Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Thanksgiving Mini-Series: Pumpkin (Whoopie) Pies

This is the second post in the What Kate Baked mini-series that is Thanksgiving Bakes.

I wanted to bake an alternative to the ubiquitous Thanksgiving dessert, the Pumpkin Pie. The Pumpkin Whoopie Pie sprung to mind.

Stright from the States, the Whoopie Pie is one of the recent trends in baking. A sweet tasty treat that is best described as the result of an amorous coupling between a cookie and a cake. A guilty secret that the cookie struggles to talk about and the cake is deeply ashamed about.

As for the origin of this most delectable delight, well, are you sitting comfortably? Then we shall begin.

Once upon a time (said in best posh Jackanory voice), legend has it that Amish mothers in Pennsylvania would pop a spoonful or two of leftover cake batter in the oven, and sandwich together the resulting sponges with icing. Easily transportable, very yummy, their families would yell 'whoopie' with pleasure upon opening their packed lunches to find the pies.

However, there is controversy about this story (now that never happened in Jackanory). According to the Wall Street Journal two other states lay claim to the Whoopie. I reckon a Whoopie Pie-Off is required.

Meanwhile over this isde of the pond, Whoopie Pies have become a huge hit. Marks and Spencers sold out when they first started selling them last year. And Harrods had to employ an extra baker to keep up with demand.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pie


For the pies:
250g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
Half a tsp salt
115g butter, softened
125g light brown soft sugar
125g caster sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
250g tinned pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the cream cheese filling

115g full fat cream cheese
85g softened butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
180g sifted icing sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C/170C fan assisted oven
2. Grease and line four baking sheets
3. For the pies: beat the butter and sugar together for a couple of minutes until thoroughly combined. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well. Add the pumpkin puree and the vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Set aside.
4. In a second bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and salt. 
5. Stir the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture until combined.
6. Either spoon or pipe the mixture into small, equal sized circles onto the baking sheets
7. Bake for ten minutes or until the pie spring back when gently touched
8. Cool on the baking sheets for 5-10 minutes before removing to finish cooling on a wire rack
9. To make the filling: beat the cream cheese, vanilla and butter together until smooth. Add the icing sugar and beat again until combined, glossy and smooth
10. Spread roughly a teaspoon of cream cheese filling on the flat side of one of the pies before sandwiching with a second pie (flat side down). Repeat with all the pies.

Baker's notes...

  • I made mini versions, approximately 5cm in diameter, which made roughly 25 pies using the recipe above. Alternatively you can make larger versions which would of course yield fewer pies
  • I used a piping bag, which helped ensure equal sized, uniform pies
  • Store the pies in an airtight container in the fridge and dust with icing sugar to serve
  • The recipe above is adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days recipe for Pumpkin Whoopie Pie and Libby's Pumpkin Puree 'Very Best Baking' website
  • I used Libby's tinned Pumpkin Puree in this recipe which I found in our local Waitrose
  • I've never made Whoopie Pies before, and indeed, only ever tasted one prior to baking these. I was really pleasantly surprised to find them tasty, moist and more-ish. 
  • In the picture below the two missing ones are the What Kate Baked Baker's Bonus ones- the ones I tried out to make sure I didn't accidently add 250g of salt rather than sugar...
  • Happy Thanksgiving


  1. Hi Kate! I am a first time visitor and just wanted to say what a great blog. Your whoopie pumpkin pies look so good and are so appropriately seasonal. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we will be eating pumpkin pie from Costco but these pies would have been awesome to do.
    I write a blog on food and my musings on life and relationships. Please stop by. Visit. Maybe follow. That would be cool. Happy Thanksgiving

  2. how gorgeous. Its macarons next for you with such precise piping! not made whoopie pies will have to have a go x

  3. Haha! Love your brief history of whoopie pies :) Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Love the story behind this recipe and I would never believe you have never made these before. They look so professional, and bet they taste YUM!

  5. WHOOPIE! Great looking pies and what a more original idea on the bog standard pumpkin pie!

  6. Yummy! Just bought some canned pumpkin from waitrose too, might have to be making these :)

  7. Ooh! Kate how delicious! I've got to beke a million, trillion buns, cakes etc for the school fair tomorrow! But I have a tin of lobby's pumpkin puree so think I will squeeze these super whoopie pies in, just for the family!

  8. Hi Kate
    Thanks for visiting my blog and your lovely comment. I am now a new follower to your blog :)

    I bought a whoopie tin and recipe books but have not got round to making any. Your pumpkin whoopie pies look so yummy!


  9. These look so cute and very festive!


Thank you very much for your comment- I appreciate every single one of them!