Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The Whoopie Pie Book Review

I've been meaning to try out whoopie pies for a while. Though they aren't quite as pretty as cupcakes they are cute and I'm never one to turn down cake! I don't think they'll ever overtake cupcakes as was predicted but they are a nice addition.

I tried to resist buying an entire book on whoopie pies but yet again the lure of a Book People bargain was far too much for little 'ole me. The front cover is so cute! It's a really well put together book and oh, there are photos for every recipe! Amazing! I can't say I'd ever heard of the Violet bakery before but a quick google threw up a rather beautiful sounding shop in London. Her cupcake flavours sound amazing: Candied Violet, Salted Caramel, French Apricot and Fragolina Grape amongst others.

The range of recipes are just as large as they would be for cupcakes, everything sounds completely edible. There are 6 chapters including Simple and Sweet Whoopie Pies, Topped and Drizzled, Frozen and Chilled and A Few Other Sweet Treats. There are different fillings for each pie, it's really great to have such varied recipes for buttercreams and other creams.

So I decided not to do things by halves and tackled this book with the necessary equipment: a whoopie pie cake tin from Lakeland. Not completely needed but I loved the idea of getting even circles rather than relying on how the cake mixture spread in the oven. The downside to the tin as some people have commented on is that the recipes make 9 pies but the tin only allows you to make 6. Not an issue for me as I usually halve quantites anyway. I decided to make the Salty Caramel Whoopies - combining 2 trends in 1 - salted caramel and whoopie pies!!

As you can see, half of the mixture still made 6 rather than 4 and a bit but it all fitted beautifully into my tin without any wastage. The mixture was really easy to make and it was then put in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. The mixture took on an unexpected texture after 30 minutes, it was almost like a mousse with loads of air bubbles in it. I was hoping that it was right! But it made it easy to divide up and only took 12 minutes or so in the oven.

They were possibly the most successful sponges I've made, something usually happens to make them fail but these were light and a great texture. I'd say they were more solid than a cupcake but I expected this as they need to hold the filling in the middle.

The suggested filling to go with these pies was the Caramel Swiss Buttercream. I fear buttercream but I followed the recipe and huzzah - it was a success!! This made me love this book! It was quite involved though, I had to make some caramel, then whip up some butter. Next I had to whisk some egg white and sugar over some water on the stove for around 10-15 minutes which was the point where I wasn't quite sure if I was doing it right. It was supposed to be 'fluffy' but it didn't seem like it to me. But, as if by magic, adding the butter and then the caramel I had myself some buttercream! Very happy! It was worth the faff!

I thought they looked pretty good and looked like they did in the photo (maybe a little more even due to the wonder tin). They were a good size, any bigger and they'd be pretty sickly. They held together very well and I'm looking forward to trying out a lot more of the recipes.

I thought I'd try something other than the pies too and made the Prize Peach Cobbler. I always thought a cobbler was more like a crumble but formed into scone shapes but looking at various recipes it seems it can be like that or with a batter as mine was. It was really simple to make and took about an hour to cook.

To make the recipe cheaper I used tinned peaches instead of fresh but I think it worked well. I'd call it more of a clafoutis but it was delicious and didn't last for very long! I will definitely be trying this again and experimenting with different fruits.

I was very pleased with this book and am looking forward to making more from it. The Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies look yummy and I haven't even touched on the frozen pies such as Chocolate Mint Whoopies and Key Lime Whoopies. Amazing. It's really inspiring and I think these would be really brilliant for a party or as a more relaxed dessert. Kids would love sandwiching them together themselves and with the vast array of flavours there's something to appeal to everyone. Who could resist a Chocolate Whoopie with Homemade Fluffy Marshmallow filling or a Carrot Cake Whoopie with Orange Mascarpone Cream? I know I can't!


  1. Sounds good, I haven't tried to make Whoopie Pies yet, but you have definitely made me think of trying them. The Peach Cobbler looks very nice.

  2. I have been eyeing this book for a while, I will give in eventually I'm sure it really is very sweet. The whoopie recipes in Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days are great from what I've tried.

    The Caramel Swiss Buttercream sounds sooooo good, must try. x