Thursday, 22 April 2010

Two Fat Cats Whoopie Pie



My husband has renamed these WooHoo Pies.  For some bizarre reason (I totally blame Michelle Pfeiffer), every time I read Whoopie, my brain translates it to Sex.  Yes, I know it is spelled differently and I can't imagine any Amish having such impure thoughts when they ripped into their lunchboxes in the fields.  Sex Pies just sounds weird.  And wrong.  But maybe I just lack imagination?  Actually, I can't expend any more brain matter on the association of Whoopie Pies with sex - it is totally weirding me out.

Whoopie Pies have become the new cupcake in London.  They are even in Harrods.  But that shouldn't surprise me - Harrods sell everything, including lion cubs (not the stuffed variety).  And if ever there was a better photo of the owners resembling their pets, then I would love to see it!

My one and only dalliance with the UK version of the Whoopie Pie left me wholly unimpressed - I won't tell you where I got it from, let's just say they were American and I paid a number of pounds and I expected a whole lot more.  True, it was big.  Massive.  So I didn't expect more "size", just more taste.  The problem was the cake was dry and the buttercream filling was gritty and almost inedible.  Even my son wouldn't eat any of it and handed it back to me.  It was akin to cheese (for some bizarre reason, he loves vegetables but detests cheese) to his little tastebuds.

Given that experience, Rose's recipe could only be better.  And boy oh boy, was it ever better.   By a factor of approximately 11,547.  The ingredients were quite diverse for a chocolate cake - dark brown (muscovado of course) sugar, buttermilk, oil and butter, melted chocolate, cocoa and only one egg, then the usual flour and leavening.  My photos are a bit sparse.  It is a pretty dark mix, even before adding the melted chocolate and db sugar.



The method for this cake was to cream the fats with the sugar and then mix in the chocolate before alternately adding dry and wet ingredients.  Rose has you use a stand mixer, but you could definitely make this with a hand mixer, or even just with a wooden spoon and some decent arm action.

The trickiest thing about this recipe was portioning out the mounds of cake on the baking sheet.  I am quite envious of the range of icecream scoops the North Americans have access to.  How I wish that photo was of my collection.  My ice cream scoop is a tablespoon.  So given Rose mentioned that it was a 2 tablespoon ice cream scoop, I duly heaped out two tablespoons piles.  Sometime around the fourth pile I started to think that maybe I wouldn't get to Rose's 12 piles.  This photo is a bit deceptive, because they actually started out pretty big and then progressively got less big.  I ended up getting 10 piles. 


Instead of scraping it back in the bowl and starting again, I just made do.  Next time I will make these as one tablespoon portions.  That seems to be a better eating size - these massive ones were cut into quarters.  Which now makes me laugh because at no point did any of us stop at that substantial quarter.   So we had Whoopie pies as big as my head and also in a small perfect serving size for one.  The smaller diameter cakes had better height than the massive sprawling ones.   Having just read an Economist article I can compare my progressive Whoopie pies as LA vs Portland.  Both good, just in different ways.

On to the icing.  I substituted Corn syrup for Golden Syrup, because that was all I ever have.  And I probably heated it to over the recommended temperature, but it didn't spoil the icing.  I am not so sure it was fluffy like marshmallow but it tasted amazing.  I mixed this with a handmixer as it didn't seem to be enough volume to warrant the big guns.

Given my ridiculous portioning of the cakes, I decided to be a bit more precise in the application of icing to cake.   Which is unusually uptight of me - except I note that I am 2 grams under Rose's recommendation, so I am not *that* uptight it would appear.

I took these cakes to a friends place for dinner on Saturday night.  Both my husband and I rued that decision all the way home and then all the next day and then halfway into this week, which was a bit silly, since they never would have made it past Sunday.

This week we are moving house.  We are moving to a bright and sunny flat in Kew, about 300 metres from Kew Gardens.  If you are ever in London, and you are keen on the green, then catch the District Line out and see these amazing gardens.  They have two massive glass houses built in the mid 1800's when collecting exotic plants was all the rage.

Even in the midst of moving I will be baking a few things, mainly because my extremely sweet toothed father in law is finally making it to London on Monday night.  They were due to arrive last week, however Iceland's revenge took care of that.  And a week without a plane overhead every 45 seconds was really quite peaceful, but eerie.  I would have felt like I was on a deserted island, except for I catch the Tube to work every day, and you never feel isolated when your face is pressed into some stranger's armpit.  Even if they don't acknowledge your existence.

Things will be a bit quiet around here, mainly because we didn't sort out our internet connection, and that will take five working days.  Whoops.  And also because we are off to Seville on Wednesday evening until the 4th of May.   I won't be baking cakes that weekend, but I may well eat a few...  So, see you in a week or two.


I have a special warning message for Marie, given that she is celebrating breaking the back of Rose's +90 cakes in the HCB.  (BTW, this mug is excellent to drink tea from).


6 comments:

  1. Seville, as in Spain? If you come across one of those Salt Pinch Cakes, do me a favor and pinch it back. Have fun. Will miss your cake reviews. I'm still howling over the face in the armpit visual. Are you quite certain I can't come over to be your son's nanny? I mean not that Kew Gardens has anything to do with it.....

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  2. ב''ה

    Your pies look great!

    11,547 you say? Oh, I was off by 5 in my estimate...

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  3. Great post!! LOL! And your WhooHoo pies look great! Are those your ice-cream scoops? That's a lot of ice-cream scoops in different sizes! Now I'm envious! I can only find 3 sizes here in Singapore..that means i have only 3 sizes..:(

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  4. I'm sooooo jealous, God how I miss living in Europe. Sevilla! OLE! Disfrutalo Guapa!

    And I totally get where you were getting the reference of the Whoopie pies and Michelle on top of the piano. In fact, when I posted the recipe on my Facebook page, I typed in "I just made Whoopie!"...

    Enjoy your vacation and of course the visit from your in-laws.

    And of yeah, before I forget - I WANT A CUP LIKE THAT!!!!!!

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  5. Faithy :: I wish that those scoops were mine. But no, they are just wishful thinking!

    Vicki :: Yes, Seville as in Spain. My Father in law and stepmother in law are about to take over the reigns as nanny. Given they have relocated from Australia to do so, you may have to fight them for it!

    Mendy :: It was a rough approximation :)

    Monica :: Laughing at your facebook page - that would have raised alot of eyebrows! The cup is fab. I want it on a t-shirt (except that everyone would nod knowingly and comment that I actually needed to eat alot less cake!)

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  6. Fabulous. I wondered how the filling would be made with Lyle's. Thanks for sharing, and funny post!

    :)
    ButterYum

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