A NEW ENGLAND PHENOMENON purported to come from the Amish, the whoopie pie is all the fun of an chocolate sandwich cookie without the crunchiness. I took a page from this big cookie for my uncle’s birthday today. Given that he’s a 52-year old joker who never quite grew up, I knew he would appreciate a childhood favorite as a cake. Imagine him laughing hard when he got a huge whoopie pie cake with “Big Whoop It’s Your Birthday” scrawled on the top in green frosting. Joking never tasted so sweet!
For the cake:
- 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder (don’t look at me like that! It actually brings out the chocolate flavor and makes people wonder what is so different… it’s a secret weapon you should practice in your chocolate recipes)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 Tablespoons good quality cocoa powder (always remember: the better the chocolate the better the cake will taste. I never cut corners on this step)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or a little more if you prefer)
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 3 eggs
- 3 cups confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-2 Tablespoons whipping cream
Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350F; spray two round cake pans or grease and dust with cocoa powder. Combine the butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy; add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Add your vanilla and mix well. Sift together your dry ingredients and slowly add to the wet ingredients, mixing well. Divide your batter into the two cake pans (I’d suggest using a measuring cup and alternating pouring into the pans that way), gently tap them on your countertop or table to remove any excess air bubbles. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cakes test as done. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at least 15 minutes before inverting them out of the pans.
Make the frosting: With a whisk attachment on your mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and cream, beat until the desired consistency. Add more cream if necessary to make it spreadable.
Assemble the cake: Place one cake, flat side down, on a serving platter. Spread a generous layer of frosting inside the cake and bring it almost to the edge of the cake; think as thick as a sandwich cookie… don’t be shy about it! Place your second cake on top of the frosting, rounded side up. Frost the sides of the cake so they look continuous. I had “Big Whoop It’s Your Birthday” written on the top, but you could dust it with cocoa powder if you want instead.
A hint… don’t cook the cakes until they’re at that dry sort of done. The cakes will continue to cook in the pan a bit after you take them out of the oven. The cakes should have some crumbs stuck to the toothpick so that the cake stays moist at the end of it all.
Have fun, and thanks! (Disclaimer: the image isn’t mine… the cake I made didn’t last long enough to take a photo!)