Everywhere you turn, these days, we are bombarded by cupcakes. My god there are a lot of cupcake shops. I’m pretty sure this isn’t just a Michigan thing, either. Cupcake station, Cupcake shoppe, Just Baked, etc. etc. etc. They’re everywhere!
While I admit readily (and loudly) to my soft spot for cupcakes, I absolutely cannot stand the crap they sell in most of the shops around here. They’re full of corn products (high fructose and otherwise), vegetable oil, preservatives I can’t pronounce, soy products, and more. Cupcakes are simple, though. They’re cake and icing, and somewhere along the line we decided it was more important to have long lasting baked goods than baked goods containing whole ingredients. The biggest problem with cupcakes, or any cakes, is that they’re difficult to transport.
I would love to gift my family a series of gourmet cupcakes from my personal recipes, but honestly it’s just not going to happen without loads of unnecessary packaging.
There is but one solution…
The recipe I desperately needed to try today was for a close friend whose birthday is tomorrow. Things she loves? Peanut butter, Sugar and Chocolate… Things that don’t grow in Michigan? Peanuts, Sugar and Cocoa. *sigh* I’m trying to stick to the Dark Days Food Challenge this winter, eating S(ustainable) O(rganic) L(ocal) E(thical) foods. You know, actually, I tried to grow peanuts last year and managed to grow seven of them! It was pretty exciting…
So I managed to find fair trade organic cocoa at our local grocery store, Plum Market, and the cane sugar I used was also organic. The peanut butter is USA grown and organic… Ah well. I tried, right? At least the flour fit the profile, as did most of the other major ingredients.
The recipe I used for the cakes was actually borrowed from the Martha Stewart web site. It was the only recipe I could find online that didn’t include shortening (ew ew ew!) The buttercream filling came from my own brain, but it’s pretty darned basic since it’s an American buttercream. Anyway, I’ll share the recipes below the following amazing delicious inspiring num-num photo…
Whoopie Pie Chocolate Cake Base
Makes 2 dozen sandwiches
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Peanut butter buttercream frosting
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift together flour, salt, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside. Line two baking pans with parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Beat until well combined. Slowly add dry ingredients. Mix until combined.
2. Using a 1-ounce ice-cream scoop, (I used a piping bag for mine – they were much more uniform) place cookies onto lined baking pans, twelve per pan. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool. Repeat with remaining batter.
Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting
3/4 c peanut butter
1 c butter (room temperature)
1 c powdered sugar
1 Tbsp sea salt
Whip together peanut butter and butter until smooth and light. Once thoroughly combined, begin to add the powdered sugar in a few additions, whipping between each addition and checking the texture. It’s pretty easy to get the texture/taste you want. Want more peanut butter flavor? Add more peanut butter.
Spread or pipe 2 tablespoons of frosting onto each of half of the cookies. Sandwich together with remaining cookies. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days… if they last that long. Mwahaha.
Once you’ve assembled your whoopie pies, you can serve them how you see fit. I packaged mine in tiny plastic bags (oh geez… feeling guilty there. ick.) for presenting to my friend Katie (and our other mutual friends) for her birthday.
Have you ever made whoopie pies? There are so many options! What are your favorites?
Want to read more from Tanglewood Farm? Check out Emily’s blog over at A Pinch of Something Nice where she writes about her experiences with her gardens, her livestock and her leased historical home in SE Michigan.