A small treat to celebrate, this is a cross between a cake and a soft cookie. And it's called a pie. I know. Beats me too. But it's delicious. And so easy to make, a no-brainer really if you want to have red velvet cake without the fuss. Oh, and they are filled with the wildly loved cream cheese frosting, of course.
I discovered whoopie pies not so long ago, and started making them often. They were a wonderful surprise, to realize they were soft but tasty, sweet from the filling and so ridiculously easy to make.
I usually make my very moist Red Velvet Bundt Cake because it's easier than layer cakes and just as delicious. But now it's all about these whoopie pies in this house. Along with my favorite Chocolate Whoopie pies because Valentine's Day calls for both.
- Oil and butter. I use the first for moistness and the second for flavor.
- Cocoa powder. It isn't red velvet without that small amount of chocolate, is it? The darker the cocoa the deeper the red color.
- Red food coloring. I still a water-based powder color, but usually like to use gels because you need a small amount and don't need to be dissolved.
Making whoopie pies is easy. It's a cookie batter that comes together very quickly and you can use a wire whisk, no need for a stand mixer.
Start by mixing the soft butter with the sugar until it's light and creamy. The sugar will have dissolved a lot and not be too granular. Then, add the egg.
It's important that they are sifted (either before adding in a different bowl, or directly over the butter mixture, as I do), especially when there is cocoa powder and baking soda among them, as they can dry out in little balls that might not get properly dissolved during mixing.
The dry ingredients in the step before are added in 3 parts, alternating with the wet ingredients - milk and oil - in 2 parts. The reason for this is to level textures and temperatures so that the ingredients integrate better.
At some point it might look slightly curdled; that is fine if you still have the last part of dry ingredients to add still.
The red color is given by adding food coloring, and this can be a powder that is dissolved in some of the milk (as I did today), or gel-based which are easily available and easier to integrate. It's important to mix quickly and to have the color be uniform, but don't beat the batter, as that will toughen the cookies.
The final dough
You need to refrigerate the red velvet dough for an hour or so, until it's slightly firmer, to have better shaped and thicker whoopie pies. Make sure there is space between them when placed in the cookie sheets because they spread as they bake.
Frequently asked questions
The consistency of the batter is crucial for a good whoopie pie that holds its shape, and this depends on the recipe. Too much liquid, for example, and the batter will be too thin and spread too quickly when baking. This recipe today makes perfectly plump and moist whoopie pies.
Traditionally, they are filled with cream cheese frosting, the one used for carrot cakes and in the hummingbird cake recipe. I also like red velvet whoopie pies filled with this 5-minute chocolate frosting that is to die for.
It's a cake-like sandwich soft cookie. Why it's called a pie is not quite clear, though they were supposedly originated in the Amish community as a way to use leftover cake batter and frosting. I put them in the Cakes category of this blog.
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- 2 cups flour
- 1 ½ tablespoona cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup oil
- ½ cup butter
- ⅓ cup milk
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon red gel food coloring (the amount will vary depending on the type and brand you use)
For the filling:
- 2 tablespoons (30g) butter, at room temperature
- 4 tablespoons (60g) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 cups (300g) powdered sugar
- Beat butter with sugar in a large bowl for two minutes.
- Add egg and mix to incorporate well.
- If using powder red coloring, mix it with 2 tablespoons of the amount of milk in the ingredients.
- Add the sifted dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) to the butter mixture in 2 parts, alternating with the milk and oil in 1 part. You can either sift them apart or have them measured and sift them directly, as I do.
- Mix in the red color with the vanilla, making sure it’s all well incorporated but don’t overbeat as this will toughen the cookies when baked.
- Cover and refrigerate for 1 or 2 hours, until it firms up.
- Preheat the oven at 350°F/180°C.
- Scoop portions of the dough and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, about an inch and a half or two apart.
- Bake for 10 minutes. It might take a minute longer, but make sure they are not completely dry. They should be slightly soft.
- Let cool completely on a wire rack.
- Mound a teaspoon of cream cheese filling on half the cookies and top with the rest, pressing down lightly.
- Keep at room temperature for a day and refrigerate leftovers, covered, for a few days.
For the cream cheese filling:
- Mix butter and cheese until creamy and smooth.
- Add powdered sugar little by little until it is very thick. Add more sugar if you want a thicker mixture.
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 10
- Category: Cookies
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: red velvet whoopie pies