One of my coworkers brought in some fresh picked organic lemons from his backyard, and I couldn’t resist bringing a bunch of lemons home to do some baking. After all, what’s more perfect for spring, sunny weather than lemons?
I’ve been reading whoopie pie recipes left and right in various baking blogs lately, and had been looking for an opportunity to try to make some myself. I started with a basic lemon cake recipe, and adapted it from there.
2 cups AP flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup dried buttermilk
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp lemon rind/shredded peel
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 oz cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup butter (softened)
1 tsp lemon rind/peel
2 tsp lemon juice
4 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 325.
Measure out the 2 cups of sugar into a bowl. Grate the lemon rind directly into the sugar. Mix (I use a plastic container with a lid and just shake). Set aside. You can do this in advance of baking – the longer you let the rind and sugar sit, the better. Shake the container every so often to encourage those lemon oils to go into the sugar.
Mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and buttermilk powder, set aside.
Cream the now lemony sugar together with the butter until fluffy. Add the lemon juice, then the flour mixture. Slowly add the water until you get a thickish batter, feel free to use less of the water if you want thicker pies.
Drop the batter by the teaspoon onto a cookie sheet. These will spread – a lot – I could only really bake 6 or so at a time on a full size sheet. The larger the batter drop the larger the cookie will be widthwise, you will not get more thickness by using more batter (use less water for that).
Bake for 8-11 minutes, remove to a rack to cool. The “cookies” should be slightly brown around the edges, but still mostly yellow. When the cookies come out of the oven, sprinkle the tops of the cookies with yellow sanding sugar (or other coarse, decorating sugar) if desired for a little crunch and sparkle.
Mix together the cream cheese, lemon, and butter until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until the desired stiffness is achieved. If desired, add yellow coloring gel at this point. Be careful with icing, a little goes a very long way! I got the color right on the icing for the whoopie pies, but…as you’ll see…I kind of made neon day-glo glaze for the muffins. Oopsies, you can laugh at me in the next post.
To assemble: Easy as pie. Once the cookies have cooled, take one, spread icing on the flat side with a knife or offset spatula. Top with another cookie, flat side down. You can get fancy with piping if you want, I did for a little while, but the results are barely visible and not really worth the extra effort.
Let the cookies sit for another hour or so for the icing to set and the cake to firm up, then dig in!
Yield fully depends on how big you make the cookies – I’d guestimate I got about 20-something cookies out of this batch. The icing was the perfect amount.
Aren’t they pretty?