Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hoppy Easter!

We are flying to New Jersey this evening for Easter, and I made some treats to bring. My sister-in-law is having an Easter lunch party on Saturday, and then we are doing Easter at Peter's mom's house. I made pink and green whoopie pies for Saturday, and an Easter cake for Sunday.

Let's start with the whoopie pies. I wanted to make plain vanilla ones so I could dye them pink and green. Most whoopie pies are chocolate or red velvet so I had to do some digging to find a vanilla recipe. I ended up finding it on the King Arthur Flour website. Their recipe is for reverse whoopie pies - vanilla cakes with chocolate filling. But I wanted to make mine all pastel and white and pretty so I did vanilla filling, and in the pink ones I added some raspberry jam. This recipe makes about a dozen whoopie pies. Here we go...

1 cup (2 sticks 8 ounces) unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar
3 large eggs
4 1/2 cups (19 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 cup (8 ounces) milk
2 cups (12 ounces) chocolate chips, optional

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, salt, vanilla, baking powder, and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour to the wet ingredients alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Do this gently; there’s no need to beat the batter. Stir in the chocolate chips at the end.

Using a muffin scoop, or a 1/4-cup measure, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Wet your fingers, and flatten and smooth each mound of dough to a circle about 3" across. Leave 2 to 2 1/2 inches between each cookie, for expansion.

Bake the cookies for 11 minutes, or until they’re barely set on top; they won’t have colored at all. Cool them on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

I didn't have an ice cream scoop so I tried to get them as round as I could using two big spoons.

Time for the frosting! This recipe is from Paula Deen. I cut it in half, which was just enough for both the whoopie pies and the cake, but if you're worried about running out or having extra for mistakes definitely make the full recipe. I was scraping the bowl to get enough to cover the cake.

2 sticks butter, room temperature
8 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream softened butter and add 4 cups sugar, milk and vanilla. Beat with paddle attachment until smooth gradually add the rest of sugar to reach frosting consistency.

And now, making the whoopie pies. Put about 1-2 tablespoons of icing on the underside of one cookie, but don't spread it - just drop the spoonful on there. Make your sandwich and gently squeeze it together to get the frosting to spread to the edges. And for the raspberry ones, this picture below is the way NOT to do it. The jam I used was at room temperature, and I found it was better to spread a small amount on one of the cookies and then do the frosting part. The way I did it in this picture below was too much jam and it ended up squeezing out the sides.

And now, for the cake. My sister's birthday is right around Easter and every year, going back to a long time ago, my mom makes Easter/birthday cupcakes. They are vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting, topped with coconut that's been dyed green to look like Easter grass, and finished off with pastel M&M's to look like little Easter eggs. I wanted to do the same, but cupcakes are too hard to transport on the plane (especially when you also have a batch of whoopie pies) so I did a cake version. I haven't tried this recipe before, I just wanted to find one that is for a square 9x9 inch pan because that's what I wanted to take on the plane, and this one got good reviews.

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x9 inch pan or line a muffin pan with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.

Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven. For cupcakes, bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back to the touch.

I decided to add mini Robin Eggs (Whoppers) in addition to the M&M's. So, the baking is done, and the whoopie pies are all wrapped up. Now I just have to figure out how to carry all this stuff on the plane. Oy.


  1. How rude of you to put these up to show me what you WON'T be bring home to Ohio....but well done, nonetheless

  2. Good for you, I love the pink and green tints. Whoopies with raspberry jam are some of my favorites, but I've never met a Whoopie I didn't like. The Easter cake is so pretty too.

    Happy Baking!

    ~ MaryJane @ King Arthur Flour