April 01, 2009

The Foolish Baker

I figured April Fool's Day was the perfect day to show you how this fool spent her weekend -- elbow deep in flour and sugar.

I took a pass on The Daring Bakers' challenge this month (lasagne); for some reason I just wasn't into it (maybe I've turned into The Moody Baker?).

The March 18 Dining section of the New York Times was chock-o-block with good recipes, in particular the one found in the cover story on the renaissance of the whoopie pie. Nothing says Amish Country to me more (expect maybe a horse a buggy) than these tasty treats. If you haven't had, they're like a cross between Devil Dogs and that Entenmann's cake with the crumbs on top. Just much better.

The Dining section was passed off to me by a co-worker in an exchange that went something like this:

Dave: Laura, I thought you'd like this article.

Laura: Thanks, Dave!

Dave: I love whoopie pies.

Laura: Mmm hmm. {silence}

Dave: {blink} {blink} And I thought, "I bet Laura would make these for me."

So off I went, with "sucker" stamped on my head, and the Dining section tucked into my bag.

I also spotted a blood orange olive oil cake that was too unusual and tempting to pass up. I printed both recipes from the web site so I'd have clean copies to easily follow (you can find them on the Times' web site, just click here and here.)

I gathered all of the supplies for both:

If you've ever had whoopie pies and thought, "Wow, I wonder why this white stuff in the center is so delicious?" it's because it takes two sticks of butter to make filling for only six of them. Call your cardiologist!

There's also double boiling and a candy thermometer involved, which I couldn't take a picture of for fear I'd drop my camera into 180 degree egg whites (or, 176 degree, where mine decided to park themselves at). It was a bit of a chore, but when whipped with the sugar I have to say it made a beautiful and shiny buttercream (with the emphasis on BUTTER):

The "shells" were super easy, not unlike a typical cookie recipe. Just give them room to spread:

And you will have some of the most fabulous whoopie pies. I didn't pipe the frosting or do anything fancy. I kept it old school:

And while the pies were still cooling (you can see them in the background of the next photo) I got working on the cake. The blood oranges and grated zest mixed in with sugar just looked so pretty and springy. I'm sure you could do this with any orange, but the red specks really looked nice doting the inside of the cake.

The cake/bread was out of this world. And practically out of its pan:

I had to let it bake beyond the recipe's suggested 55 minutes to allow for it to cook through that super puffy center. Mine stayed in for around 75 minutes, and that was in an oven that had been on for over an hour at to begin with.

I wrapped each of the whoopie pies up lovingly for Dave, the co-worker (whose birthday just passed, incidentally), and oh-so-carefully packed them in a bag to take to work Monday. I kept them on my lap on the train so they would look terrific when the seven of us (me and the six pies) arrived in midtown. And when I got to the office I quickly realized I was a fool once again.

Dave is on vacation this week.


j.cro said...

More whoopie for everyone else then! They look BEAUTIFUL!

Keetha said...

I saw that butter picture and said "That's A LOT of butter!!" even before I read what you said.

Oh my
Those whoopie pies
Look to die

abby jenkins said...

You are killing me!!! Those whoopie pies look AMAZING!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Wow! Looks divine, Laura! I'm starving now. Gee thanks... LOL!


Sheila :-)

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Wowzer! I saw those whoop pies in the NYT and thought they looked like something that would be very very good but very very bad for my hips so I passed on making them. Now I can live vicariously through your photos! How did they taste? I hope you had one left over to freeze for Dave..lol

Your blood orange cake is making my mouth water -- now that is something I'd LOVE to eat! Did it taste as good as it looks?

I think you'll like April's DB!


Joyce said...

NO WAY!!!!!! All this for Dave to be on vacation!! Is it too late to fedx those to me? This is on my new eating plan right?!

I love to make whoopie! I don't recall my recipe filling being a lot of work. I'm going to check out your recipe.

Let me know if you need my address. lol.... xoxoxo!

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

You are so funny! That last line has me laughing out loud. LOL

All that butter is the last thing I need...I don't know how you stay so skinny!

They do look delicious though!

:) Diane

heidi said...

If I only knew.... I'd be on the next train in for one of those!!!!

Bonbon Oiseau said...

WHOOPIE! PIES! nice work!

Purple Flowers said...

I know I only live about an hour from you (northern part of the state). I'd be happy to take those whoopie pies off your hands, and put one in my mouth. They looked yummy! I bet the blood orange/olive oil cake was good too. I've made apple/olive oil cake. As you know, you don't taste the olive oil, it's for moisture.
You are quite the Baker!!
I follow several of the Blogs for Daring Bakers. Those results almost don't look real. They belong in a glossy magazine. I know my cooking and baking doesn't look like theirs. I'm more of a home baker. No one would ever confuse my baking with a Pro - that's for sure. Anyway, keep on
baking! :)

Kwana said...

Oh no! All that and vacation. At least he gets to read the post. That is so funny. I can't believe all the butter for the filling. I'll be laughing all day over this one.

Weef! said...

The whoopie pies look amazing!

I am a devil dog addict (though I've recently had to cut back, what with that whole "after 30 metabolism slow-down" thing) but I may have to try these. Poor Dave! He missed his chance... ;)

And, the blood orange cake intriuges me. I may just have to try that one too!

Kudos to being a Daring Non-Conformist Baker!

Caren said...

Wow. Those look delish. I live not too far from the Land of the Whoopie Pie and I must say, I think you'd give those Amish gals a run for their money with those little babies.

Sorry your friend was on vacation, I guess you'll be making them again.