How to Choose the Best Whoopie Pie Baking Pans (Plus Bonus Recipes)
Whoopie Pie Pans Are the Key to Baking Attractive, Evenly Moist, Easy-to-Eat Pies
Whoopie pies are one of my favorite desserts. Nearly everyone who has ever tasted one loves them; they're a special, delicious, gooey treat for kids (who love food they can eat with their hands!), and most adults I know say that eating one of these delights makes them feel like a kid again.
Learn the pros and cons of using whoopie pie baking pans vs. flat baking sheets for your homemade cake shells, criteria for choosing a good baking pan for them, my recommendation for the best pans, recipes and helpful baking tips.
Advantages of Whoopie Pie Pans vs. Regular Baking Sheets or Cookie Sheets
The traditional way to make whoopie pies is to bake the cake shells on a flat baking sheet or cookie sheet, which creates the iconic domed shape. So why should you consider buying a special pan instead? Because it helps you make these delicious treats that are more attractive, better-tasting, and easier to eat.
- Nicer-Looking Cakes: Baking the pie cake shells on flat baking sheets gives them that authentic, domed shell shape. But I'm an experienced baker and I've found it very difficult to get small, round cakes of uniform size and shape by dropping or spreading the cake batter on flat cookie sheets. If you prefer to go this route, using one of the scoops I've recommended below to portion and shape the dough will give you the best results.
- Uniform Cakes: Alternatively, using whoopie pie pans makes it easy to get all the cakes the same size, shape, and depth. And while they don't create the traditional domed shells, I think having them all neat and in perfectly uniform, well-matched shapes and sizes is more attractive than having mismatched and/or misshapen domes.
- Evenly Moist and Tender Cakes (No Thin, Dried-Out Edges): The cake shells I used to bake on flat cookie sheets tended to have thin, dry edges. When the batter is baked on a flat cookie sheet or baking sheet, it spreads out as is bakes, making the edges of the cakes much thinner than the centers, so they dry out by the time the thicker centers are done. Batter baked in whoopie pie pans bakes much more evenly because the cavities in the pan prevent the batter from spreading out at the edges and becoming too thin, allowing the cakes to bake up evenly moist and tender.
- Easier-to-Eat Pies: While it's true that even mismatched cakes can be used to create yummy-tasting whoopie pies sandwiched together in pairs with gooey marshmallow creme-based filling, the resulting pies are less attractive and harder to eat than ones made with well-matched, symmetrical cake shells. It's hard to keep the filling sandwiched between mismatched cakes, and it's harder to hold a whoopie pie whose top is larger than its bottom (or vice versa).
Using special pans with uniform cavities lets you create nice, round cakes of even sizes, shapes, and thickness, which makes a big difference in the appearance, taste, and ease of eating of these filled cake sandwiches.
What Makes a Good Whoopie Pan?
- The Finish: Look for a high-quality, nonstick finish that lets the individual cakes come out of the pan easily and intact.
- Easy Cleanup: Dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.
- A Warranty: Find a pan that has a 10-year warranty to ensure that the nonstick finish will hold up well over time.
- The Right-Sized Wells: The right depth is crucial so that you don't end up with flimsy, too-thin cakes that won't support the filling or too-thick, muffin-top cakes that spill over the edges of the pan.
- Reasonably Priced: Reasonably priced pans are important since you'll probably want to buy at least two pans (if I'm going to go to the trouble of making homemade whoopie pies, I definitely want to end up with more than six of them!).
The Nonstick Whoopie Pie Pans I Recommend
- For normal-sized pies: Wilton Nonstick 12-Cavity Whoopie Pie Pans
- For large pies: Wilton Giant Whoopie Pie Pan
- For teeny versions: Wilton Nonstick 24-Cavity Mini Whoopie Pie Pans
Best Normal-Sized Pan: Wilton's Nonstick Is a Great Value, Durable, and Easy to Clean
are the perfect combination of features, performance, and price. The high-quality nonstick coating over steel makes the baked pie cakes slide right out of the pan and is durable enough to be dishwasher-safe; although, even hand-washing these nonstick pans is quick and easy. Wilton Nonstick 12-Cavity Whoopie Pie Pans
These pans perform so well that they are backed by a 10-year warranty, which makes them a terrific value. They're also the right combination of weight and depth to turn out perfectly round, evenly moist and tender cakes without muffin-top spillover.
Tip: Keep in mind that you'll need two cake shells to make each pie. So if you want to make a dozen cakes at a time, remember to get two 12-cavity baking pans.
Best Jumbo Pan: Wilton's Giant Whoopie Pie Pan
That's why Wilton makes a . The two 8" cavities create the cake shells to make one huge pie. When assembled with creamy filling, one of these enormous cakes is as large as a typical layer cake and makes a great birthday cake. nonstick Giant Whoopie Pie Pan
Tip: Wrap one of these monsters in a sheet of cellophane and tie it with a ribbon for a tasty and unique gift. Men especially love these "Texas-sized" whoopies!
Best Small Pan: Wilton Nonstick 24-Cavity Mini Whoopie Pie Pan
These minis also are perfect for popping into lunch bags, enjoying with a cup of tea or coffee, or setting out as part of a dessert buffet. They also are a great dessert to bring to a barbecue or potluck.
Who Says Whoopie Pies Have to Be Round?
In addition to traditional round whoopie pies, you also can make these treats shaped like hearts, stars, bunnies, trees, Christmas stockings, and gingerbread men using specialty shape pans.
Note: Some of these pans have asymmetrically-shaped cavities, and Wilton has not made mirror-image cavities. The cakes baked in the asymmetric cavities should be sandwiched together with both cakes facing the same direction, rather than back-to-back.
Tip: Don't forget to buy two pans of whatever design(s) you choose if you want to bake a dozen whoopie pies at a time!
You can find pans for:
- Christmas: The has four cavities each of three different Christmas holiday themed designs. Use it to make two pine tree shaped whoopies, two Christmas stockings, and two gingerbread men. Wilton Nonstick 12 Cavity Holiday Whoopie Pie Pan
- Thanksgiving and Kwanzaa: Wilton also makes a 12-cavity nonstick Harvest pan with an autumn theme that lets you make three leaf-shaped and three pumpkin-shaped cakes at a time. They're great for a Thanksgiving dessert, harvest festivals such as Kwanzaa, and for a seasonal sweet treat any time during the fall season.
- Valentine's Day: Heart-shaped whoopie pies make a lovely sweet treat for your sweetheart, family, best friend, etc. For Valentine's Day, you can use white creme filling and roll the edges of the filled pies in heart-shaped or regular sprinkles, jimmies, or other candy decorations. Alternatively, you could tint the filling pink with paste or gel food coloring.
Bunnies for Easter and Spring: There are bunny pie pans that let you make six adorable bunny-shaped cake sandwiches. These are so cute, especially for spring or Easter! You can even decorate them with candy eyes and noses and pink frosting for the insides of the ears and maybe a frosting bow. Kids love decorating these kinds of baked sweets.
What Else Can I Use a Whoopie Pie Pan For?
These shallow-cavity nonstick pans are extremely versatile and can be used for a variety of cooking and baking purposes. Here are just a few of the things people have used them for:
- 3-inch muffin tops (most muffin top pans have 4-inch diameter cavities) made with 1/4 cup of muffin batter in each cavity.
- Mini pizza crusts for individual pizzas.
- Perfectly round eggs for English muffin breakfast sandwiches.
- Cookies with thin, runny batter that tend to spread out in free-form shapes instead of circles, such as such as Florentine cookies or molasses lace roll-up cookies.
The Best Whoopie Pie Pan Deserves the Best Recipes!
Classic Chocolate Whoopie Pies Recipe
Here is the basic chocolate whoopie pie recipe from the Wilton pan's packaging, followed by the filling recipe.
I've rewritten the instructions a bit for clarity. Note that the packaging also includes a recipe for raspberry whoopie pies. Enjoy!
I use two 12-cavity pans when I make this recipe. If you have only one pan, you can bake the cake shells in two batches.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1/2 c. (1 stick) softened butter
- 1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 c. all purpose flour
- 1/2 c. cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 c. buttermilk
- Whoopie Pie Filling (see recipe)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly spray two whoopie pie pans with nonstick cooking spray. If you have only one pan, you can either halve the recipe (beat the egg lightly before dividing it in half) or, preferably, bake the first batch and then cool, wash, and spray the pan with cooking spray again before filling it with the second half of the batter.
- In large bowl of electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, approximately 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla extract, and mix until well combined.
- In another bowl (or on a large sheet of waxed paper), sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add half the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, and mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are almost incorporated. Stop the mixer, add the buttermilk, and then continue mixing on low speed until all the ingredients are almost incorporated. Stop the mixer again, add the remaining dry ingredients, and then mix on low until just combined.
- Spoon approximately 2 Tbsp. of batter into each of the prepared cavities in the pan, if you're using a 12-cavity pan. (Use approximately 1 Tbsp. of batter in each cavity if you're using a 24-cavity pan for mini-size pies.) Spread the batter to the edges of each cavity. Each cavity should be approximately 2/3 full.
- Bake for approximately 8-10 minutes, or until the top of each cake springs back when touched.
- Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 8 minutes. Turn the cakes out on a cooling rack to finish cooling. Meanwhile, prepare the filling (recipe follows).
- When the shells have cooled completely, assemble the whoopie pies by sandwiching two shells (cakes) together with the prepared filling.
Whoopie Pie Filling Recipe
This is a nice, basic, vanilla-marshmallow creme filling from the cardboard sleeve of the Wilton Whoopie Pie Pan.
While this filling may taste a bit too sweet or too intensely vanilla-flavored by itself, it's just right when sandwiched between two whoopie pie cakes/shells.
- 6 Tbsp. butter - softened
- 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar - sifted
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1 jar (approximately 7 oz.) marshmallow creme (such as Marshmallow Fluff)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Cream softened butter in a large bowl of an electric mixer. Add sugar and salt; mix well. Add marshmallow creme and extract; blend well. (Tip: Use a 1-piece rubber scraper sprayed with nonstick cooking spray to scoop marshmallow creme out of jar.)
- Use immediately to fill the pies. Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups of filling, enough to fill 12 regular size or 24 mini whoopie pies (24 or 48 cake shells).
- Make-Ahead Directions: Prepare filling in advance, cover and refrigerate for up to one week. Just before filling whoopie pie shells, bring filling to room temperature, and beat lightly with an electric mixer.
Quick and Easy Chocolate Peppermint Whoopie Pies
These cake shells are made from a boxed chocolate fudge cake mix and a classic marshmallow creme filling made from scratch, both made with peppermint extract. And that combination amounts to a delicious semi-homemade chocolate mint whoopie pie.
My mother-in-law, Linda, made a batch of these quick and easy chocolate mint version as a special treat for my husband when he and I recently visited my in-laws for two weeks. For the filling, she used the filling recipe above, substituting peppermint extract for the vanilla extract. The quick and easy part was that instead of making the batter for the shells from scratch, she prepared a box of chocolate fudge cake mix instead, substituting one teaspoon of peppermint extract for one teaspoon of the water to be added to the dry mix.
Luckily for me, my husband shares, and I can tell you these whoopie pies were a delicious treat! She wrapped up and froze six of them so we could take them home with us at the end of our visit, and I snapped this photo so you can enjoy them vicariously. Note: The lines in certain areas of the filling were made by the plastic wrap surrounding the whoopie pies when they were frozen.
- Use a cookie scoop to measure the batter so that you have uniformly sized shells. Cookie scoops (or very small ice cream scoops) are great for portioning out the batter. Scooping the same amount of batter into each cavity of the whoopie pie pans is a great way to ensure that all your shells will be the same size and thickness.
Use a pastry bag/piping bag with a large, plain tip to fill the shells like a pro! The cake shells are moist and tender, so if you spread the filling with a spatula or knife it will pick up crumbs. For neat, crumb-free, professional-looking filling, scrape it into a pastry bag fitted with a large-to-extra-large plain round tip, e.g., August Thomsen #9, Ateco #809, or Wilton #1 A, and the same brand large-tip coupler. Pipe an even mound of filling centered on half the shells and top with the remaining shells, pressing down gently so the filling spreads evenly to the edge.
Use Luscious Stonewall Kitchen Dessert Sauces for a Truly Decadent Treat
For a truly decadent treat, either drizzle one of Stonewall Kitchen's incredibly luscious dessert sauces over the tops of filled whoopie pies, and then refrigerate them to firm up the saucy drizzle; or refrigerate the jar of sauce until it thickens, and then spread a layer onto the flat side of each shell before sandwiching pairs of them together with filling. Sinfully delicious!
All of Stonewall Kitchen's dessert sauces are incredibly rich and flavorful. The Chocolate Peppermint and the Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Sauce are so good you'll be tempted to eat them straight out of the jar by the spoonful!
I like to warm up the sauce gently in the microwave or in a small saucepan of simmering water and then pour it over whoopie pies, ice cream, cake, berries, bananas or other fresh fruit ... well, you get the idea.
Bonus Recipe: The Original Recipe for the Best Whoopie Pies Ever
Without a doubt, the most famous whoopie pies from a commercial bakery are Wicked Whoopies from Maine. I've tasted a LOT of whoopie pies in my time and believe me, WICKED WHOOPIES ARE THE BEST ONES EVER!!!
The bad news is that they're not always easy to find.
The good news is that Amy Bouchard, the fabulous baker who developed them, shared her Classic Wicked Whoopies Recipe (chocolate cakes filled with a vanilla marshmallow creme filling) with the popular ABC TV show, The Chew. So if you can't find them locally, now you can bake them yourself!
A few important notes about this recipe:
- This is Amy's recipe for home baking, not the version she makes in her commercial bakery (which doesn't use any dairy products so the whoopie pies don't need to be refrigerated).
- Amy bakes her whoopie pies on regular baking sheets rather than pans with specially indented cavities, so they have the distinctive dome-shaped "whoopie pie shells." Then again, she's also a professional baker who probably doesn't have to worry much about thin, dried-out edges.
- One last thing: Commercial Wicked Whoopies are huge! The directions in the recipe from The Chew say to use "large rounded spoonfulls [sic]" and the recipe is supposed to serve 36. The Wilton Nonstick 12-Cavity Whoopie Pie Pans should be filled with 1/8 cup (2 Tbsp) of batter per shell, and the 24-cavity mini pans take half that much batter. So you may get fewer, or more, than 36 filled pies out of this recipe Also, although they freeze beautifully, if you don't want to bake that many, you can cut the recipe in half.
Whoopie Pie Recipe and Technique Demonstration Videos
We all learn differently, and for many of us it's easier to watch someone else demonstrate how to make a recipe before we try making it ourselves. Here are some of the best videos about making whoopie pies I've found. Most of them demonstrate a specific recipe.
Questions & Answers
How do you remove the whoopie pies from the pan?
The Wilton whoopie pie pans are nonstick. I sometimes grease them and dust them lightly with unsweetened cocoa powder to make the cake shells release even more easily. Let the cake shells cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 5-10 minutes. Then carefully invert the pan over the rack to remove the cake shells.Helpful 2
© 2012 Margaret Schindel