I think of whoopie pies as a fun dessert, rather than a serious one. It’s not that they can’t be seriously delicious, but since they tend to be single serving treats without fancy decorations that you can eat with your hands, it’s easy to put them in the “fun” category. I love fun desserts because you can do so much with them. You can incorporate crazy flavors and crazy colors, making the treats even more fun and very festive. I wouldn’t color my apple pie red, white and blue with food coloring, for instance, but I didn’t hesitate to use them to turn a batch of whoopie pies into one of the most fun 4th of July desserts that you can eat!
These Red, White and Blue Whoopie Pies are rounds of cookie-like white cake that sandwich a creamy vanilla buttercream frosting. I used red and blue food coloring to tint the whoopie pie batter, and kept the frosting a bright white. It can be tricky to get a good red and blue color to baked goods (especially with blue), so I recommend being a bit generous when you add your coloring into the batter because those colors don’t get any darker during baking. Regular food coloring will work well, but gel food colorings are even better and deliver a stronger color. Starting with a white cake batter, rather than a yellow cake batter, also helps ensure that you get a good color in the finished product because the batter will be a bit more of a blank slate to begin with.
This batter is much more like cake batter than cookie dough, so while you can simply dollop it onto your baking sheet in rough rounds, you will get much better results if you pipe the batter into rounds instead. It takes an extra step to fill the piping bags, but the whole process goes much faster and with a lot more consistency if you go for it.
The cake portion of the pies are a little more dense than your average cake, but that makes them easy to handle and hold while you eat. They have a light vanilla and almond flavor to them, and they’re not very sweet on their own. They make a great base for all that vanilla buttercream, which is sweet, buttery and contrasts well in both color and flavor. Be generous with the frosting, both for the added sweetness and to get the maximum impact of your red, white and blue dessert.
Red, White and Blue Whoopie Pies
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large egg whites
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
red and blue food coloring
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg whites, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. Beat until batter is smooth and thick, about 2 minutes.
Stir half of the flour mixture into the butter mixture, followed by the milk. Stir in the remaining half of the flour mixture, mixing just until all the ingredients come together and no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Divide batter in half, transferring one portion to a new bowl.
Add red food coloring to one portion of the batter, and add blue food coloring to the rest. Be generous with your food coloring (gel colors are ideal; 1/4 tsp or so should give you good color) to get bright, vibrant colors.
Transfer red batter into a piping bag, or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off, and pipe batter into circles about 1 to 1 1/2-inches in diameter on prepared baking sheet. Pipe all red batter into rounds. Repeat with blue batter.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cakes are set and spring back when lightly pressed. Allow to cool completely before filling.
Makes about 18 whoopie pies (36 individual cakes).
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
2-2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
In a large bowl, beat together butter, vanilla and milk until well combined. Gradually blend in the confectioners’ sugar until frosting comes together and is thick, fluffy and spreadable. If frosting is too thick, add an additional teaspoon or two of milk until desired consistency is reached.