A few Christmases ago, I received a book about Whoopie Pies. I had no idea what they were but they looked delicious; sweet sweet frosting sandwiched between two fluffy little cakes (there are savoury ones too but I'm all for the sugar baby). I love cupcakes but my favourite part is the frosting, so the cake to frosting ratio on these little pretties are just perfect! I've made them a few times, usually sticking to vanilla. There are so many flavours to mix and match within this book that I can get a little overwhelmed and indecisive. Also, some of the ingredients can sometimes be hard to get a hold of. Marshmallow fluff is used in a lot of the recipes and I have only ever come across this at a little trolley in the mall selling American goods like Poptarts at 5 quid a box. No thanks! Today, however, I found two things that I have been searching for over the years (why I never thought to ask before, who knows). Pumpkin in a tin? Check. Cocoa powder? Check check. I had no idea it was in the drinking chocolate aisle! Although W did and gave me the dumbest look when I told him of my find. There's no holding me back from recipes containing cocoa now and I can make pumpkin pie anytime of the year (I won't, but I can!)
So today, when I craved a Christmassy cupcake, I remembered my whoopie pie book and having access to cocoa meant my baking was no longer limited. Bring on red velvet. I paired it with a mint buttercream for a candy cane flavour. I've already had 2 (ok fine 3) as an appetiser before dinner.
Here' my recipe adapted from Whoopie Pies by Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell
Red Velvet Whoopie Pies with a Mint Buttercream
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon malt vinegar
1/4 cup buttermilk (I make this by adding a squeeze of lemon into the milk and letting it sit for a minute or so)
4 teaspoons of red food colouring
pinch of salt
2 and 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup butter
4 tablespoons whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, beat butter and both sugars for a few minutes until crumbly. Beat in egg until incorporated. Add in vanilla, malt vinegar and food colouring and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add half of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk to the red mixture and beat in until well blended. Add in the remaining flour mixture and buttermilk and mix.
On a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper, drop the dough with a spoon at least 2 inches apart - about a tablespoon for large pies and half for smaller ones. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius for about 8-10 minutes. Prepare the frosting while the cakes cool on a rack. Makes approximately 20 cakes.
In a large bowl beat butter and sugar until crumbly. Beat in cream, vanilla, peppermint and salt until smooth. Once the cakes have cooled, turn half of them over (match up similar sized cakes in pairs) and either spread the frosting or pipe it onto the cake. Smoosh (a very technical term) a topper on and roll the edges in crushed candy cane.