Red Velvet is my ultimate favorite kind of cake. Please, please be generous with the cream cheese frosting while we’re at it! No, more. More generous frosting! Now that we’ve established that I like frosting, let’s get down to the business of love.
Happy Valentine’s Day, folks! Or, you know, happiness for the upcoming one. Sis and I decided it would be fun to, for once, put out a themed recipe before the theme passes us by! Yes! We did it. And now that we have, it’s as if we’ve set standard for ourselves. We’ll have to put up themed recipes for holidays like Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Fourth of July…um, sure. I think I’ll just count us lucky for getting this one up!
Moving on, we decided to whip us up some whoopie pies and possibly even decorate ’em up all cute-like. I’d heard about these treats at some point last year, but never got around to them. Then the cooking guardian angel that is my mother-in-law bought me a whoopie pie pan and recipe book. The book is Whoopie Pies, and it’s by Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell. It’s a darn cute book, and between it and the Wilton whoopie pie pan, I knew we’d have to make some sooner rather than later.
And then I saw the recipe. Red. Velvet. Which equals Heaven in my book. Oh yes. Let’s make you, little whoopies!
Don’t be alarmed – we just made these things really red. The original recipe calls for a lot of cocoa (which makes them very brown and not at all red) and we cut it down a lot and added in more red food dye so as to achieve the true red velvet color. This was a suggestion put forth by the authors of the book. We loooooved how red the batter got. At this point we were adding in half the milk and half the dry ingredients to the creamed butter/sugar mix.
Grab that prepped whoopie pie pan (or if you don’t have one, see below for alternate means of baking), and fill each with about two tablespoons of fluffy cake batter. Help it along by spreading the batter the the edge of each well.
Peek-a-booooo! They’re. So. Red! This makes me so happy.
While the whoopie cakes were a-baking, you made frosting! Well, we did. We made Lemon Mascarpone frosting! Yep, sure did. *lick*
Then we got little hands to help, because everyone knows that cute, sweet treats are made so by cute, sweet little people.
Cute, sweet treats like this.
That came from a sweetie like this!
Sweetie worked very hard!
And it shows.
I love them decorated up for Valentine’s Day, but I also have a special liking for the simply made ones.
You can make these as low-key or as decorated as you want. Dust them with powdered sugar, pipe some decorative frosting on the tops, whatever you like. Me? It’s a good thing I tend to work a little messy when it comes to cakes. I kind of like ’em that way. They don’t have to be perfect, right? They do need to taste good, and oh man, these did taste good. So good that I daresay this could be the best red velvet cake I’ve tasted!
Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
from Whoopie Pies by Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, unsalted, room temperature
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ounce red food coloring (see notes)
- 1 cup buttermilk
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into a bowl or onto a sheet of wax paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat together the butter, shortening and both sugars on low speed until just combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy and smooth, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and red food coloring and beat until just blended.
Add half of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk to the batter and beat on low until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add remaining flour mixture and buttermilk and beat until completely combined.
Using a spoon, drop about 1 tablespoon of batter onto one of the prepped baking sheets and repeat,spacing them at least 2 inches apart. (If you use the whoopie pie pans, you’ll use two tablespoons of batter per well and spread them to the well edges with a knife.) Bake one sheet at a time for about 10 minutes or until cakes begin to brown. Remove from oven and let cakes cool on sheet for at least 5 minutes (whoopie pie pan cakes should cool in their wells for about 5-8 minutes) before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 48 two-inch cakes, or about 24 completed whoopie pies.
Lemon Mascarpone Filling
- 2 -3 cups confectioners’ sugar (see notes)
- 1/2 cup mascarpone chese, room temperature
- 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (optional)
Sift confectioners’ sugar onto a sheet of parchment paper. In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the mascarpone and butter. Add the sugar on low speed. Increase speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about three minutes. Add lemon extract and zest (if using) and beat until combined.
Spread the filling on one whoopie half using a regular knife or pipe it on if you prefer. Top with another whoopie half and you’ve got a whoopie pie!
We used more red food coloring than the original recipe called for because we wanted ours to be very red. We suggest adding a little in at a time to see what level of red you prefer.
The original filling recipe calls for 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, but this was almost too sweet for us. If you don’t like frosting to be too sweet, maybe try 2 cups first, or less even, and up it should you prefer to.
You may also need to make additional frosting depending on how much you like to use.
According to the authors, whoopies don’t tend to travel well. I did take some in to work the next day and the cakes did stick to the wax paper I’d lined their box with. I think that’s because these little cakes do bake up very moist. Which is great for your taste buds, just not the appearance of the whoopies.
Since we used a cheese product in the filling, I did keep extras in the refrigerator.
Have fun making your whoopie pies!