Moist little pumpkin cakes sandwiched with a cream filling…truly yummy and so perfect for Thanksgiving or really anytime this fall.  My friend Ali wanted to try and taste these before her guests did, and thought a dry run was a good idea.  She does this with her whole Thanksgiving meal (save for the turkey!)  I told her to go for it, but she then clarified the request stating that perhaps I should make them and she and the girls could help.  I was game and so we did!  The girls loved pulling this easy batter together, smelling and touching all the spices as they were incorporated.  They spooned the batter onto the sheet pans and piped some too, taking delight in the process.  Their favorite part was filling them with frosting and of course, eating them.  The pumpkin flavor is perfect and if you don’t over-bake these, they are so very moist – in fact Sylvie preferred them plain.  Andy loves these as Ali and I do, and Rob too thought really tasty although he would prefer something gooey and chocolatey for dessert and thought this would be great with tea (if he drank it, but doesn’t).  Jodi took a taste for Lauren who adored them saying “awesome and ginger and cinnamon rock!” We first tried these with a more traditional marshmallow filling and found it to be too sweet and clashed a bit with the pumpkin.  Instead we opted for a sweet cream cheese filling that hit the spot hard.  Enjoy –

*Oh, because of the cream cheese filling these have to be refrigerated if storing overnight.  They are good cold, but best if you pull out 30 minutes before you plan to serve again.

pumpkin whoopie pies (adapted from Cook What You Love by Robert and Melinda Blanchard):


3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 (15 oz) can unsweetened pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
6 ounces cream cheese (not whipped), at room temp
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
2 pinches kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2-3 sheet-pans with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, clove and ginger.  Set aside.

With the paddle attachment of your mixer (or hand held beaters) beat the butter and brown sugar until lighter and fluffy – for about 4-5  minutes.  Scrape the bowl down and mix in again.

Add the pumpkin, eggs and vanilla and mix on medium speed until combined.  Scrape and mix again.

On the lowest speed, stir in the flour in 2 batches, mixing until just incorporated.

Place heaping tablespoons (we made some bigger – but keep the same size on each sheet-pan) onto the sheet-pan.  We used a spoon, an ice cream scooper and a piping bag without a tip.  The piped cookies came out the prettiest but the spooned ones were just fine and obviously taste the same.

Baking time is tough here.  The book calls for 10-12 minutes – but my cakes took much longer.  I also had the oven packed with 3 sheet-pans – so that might have been why.  I think you should check your cakes after 10 minutes but then keep setting your timer for 5-3 – 2 minutes after that – and pull when the tops spring back when you touch them or when a toothpick comes out just clean.  My middle pan took about 20 minutes to cook but my top pan about 14 – so again, just check and check often.  You don’t want to over-bake.

While cooling, make the filling.  Place the butter, cream cheese and vanilla in the bowl of your mixer (or with hand held beaters) and beat with paddle until smooth and creamy – for about a minute.  Scrape and mix again.

Add the confectioners’ sugar and pinches of salt and mix until smooth – about 1 minute.  Scrape and mix again.  If the mixture is too soft you can refrigerate for 20 minutes (especially if cookies are too warm).  Mine was just right.

With an offset spatula or knife spread filling onto the bottom of a cookie-cake and top with the bottom of another to form your whoopie pies.  Enjoy-

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