Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cake of the Week: Whoopie Pies with Coconut Walnut Filling

It happened again. There I was, alone in the kitchen,

blending, boiling and beating, 

chopping, carmelizing, and creaming, 

measuring, mixing and melting and just generally making my baking magic...

when it happened. I dipped my finger into my culinary concoction and Oh. My. Goodness. I did a little dance and declared aloud, Wow. Wooowwwww!

Last time this happened I was in DC, making butterscotch from scratch for the first time. This time, the setting was a bit different (I was in Jess’s kitchen in Boston). And the concoction was different too. But my reaction and pure glee upon the discovery of something AMAZING was the same. Yuuuuummmmm!

So is the suspense killing you yet? Just what was this amazingness? Well, the project was Whoopie Pies with Coconut Pecan Filling. And the particular component in question was the Coconut Walnut Filling.  DAMN. That is the best thing I have ever dipped an apple slice into! Carmely and coconutty and walnutty and fabulous.

And the whoopie pies were good too! The cake part is chocolatey and not too sweet, so it pairs well with the decadent filling. Normally a whoopie pie is made like a sandwich cookie, but mine puffed up so much that I decided to just cut them in half and fill the insides.

I had never heard of whoopie pies until I made their acquaintance in the West Campus Dining Hall freshman year. They are cookie-shaped cakey domes, sandwhiching some sort of frosting filling. Traditionally they are made with chocolate cake and vanilla filling, but like any cake, the filling/cake possibilities are endless! I think I could really get into these little babies.  

They’re a lot like a cupcake, but more portable. They store well, and you don’t have to worry about the frosting getting messed up in transportation.

I made mine miniature, but you can make them as big as you like. And make extra filling. Trust me, you will definitely want it.

Whoopie Pies With Coconut Pecan (Walnut) Filling


4 ounces (1 stick) butter, softened

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 large egg

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, Dutch-process if you have it

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk, low fat is fine (or soured milk - 1 cup milk + 1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice. Let it sit for at least 20 minutes)


3/4 cup evaporated milk

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup granulated sugar

4 ounces butter (1 stick)

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 large egg yolks, slightly beaten

1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut

1 cup chopped pecans (I used walnuts)


Heat oven to 350°. Grease a large baking sheet or 6-cup muffin top pan.

In a large mixer bowl with electric mixer, cream butter with sugar until smooth and creamy. Beat in the egg and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

Add about 1/3 of the dry mixture to the creamed mixture, along with half of the buttermilk. Beat until blended. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture to the batter, along with the remaining buttermilk. Beat until blended. Blend in the remaining 1/3 of the flour mixture until batter is smooth.

Drop batter on the prepared baking sheet or muffin top pan, about 1/4-cup at a time, leaving about 2 inches between the mounds. You should be able to bake 6 at a time. Bake for about 14 to 16 minutes, until the cakes spring back when lightly touched. Transfer cakes to a rack to cool completely.


In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the evaporated milk, sugars, butter, and vanilla. Bring the mixture to a full boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Quickly whisk a small amount of the hot liquid (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup) into the beaten yolks. Return yolk mixture to the hot mixture in the saucepan and blend well. Return to the heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower heat to medium-low and boil gently, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut and pecans. Cool until the mixture reaches spreading consistency, stirring frequently.

When the filling is thick and spreadable, spread a generous amount on the bottom (flat side) of a cake. Place another cake on the first one to make a whoopie pie.

Makes about 12 large whoopie pies.