I'm not really sure what inspired me to make this recipe. I have been thinking about making a red velvet cake or cupcakes for some time now and when I started seeing all of the recipes for red velvet whoopie pies around Valentines Day I figured why not make them instead? This past fall I really wanted to make pumpkin whoopie pies, but I never got around to it so I figured now was the time to try out some whoopie pies. While I like pumpkin desserts, I really LOVE a good red velvet cake. I love the cream cheese frosting, the hint of cocoa, and the slightly tangy moistness from the buttermilk. I also love the the cake itself isn't typically that sweet. It really bothers me when you bite into a red velvet cake and either tastes like chocolate cake or vanilla cake. Or when it is totally dry and flavorless. Red velvet should be moist! Well, all cakes and cupcakes should be somewhat moist, but it bothers me most when red velvet is dry. What perhaps bothers me the most is when some bakeries serve red velvet cake with buttercream frosting instead of cream cheese frosting. Ick.
I really liked the cookie parts of these whoopie pies. I thought that the flavor balance and the slightly spongy texture were just perfect. The cream cheese frosting was a touch on the sweet side for me (although again it was texturally perfect), so I would probably cut down on the amount of powdered sugar just slightly. But I tend to prefer my cream cheese frosting a little less sweet than most people I know. All I know is that I couldn't eat an entire one of these on my own because they are rich and the frosting is sweet, so maybe in the future I will make them a little smaller or use just a little less frosting. Hurray for whoopie pies!
Recipe after the jump!
Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
Adapted from Annie's Eats
For the whoopie pies:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1/2 oz. red food coloring
For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Blend in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, beat in about a third of the dry ingredients, followed by half of the buttermilk, beating until just incorporated. Repeat so that all the buttermilk has been added and then mix in remaining dry ingredients. Do not overbeat. Fold in the food coloring.
Prepare the baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. If you want to be precise about it, trace circles onto reverse side of the parchment paper about 1-inch apart using a 2 to 3-inch cookie cutter as your guide.
Transfer the batter to a large freezer bag and cut off the corner (if you're better-equipped than we are, use pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip). Pipe the batter onto the parchment paper. You want to keep the batter inside the lines of your circles because they will spread out and expand a little. Bake 7-10 minutes or until the tops are set. If you have to use two baking sheets, rotate them halfway through. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheets.
To make the cream cheese frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth. Mix in the vanilla extract. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth.
Using the same method you used to pipe the whoopie pies, transfer the frosting into a plastic bag or piping bag.
Pair the cookies up by shape and size. Pipe frosting onto the flat side of one cookie per pair, leaving the edges clear. Sandwich the cookies together so the flat sides are facing each other and press gently to help the filling reach the edges.
To store, refrigerate in an airtight container.