whoopie pies

there’s no need to grow up just yet.


Whoopie Pies
adapted from Gourmet, January 2003
Makes 18 individual desserts

For cakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg

For filling
½ stick (¼ cup) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup Marshmallow Fluff {about half of a 7 oz. jar}
½ teaspoon vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl until combined. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl.
  3. Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a handheld; then add egg, beating until combined well. Reduce speed to low and alternately mix in flour mixture and buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with flour, scraping down side of bowl occasionally, and mixing until smooth.
  4. Drop batter by rounded tablespoon about 2 inches apart onto large baking sheets lined with parchment. {Use a mini ice cream scoop or two spoons.} Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until tops are puffed and cakes spring back when touched, 7 to 9 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack to cool completely.
  5. Make filling: Beat together butter, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla in a bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add marshmallow, and beat until smooth.
  6. Assemble pies: Using a Ziploc bag with one corner snipped off, pipe about a tablespoon of filling on flat sides of half of cakes and top with remaining cakes.

for the road home

i heard these songs on sunday night, as i was driving home from dinner with friends. for me, when the sky has gotten that dark – dark as the road itself – and the speed of my car is ticked off only by the passing of those little reflective squares that mark the lanes, there is nothing then like a solid block of good songs. my car was a happy little tunnel of sound carving its way through the night.

the national – “vanderlyle crybaby geeks”

beach house – “10 mile stereo”

avi buffalo – “what’s in it for?”

lemon frosting

i should probably stop talking about the weather, because here in l.a. it keeps changing. this city is trying on different outfits: cozy and gray one week, bright and breezy another. it was only a couple days ago that the stifling heat had me sticking to my shirt. but today, the air has chilled again: the roof of my car is beaded in rainwater, and the pavement shimmers under the streetlights, which come on earlier to fight the hanging gloom. but no matter the weather, i don’t think there is a day when this lemon frosting wouldn’t fit right in – it sounds like some kind of wonderful weather phenomenon anyway.



i’ve made this butter cake quite a few times since i first found the recipe. i’ve put it on repeat, you could say, and each time i’ve topped it with something new (it lends itself well to different outfits too, i guess): simple and wholesome with strawberries and cream, glossy with a slick coating of caramel, and now covered in this bright and fresh-tasting buttercream. so often, my homemade frostings taste more of powdered sugar spackle than anything worthy of gracing a delicate cake. but in this one, the lemon sings the highest notes and the taste is nothing but cool, clean, and creamy.

i have it mentally bookmarked for my birthday in a couple weeks, where i think it’ll be lovely with a little bit of something pink… hopefully summer will come back around again long enough to visit the berries at the market.


Lemon Frosting
adapted just a smidge from Whipped
Makes enough to frost a one-layer cake

2 sticks butter, firm but not cold
zest of one lemon
1/8 tsp. salt
3 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
½ tsp. vanilla
3 tsp. lemon juice
2-4 tsp. buttermilk

Beat butter, zest and salt on medium speed until lighter in color and fluffier in texture, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, gradually add sugar, and beat until blended. Add the vanilla and lemon juice and beat until smooth. Do not overmix or frosting will incorporate too much air. It will be creamy and dense. Add buttermilk 1 teaspoon at a time until frosting has a spreadable consistency.