First it was the cupcake. Then, the donut. In recent years, these unfussy staples of the American kitchen have enjoyed reincarnations as more popular, trendy, and glamorous versions of themselves. Could the whoopie pie be next? Ian Knauer recently waxed eloquent on the whoopie pie on Gilt Taste, giving us a gourmet-ified version substituting butter and milk where lard and shortening were traditionally used, and throwing in an infusion of vanilla bean for good measure. His version is a more wholesome version of the classic, which is similar to a Devil Dog. I decided to take his idea a step further for a sweet treat more along the lines of an elegant summer dessert than a snack for throwing in the lunch pail. I’ve used Knauer’s recipe for the chocolate cakes and substituted a filling of raspberries resting on a pillowy layer of freshly whipped cream, lightly sweetened and scented with the brightness of lemon zest.
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Dark Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Raspberries and Lemon-Scented Cream
For the chocolate cakes:
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cups Dutch-process cocoa
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
For the filling:
12 ounces whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 teaspoons confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest (from one lemon)
6 ounces fresh red raspberries (about 30)
1. First, prepare the cakes. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
3. In another bowl, cream together butter and sugar. When light and fluffy, add in egg.
4. Mix in 1/2 of the flour mixture into the butter mixture.
5. Add vanilla and buttermilk.
6. Combine in the rest of the flour mixture with the batter.
7. Measure out 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto two baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches around each cake. Bake for about 12 minutes, switching pan position after 6 minutes. Cakes are done when they spring back to touch. Be careful not to overbake or they’ll dry out. Cool completely on baking sheets before assembling into whoopie pies.
8. While cakes are baking, prepare the filling. First, whip cream into soft peaks, then gently stir in sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla. Refrigerate until ready to assemble whoopie pies.
9. Assemble whoopie pies just before serving. Mound about 2 tablespoons of prepared cream filling onto the bottom half of a cake. Then place about 5 raspberries onto cream, and top with another cake, bottom down. There will be extra cream– feel free to serve with another dollop on the side, if eating on a plate.
(c) 2011 Linda Shiue