Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

The spring semester of my junior year began last Wednesday, but more importantly, the BCS National Championship game was the Monday before that. So in honor of the Crimson Tide playing LSU for a second time this season in New Orleans, I decided to make red velvet whoopie pies.

My dad gave me a book about whoopie pies for Christmas, and this was the first time I made them. They turned out a lot bigger than I'd planned. Next time I will definitely make them smaller. But they were still extremely good. My family and I were actually a little surprise by how good they were.

I used the recipe for red velvet whoopie pies from Whoopie Pies by Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell. In the book, it calls for 1 cup of cocoa powder but there is a side note that says you can adjust that if you want because one of the authors, Sarah, likes a lot of it in her red velvet whoopies. I decided to use less, so my recipe ended up looking like this:

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 vegetable shortening
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
red food coloring

Cream Cheese Filling
4 ounces (half package) cream cheese, room temp
4 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. In one bowl, stir together the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
2. In another bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter, shortening, sugar, and brown sugar on low speed. Then beat on medium speed for 5 minutes.
3. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each one.
4. Add vanilla and red food coloring. (When it comes to food coloring, I just kind of wing it.)
5. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl often. Add half the dry ingredients and half of the buttermilk and beat on low speed. Then add the remaining dry ingredients and buttermilk.

Preheat the oven on 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You'll probably need more than one baking sheet. The book says to drop 1 tablespoon of the batter at a time, placing them 2 inches apart. (I used an ice cream/cake batter scoop because it was the easiest thing I had, but it made the whoopie pies much bigger than I expected. It really just depends on what size you want them to be.) Bake for 10 minutes, cool for 5, and then move them to a cooling rack.

For the filling, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, scraping the bowl often. Then add the vanilla and beat on medium speed for about 4 minutes.

When the cakes are cool enough, pipe the frosting onto one little cake and top it with another one. Then enjoy!


Owl Cake

I'm in love with Pinterest and my roommate, Lizz, loves owls, so when I saw a tutorial for how to make an owl cake on Pinterest, I knew exactly what I was doing for her birthday cake.

The tutorial tells you how to make an owl out of two circle cakes.

You leave one circle whole and then you cut out all the other pieces from the second circle. In the tutorial suggests that you draw it out on parchment paper and lay it across the top of the cake so you know you're cutting it out right, but normally when it comes to these things, I just wing it.

First I cut out the head, which left a little less than half the circle. Then the wings were next. The feet and little ears were pretty easy after that and I had a tiny bit left over.

I made this cake during finals week, and originally I set aside what I thought was enough time to make and decorate it. Lizz loves red velvet (everyone should love red velvet cake) so I decided to make one from scratch. But once again, the crappy oven in our apartment completely burned the bottom of the first cake. On a whim, I cut into it and the middle wasn't even done. I made the cake a second time and it burned it again even after I adjusted the tempterature and how long I kept it in the oven.

But I was determined.

So the next morning I ran to the store and bought a box mix because I still had to study and take a final. I got to the store and Publix didn't even have a red velvet cake mix, so I just had to go with chocolate. The weird thing is, the oven didn't burn this one. I have no idea what happened, but it finally worked. It would have been perfect if I'd had a red velvet mix, but it all worked out.

Third time's the charm! I really love how it turned out, especially with the clear sparkly sprinkles. It kind of reminded me of snow.

Unfortunately, I didn't get many pictures of this cake, but it was a big hit! Lizz really liked it and I was very relieved. I just really wanted to make an owl cake for her and I was not about to give up on it. :)

Lizz had a 1920s gangster/mob themed murder mystery party at her boyfriend Patrick's apartment and it was soo much fun. Seriously the best birthday party I've been to in awhile. We each had a character card and randomly someone would pretend to get murdered and we walk into a room and hear a scream. There was an investigator and all these different love affairs. With all of our friends, it was hilarious.

So I hope you had a really great birthday, Lizz! I'm glad you liked the cake!