Margaret has a passion for cooking, baking, and creating recipes that satisfy her cravings for delicious and indulgent food.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies Are a Favorite Sweet Treat for Fall and Winter Holidays
Are you looking for a delicious dessert to make for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or another fall or winter celebration? Then you'll love this awesome Pumpkin Whoopie Pies recipe from Amy Bouchard, the creator, owner, and head baker of the famous Wicked Whoopies—little cakes so good that Oprah Winfrey has recommended them.
With this scrumptious recipe from Amy herself, you can bake and serve these beloved sweet treats to your family, friends, and holiday guests fresh from your own oven! Individually sized pumpkin cake layers are filled with a luscious, sweet cream cheese filling. Everyone loves them since eating them makes everyone from 8 to 80 feel like a kid.
Make them mini size for just a bite or two of delicious indulgence without all the calories or guilt of a full-size dessert. And the kids will never guess that the pumpkin packs these sweet treats with lots of healthy fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants—unless you tell them (but why spoil the fun?).
What Are Whoopie Pies?
Sometimes referred to as gobs, moon pies, hucklebucks, or black-and-whites, whoopie pies are delectable confections consisting of two small, flat cakes (or large, cake-like cookies, if you prefer) that are sandwiched together with a thick layer of creamy filling that often is made with marshmallow creme.
As you can see in the photo, this small, personal-size layer cake resembles a hamburger on a bun, and it's designed to be picked up and eaten the same way as a burger.
However, that's definitely the only similarity!
- The original flavor (sometimes called a chocolate or classic whoopie pie) is made with devil's food cake or chocolate cake shells sandwiched together with a fluffy white vanilla and marshmallow filling. The cake layers often are called "shells," presumably a play on the "pie" part of the name. Today these treats are made in many different flavor combinations.
- Both Pennsylvania and Maine claim credit for this humble yet much-loved dessert. Their long-standing feud over its true birthplace continues unabated.
- Traditionally, the cake shells are domed with flat bottoms, like the top half of a hamburger bun. These days, many modern home bakers prefer to use special nonstick whoopie pie pans that make all the cake shells perfectly round and uniform.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pie Recipe
From the Creator of Wicked Whoopies
Amy Bouchard, who started her selling her now famous baked goods from home using her grandmother's original recipes, shared this one on WCHS6 TV's popular show "207." She says these treats are "wicked good" (a New England expression meaning "fantastic"), and I agree! The cream cheese filling pairs perfectly with the spiced pumpkin cake shells.
The cake shells and filling can be made ahead of time. You can freeze them and then just thaw and assemble as few or as many as you want, whenever you want.
This recipe is a bit different than the one used for the Pumpkin Wicked Whoopies made in Amy Bouchard's bakery in Maine: Isamax Snacks. Those are made without any dairy to prolong their shelf life. I've adapted the directions from the recipe on WCSH6.com (the NBC TV affiliate in Portland, Maine). I have not changed the substance of the recipe, but I have revised the directions for clarity and added my own helpful tips and notes.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30–33 minutes
Serves: Varies depending on size
Read More From Delishably
- FOR THE SPICED PUMPKIN CAKE SHELLS:
- 1 (15-oz can) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 3 heaping cups (or 3 1/2 level cups) all-purpose flour
- FOR THE CREAM CHEESE FILLING:
- 6 oz. cream cheese
- 1/2 stick (1/4 c.) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- 3 heaping tablespoons (or 4 level tablespoons) marshmallow creme (such as Marshmallow Fluff)
- 2 teaspoons water
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (177 °C). Grease a large cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper and set it aside. TIP: I always use two cookie sheets to leave ample room between the mounds of cake shell dough and line the sheets with baking parchment to release them easily and reduce clean up.
- Beat the pumpkin, eggs, oil, and brown sugar together until fluffy with an electric mixer. Then stir in the molasses. TIP: A handheld electric mixer will work if you don't have a stand-type electric mixer.
- Combine the dry ingredients together and mix them into the pumpkin mixture until well blended. The batter will be thick (it should hold its shape when placed on the cookie sheet). TIPS: Make sure you measure 3 heaping cups of flour and 2 firmly- packed cups of brown sugar. Also, feel free to use substitute some of the spices if you wish.
- Scoop large, rounded spoonfuls of the cake batter onto the prepared cookie sheet(s), spacing them at least 2 inches apart. TIPS: You can make your cake shells larger or smaller if you wish just by changing the size of the mounds of batter. Remember to adjust the baking time accordingly and keep a close eye on the cakes so you don't under- or over-bake them. Also, Amy Bouchard recommends (as do I) using an ice cream scoop to portion out the batter and form it into evenly sized and shaped mounds.
- Bake the cake shells for 10–13 minutes (depending on the size scoop or spoon you used to portion the batter). Then transfer them to a large wire cooling rack and let them cool completely before filling.
- While the shells cool, make the cream cheese whoopie pie filling. Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. Note: 3 heaping tablespoons of marshmallow creme is equal to approximately 4 level tablespoons. TIP: Spray both sides of the neck and bowl of the measuring spoon or scoop with nonstick cooking spray before you dip it into the jar of marshmallow creme.
- Turn over half of the cooled cake shells (flat side facing up) and place a scoop of cream cheese filling in the center of each cake shell. Top with the remaining cake shells. TIP: Use the same ice cream scoop you used to portion out the cake batter to portion out the mounds of cream cheese filling on half the cake shells. This will give you the perfect amount of filling in each whoopie pie.
- Serve to friends, family and guests and watch the smiles on their faces as they bite into them!
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Helpful Kitchen Tools and Equipment for Making Whoopie Pies
A One-Piece Slim Silicone Spatula Is a Must-Have for Sticky Ingredients Like Marshmallow Fluff
Marshmallow creme is super sticky stuff, and getting all of it out of the jar can be a messy and challenging task. If you try to scrape out Marshmallow Fluff from the sides and bottom of the jar with a traditional rubber scraper or spatula with a separate head (even a silicone head), chances are good that when you try to pull it out again the business end of the spatula/scraper will get stuck while the handle comes off in your hand. (Ask me how I know!)
The entire iSi Silicone Basics Slim Spatula is coated in silicone, so that the handle, as well as the spatula end, resist sticking. And there are no seams to trap food and bacteria, so it's more hygienic than most other silicone spatulas.
Other reasons I love this slim silicone spatula include the fact that it has a thin, sharp edge to scrape every last bit of marshmallow creme (or peanut butter, molasses, etc.) out of the jar cleanly. And I can just toss it in the dishwasher when I'm through using it.
It is available in a few different colors.
Tip: Even though it is covered in silicone, you'll want to mist nonstick cooking spray over the business end of this spatula and partway up the handle before using it to scoop out the marshmallow creme, etc., so it will release from the spatula cleanly and easily.
Scoop Uniform Portions of the Cake Batter and Filling With Stainless Steel Scoops
In order to get attractive, evenly-sized cake shells with the traditional mounded shape, the cake shell batter needs to be placed in neat, uniform mounds. No matter how neat and precise you are, if you scoop the dough with spoons the mounds won't be perfectly round and probably will have little bits of batter sticking out (see the photo). And when the cake shells come out of the oven with somewhat uneven shapes and sizes, it can be a challenge to match up all of them in pairs. That's why I highly recommend using a good quality scoop to portion out both the thick cake batter and the creamy filling. The neater and more uniform the mounds of dough are, the rounder and more uniform the cake shells will be.
I love the professional quality Norpro Stainless Steel Scoops. They're made of high quality, non-corrosive 18/8 stainless steel polished to a mirror finish that makes them look great and perform really well, too. They have smooth, spring-action mechanisms, rather than levers, that release batter, ice cream, marshmallow creme, and other foods cleanly. They're also dishwasher safe for easy clean-up. I use them frequently for scooping ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sorbet and for making perfectly shaped, evenly sized cake shells, cookies, muffins, muffin tops, meatballs, and more.
The versatile 4 Tablespoon Norpro stainless steel scoop is the perfect size for making traditional, large size whoopie pie shells, and it also has many other uses, such as making large, evenly sized meatballs, filling jumbo muffin cups, and mounding cooked rice attractively on plates. It's a versatile tool I reach for often in my kitchen.
Pumpkin Packs a Powerful Nutritional Punch!
One person who read this article left a comment asking, "Is there anything healthy in this pie?"
The answer is a definite "YES!" These individual-sized pumpkin layer cakes obviously don't fall into the category of healthy, low-calorie treats... but the nearly two cups of pumpkin puree adds a big nutritional boost, including significant amounts of protein, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron.
How Much Nutrition Does the Pumpkin Add to This Recipe?
Here is the USDA nutritional data for 15 oz. of canned pumpkin puree (without added salt):
- Calories/Energy: 156
- Total Fat: 1g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
- Sodium: 23mg
- Total Carbohydrate 37g
- Dietary Fiber: 13g
- Sugars: 15g
- Protein: 5g
— Source: USDA Nutrient Database, Release 25
The USDA nutrient database does not provide % Daily Value, which manufacturers calculate based on the USDA's dietary guidelines for a 2,000-calorie diet, so here is the % Daily Value for the vitamins and minerals in just 1 cup of canned pumpkin puree (without added salt) from the Self Magazine NutritionData database. Keep in mind that this recipe uses 15 oz. (1-7/8 cups) of canned pumpkin puree, so it provides nearly twice the following amounts of these vitamins and minerals!
- Vitamin A: 763%
- Vitamin C: 17%
- Calcium: 6%
- Iron: 19%
So while the butter, sugar and marshmallow fluff in these treats means that they're best served as a special treat rather than a routine dessert, it's nice to know that you're also getting more than a full serving of a healthy, nutrient-rich vegetable in every full-size pumpkin whoopie pie.
© 2012 Margaret Schindel