Monday, March 30, 2009

Be Afraid, Cupcake

The cupcake has been the most popular baked good for several years now. After the ladies of Sex and the City hit Magnolia Bakery, people couldn't get enough. Cupcakes went from being those things you brought into classrooms for birthdays to the baked good everybody wanted. They went from standard chocolate/vanilla varieties to specialty flavors like Key Lime Pie and S'mores. People served cupcakes instead of slices of cakes at their weddings. Cupcakes were the hip dessert.

Until now.

Welcome to town, Whoopie Pie.

Recently, the New York Time claimed that the whoopie pie was the new cupcake. What's a whoopie pie? If you live in New England or Pennsylvania, you might already know. Whoopie pies aren't pies at all. In fact, they kind of resemble an ice cream sandwich--two soft 'cookies' (cakes?) with a whipped frosting in between. Usually they come in chocolate or pumpkin, but bakers have been trying a bunch of different varieties. (Key Lime Whoopie Pie?)

So what's with the name?

"Food historians believe whoopie pies originated in Pennsylvania, where they were baked by Amish women and put in farmers’ lunchboxes.

Tired from a morning’s work, the farmers purportedly would shout 'Whoopie!' if they discovered one of the desserts in their lunch pails, Ms. Emberling said."

That's pretty adorable. I'd love to see an Amish farmer shout "Whoopie!"

The article also mentions whoopie pies sold at Kim's Kitchen in Evanston. Having frequented Kim's one summer, I can attest to their delicious food. Anyone in the area should go give their whoopie pies a try.

With a potluck this weekened, I thought it was the perfect time to try my own whoopie pies. This is the recipe I used for the cakes and this is the frosting. (A lot of recipes include a recipe for a frosting involving egg whites, which have to be cooked in a double boiler. Too complicated and unneccessary, I think.) I'd definitely make these again. A couple of recommendations: my oven cooked the 'cookie' parts much faster--in only about eight minutes--so keep an eye on them. And I used just a cup of whipping cream for the frosting instead of a cup and a half, and it was plenty whipped-creamy.

It's a super fun dessert and definitely worth a try for your next group-dinner function. Is it the new cupcake? Only time (and stomachs) will tell.


Jill said...

Oh my goodness, these were so delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe--I can't wait to attempt them myself!

kimlet said...

You are the queen of whoopie pies!! We didn't even realize that you'd left us extras until the smoke and debris cleared the next morning. Amazing. Thank you, hon!