A while ago (OK, several years ago), my husband saw a display of pumpkin whoopie pies in a bakeshop. His response? "You should make a gluten-free version." My response? "I'll put it on my list." And that's just where those pumpkin whoopie pies remained.
I'm not sure why I resisted baking them. I think I believed that whoopie pies should be chocolate, not pumpkin. Silly, I know. Each fall, he'd gently suggest I make a batch and each fall I didn't. Until now.
Of course, now I'm kicking myself for waiting so long. In fact, I think I like pumpkin even better than the traditional chocolate version. (My husband might have smirked when I told him this. But he was eating a whoopie pie at the time. So I can't be sure.) Like traditional chocolate whoopie pies, this recipe makes a dense cake that's sandwiched together with a light, creamy center. Which brings me to....
The filling. I grew up eating whoopie pies that were held together with a filling made from butter and marshmallow Fluff. To this day, that's my preferred filling.
Yet I know many people don't share my affinity for the white stuff. And, if you are egg-free, marshmallow fluff is out because it contains egg whites. Happily whipped cream cheese filling complements these pies perfectly. (See below for an egg-free / dairy-free replacement.) Now, I'm not going to say that I prefer the cream cheese filling over the Fluff-based filling BUT I really like it. While making it, I discovered that really creaming the cream cheese and butter together until it's so light that it's almost white was the key to a fluffy filling.
Egg-free? Replace the two eggs with 2 tablespoons ground flax meal and 1/4 cup hot water. Whisk together the flax and water and allow it to stand for five minutes. Add as you would the egg.
For the cakes: Replace the butter with a solid dairy-free shortening (like Crisco or Spectrum vegetable shortening) or lard. Use as directed. A liquid oil can be used to replace the butter; however, I found the cakes spread when made with oil and had a very moist—almost muffin-like texture—instead of the dense cake-like texture I prefer in a whoopie pie.
For the filling:
For the marshmallow filling: Use all shortening to replace the butter.
For the cream cheese filling Use a dairy-free cream cheese.
Smaller Pies: Traditional whoopie pies are BIG. If you'd like a smaller treat, scoop batter, about 2 tablespoons each, onto prepared baking sheet. Reduce baking time from about 20 minutes to about 12. Check the cakes after eight minutes.
- Yield:makes about 12 whoopie pies
- Active time: about 30 minutes
- Total time:about one hour
- 4 ounces (1 cup) white rice flour
- 2 3/4 ounces (1/2 cup) sweet rice flour
- 2 ounces (1/2 cup) cornstarch or potato starch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 7 ounces (1 cup) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
- 1 cup pure pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Marshmallow Filling
- 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 jar (7 1/2 ounces) marshmallow crème
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Cream Cheese Filling
- 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
- 8 ounces (2 cups) powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. In medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In large bowl, or bowl of stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until thick paste forms, use medium high speed. With the mixer running, add eggs in a slow and stream. Stop mixer. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Turn mixer on, mix to combine, about 30 seconds.
Add half the dry ingredients. Mix until thoroughly incorporated. Stop mixer. Add pumpkin and vanilla extract. Turn mixer on to medium. Mix until combined. Once again, turn off mixer. Add remaining dry ingredients. Turn on mixer, mix until a thick batter forms.
Drop batter, about 1/4 cup each, onto prepared baking sheet. Whoopie pies spread during baking. Be sure to space each cake about two inches apart. Bake until cakes are golden brown, aromatic, and firm to the touch, about 20 minutes.
Remove pan from the oven. Allow cakes to cool on the pan for five minutes before transferring the cakes to a wire rack to cool completely. (Use a metal spatula to transfer the cakes.)
While cakes cool, prepare the filling. For the marshmallow filling: In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and vegetable shortening until light and fluffy. (Use high speed on a handheld mixer or medium-high speed on a stand mixer.) Add the powdered sugar and beat until combined. Add the marshmallow creme and vanilla extract. Mix until fluffy. For the cream cheese filling: Cream together cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl until light and fluffy, about 45 seconds. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. Mix to combine. Filling should be fluffy. It it's too thick, add another teaspoon of milk to thin.
Sandwich cooled whoopie pies together.