as they look: the recipe for the filling called for Marshmallow Fluff, and I failed to find any near me. Another recipe I found said you could use marshmallows and melt them, but I tried to keep this recipe strictly vegetarian, and so instead of the marshmallow filling, it’s simply a very well-whipped vanilla buttercream. I have since found somewhere that stocks the Fluff, so next time I head into the city I’m going to buy some and try the recipe again. I’ve included recipes for both filling options below.
Another thing I learned from this process is that there is something my Dyson will not pick up: those little coloured sugar balls I’ve used as decoration. A whole load of them skidded across the floor while I was baking, and in the end I just had to crawl around picking the pesky little things up with my bare hands. Lesson learned: don’t spill them next time.
If you’ve been looking for an English recipe for whoopie pies, you might have struggled a bit – most of the ones I’ve seen are resolutely American, and call for sticks of butter and amounts of shortening, which immediately has my eyes glazing over in bewilderment. This recipe came from a copy of Sainsbury’s magazine, and so is as English as it gets.
Vanilla whoopie pies
- 75g unsalted butter
- 1 large egg
- 150g caster sugar
- 125g sour cream
- 25ml milk
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 275g plain flour
Line a large baking tray with nonstick baking paper and preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4.
Melt the butter and set aside. Using an electric hand mixer, whisk the egg until light and fluffly. Beat in the sugar, a third at a time, until thick and glossy.
Beat in the melted butter, soured cream, milk and vanilla. Sift the bicarbonate of soda and flour into the bowl and beat until smooth. Using a wide piping nozzle or spoon, pipe or spoon the mixture on to the tray in small walnut-sized balls, 3-4cm apart. You’ll need to bake in batches.
Bake for 13-14 minutes until amost evenly golden on top. Leave to cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
Marshmallow cream filling (using marshmallows)
- 100g white marshmallows
- 50ml milk
- 125g very soft unsalted butter
Heat the marshmallows and milk in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring until smooth, then cool. Beat the butter until creamy and soft then gradually beat into the marshmallow until smooth.
Sandwich two whoopie cakes together with the marshmallow cream.
Marshmallow Fluff filling (from MarthaStewart.com)
This recipe’s American, and so uses cups and sticks and all kinds of other things that don’t translate so well to a British kitchen… As far as I can tell, a stick of butter is 125g.
- 1 cup / 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar)
- 1 jar (7 1/2 ounces) Marshmallow Fluff
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add Fluff and vanilla and continue mixing until well combined.