Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lemon Whoopie Pies

In perusing the breadth of lemony treats I've posted, I've come to the realization that lemon may be the bain of my existence.  There has been something wrong with literally every lemon recipe I've made.  Allow me to recap:

Stained-Glass Flower Lollipops: the candy wasn't right the first time, so I had to replace the Dum-dums with Jolly Ranchers
Cherry-Lemon Meringue Mini Pies: got stuck in the pan so I had to finished them off in the pan and give the whole pan to Cindy (minus the one that I tried to get out, broke, and subsequently ate)
Glazed Lemonade (aka Revamped Soft Lemonade): ok, these weren't a fail, but they were the corrected version of my super fail...
Soft Lemonade: which failed to taste lemony.  But as least I could salvage them into lemon macaroons for Soft Lemonade--Salvaged

One might wonder why I continue to battle a flavor that fails me over and over again.  Perhaps I'm so super dedicated to you that I want to deliver the perfect lemon dessert.  Or perhaps I'm just a masochist.  Either way, I tried yet again and hopefully am headed in the right direction.

These whoopie pies were on the docket for birthday baking for a friend of mine, but that got delayed because I wasn't going to see her.  So I decided to test the recipe and make them for a work party.  I scoured the interwebz for a good lemon whoopie pie recipe.  I really wanted one that was going to result in a thick cakey layer with fresh lemony flavor smooshing a layer of creamy sweet yet tangy lemon icing.  So many of the recipes were resulting in too-thin desserts not worthy of the title whoopie pie.  But eventually I stumbled upon this recipe from Cook That Book where Jasmine was cooking from the book, Whoopie Pies by Sarah Billingsley, Amy Treadwell, and Antonis Achilleos.  Jasmine did a review of the book and then posted the recipe, so that was nice to see.  It was odd though, that in her book review, Jasmine mentioned that the recipe in the book left out the part about when to add the dry ingredients to the wet, but when she posted the recipe, she didn't put it in either.  Because I love you, I've entered it below.

I used a different icing because I didn't have marcarpone cheese. The icing comes from Cupcakes! from the Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn.  The whoopie pies did turn out as I wanted them--thicker cakes, solid icing--but the lemon just wasn't as intense as I'd hoped for.  It was nice but subtle and at the party they got good reviews.  But when I have something lemon, I want to know that it's lemon.  In hindsight, I should have swapped the vanilla extract for lemon and called it a day.  But live and learn.  Plus, this means that I have to try yet another lemon recipe to give you the goods you deserve.

Lemon Whoopie Pies


2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons butter, softened
4 Tablespoons vegetable shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk (or put 1 1/2 teaspoons of vinegar into measure cup and add enough milk to bring to 1/2 cup)
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¹⁄² teaspoon vanilla or lemon extract

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl or onto a flexible cutting mat or piece of waxed paper.

With an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and shortening together, then add sugars and continue beating until light and creamy, scraping sides of bowl as necessary (about 3 minutes).

Add the eggs and buttermilk and beat until combined.  Add lemon zest, lemon juice and extract and beat on medium for 2 minutes.  Gradually add dry ingredients and mix until completely incorporated.

Using a small cookie scoop, drop batter onto a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 12 minutes or until the edges start to brown.  Turn baking sheet 180 degrees halfway through. If using more than one sheet at a time, rotate positions in the oven for more even baking.

Remove from oven and let cool on sheet for about 5 minutes before removing to complete cooling on wire racks.

Lemon Icing


3 Tablespoons butter, softened
3 ounces, cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 1/2 -2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Using the beater attachment of an electric mixer, beat together butter and cream cheese, scraping sides of bowl as necessary.  Mix in lemon juice and zest.  Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy.

Pair together similarly sized cakes.  Pipe or spread icing onto the bottom of one cake. Top with the other cake, sandwich style.

Makes 24 whoopie pies.

Happy Baking,
The Cooking Princess

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