Red, White, and Blue Whoopie Pies

6 07 2012

Happy 4th of July (a few days late!) I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

A holiday in the middle of the week really throws me off. Yesterday felt like Monday, and today, well, today is Friday! Whoopie!

Speaking of, I’ve got a recipe for some festive Whoopie Pies!

When Mary invited me to her 4th of July party, I knew I wanted to make something red, white, and blue. My first thought was to make these:

(source)

Which, I’m sure everyone has seen on Pinterest. I was on my way to buy the ingredients when the thought popped into my head to make whoopie pies in red, white, and blue. I have no idea where the idea came from, but I immediately started Googling recipes. My initial idea was to make them with fruit, because I didn’t want to cause Mary’s party guests to walk around with tye-dyed mouths. And though one of my favorite cakes is red velvet, I was anti-red and blue velvet for this event. It seemed too easy and used too much food coloring. I searched for strawberry and blueberry whoopie pies, but was disappointed because none of the recipes had cake that was really striking in color. I guess I’ll have to keep looking…

As the 4th was approaching, I was still concocting my recipe in my head, but I was seriously concerned about how the fruit (either in pieces, or cooked down to a liquid) would affect the cake.

Then, it hit me:

Why not use Kool-Aid? If it can dye someone’s hair, I’m sure it would make some bright colored cake! I also got the idea to use Jello mix as well, so I picked up some Berry Blue and Raspberry to try out.

Here’s where the nerdy food scientist came out in me. I really wanted to know which would be a better dye for the cakes, so I decided to do an experiment and make one batch with Kool Aid and the other with Jello.

I started with the Kool Aid, and followed this recipe.

Things were looking good as I piped the cake onto my cookie sheet.

I pulled them out of the oven after 10 minutes, but unfortunately, they were less cake-like and more crunchy cookie like. I think I cooked them a little too long for as small as I made them (~1.5 inches in diameter), but I blamed the recipe and opted to try the other recipe I found. This recipe basically seemed like the red velvet recipe without the cocoa powder, so I hoped it would be more cakey.

This time, I used the Jello mix as the dye. Unfortunately, the blue was a bit too pale for me, and when they baked, they lost the little brightness they had. However, the consistency of these was exactly what I was looking for. Light and fluffy, like a cake!

Thankfully (I think?) I had purchased four packets of Kool Aid, and I still had one red and one blue left. So, I made one more batch, following the 2nd recipe. SUCCESS!

I made these a little bigger and only put them in the oven for 6 minutes, which made all the difference. I still browned the bottoms of many of them which was frustrating, but had I baked them for a shorter amount of time, they wouldn’t have been cooked through! I definitely still need to play with the recipe!

I let them cool completely before filling them with a marshmallow cream filling. I followed the recipe on this blog but unfortunately, my filling didn’t turn out light and fluffy. So, I decided to add more marshmallow fluff and some cream cheese for good measure. Um, not such a good idea. It was a gooey, sticky mess, and if the whoopie pies weren’t completely parallel to the surface they were sitting on, this happened:

sliiiiiidde to the left!

When it was all said and done, I was able to capture a few decent pictures of the finished product.

(thanks, Instagram)

As for the taste, I thought they were only okay. They were very fruity (duh) and a bit tart, but clearly full of sugar- think Pixie Sticks of Sweet Tarts. At least they didn’t taste like Red 40 (even though it is like the 2nd ingredient in the red Kool Aid flavors…)

The recipe still needs some tweaking, but I definitely plan on attempting whoopie pies again. Next time, I think I’ll stick to more “normal” flavors, and leave the Kool Aid out!

Question of the day: Have you ever had whoopie pies? Do you prefer the traditional chocolate cake with white filling, or have you had some fun, funky flavor?

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Pumpkin Cake Balls

19 10 2011

So remember when I promised these?

Well friends, here you go!

A few weeks ago, I was craving something pumpkiny, and something chocolately. I  knew exactly what I wanted- pumpkin cake balls! Unfortunately, I was at work with no way of satisfying this craving. And, after work, I was headed home to NJ so I couldn’t even make them in the evening! Dah!

About a week after the craving hit, I finally had the time to make these babies. And let me tell you, they were perfect.

They’re really sweet, so one is plenty to satisfy a craving (But I often ate more than one in a sitting. It’s so easy to pop them in your mouth!)

These would be great to bring to a party, especially if you don’t want to eat them all yourself (but then again, you’ll probably want to).

Pumpkin Cake Balls

What you’ll need:

1 box butter cake mix (you could probably use yellow or vanilla too)
1 stick of butter
2/3 Cup Water
3 Large Eggs
(or whatever the box calls for to make the cake)
1 can pumpkin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Cream cheese icing (Store bought, or homemade)
1 bag of chocolate chips

Prepare the cake batter as directed on the box. Then, blend in the pumpkin and the spices.

Bake as directed, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool completely.

Prepare a cookie sheet, covering it with wax paper.

Then, crumble the cake into small pieces.

Prepare the icing.

Stir the icing into the crumbled cake, enough so that the cake is completely covered by the icing, but its not too icing-y. Note: I didn’t use the entire bowl. When you’ve reached the appropriate consistency, start rolling the cake into balls. Place the balls onto the cookie sheet and refrigerate for a few hours.

When you’re ready to dip them in chocolate, melt the bag of chocolate chips in a double boiler. (Or in a small pot on top of a slightly bigger pot, like I did.)

Pull the balls out of the fridge, and begin dipping in the melted chocolate. Warning, this part is messy! I dipped using two forks. It may be easier to make these as cake pops, using the stick to help you dip.

Place the dipped balls back on the cookie sheet and into the fridge, so the chocolate hardens. Or, eat them right away, if you don’t want to wait.

These are really rich, but REALLY good!

Enjoy!

Question of the day: What kind of cake ball should I try making next?