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- What are Whoopie Pies?
- 👍 Why You'll Love This Recipe
- 🔍 Tips for Making the Best Sourdough Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
- 🛠 Tools Needed:
- 🛒 Ingredients Needed:
- 👨🍳 How to Make Sourdough Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
- 5. Bake
- How to Store Sourdough Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
- ❓ Sourdough Pumpkin Whoopie Pies FAQs:
- Sourdough Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
- Other Recipes You Might Like:
If you’re looking for an easy and festive fall treat, you’ve got to try these Sourdough Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Salted Maple Buttercream!
The soft cake-like sandwich cookies are full of pumpkin flavor and made with real pumpkin puree, sourdough discard, and pumpkin spices. They bake in just 15 minutes!
The pumpkin whoopie pies sandwich a luscious and silky salted maple buttercream that tastes similar to salted caramel and completes the sandwich cookies.
I know you’ll love these classic New England treats that are so fun to make and are great for autumn parties or gifts!
What are Whoopie Pies?
Whoopie pies are soft sandwich cookies made with a cake-like batter. The soft cakes (they’re more cake-like than cookies) sandwich a sweet filling made of buttercream, cream cheese frosting, or marshmallow fluff.
Whoopie pies are a New England delicacy that have some contentious origins among the New England states. Most sources point to their creation in Maine, where it was named the official state treat in 2011.
Whoopie pies are also popular among Pennsylvania Amish communities, where they’re made from leftover cake batter. In the Pittsburgh area, they’re called Gobs.
Whoopie pies are typically chocolate-flavored with a white vanilla frosting filling that resembles a large Oreo cookie.
You’ll increasingly find whoopie pies in many bakeries across the United States with various flavors and unique fillings as they grow in popularity.
To be soft, tender, and moist, these pumpkin whoopie pies are made with real pumpkin puree, pumpkin spices, and sourdough. The maple buttercream accentuates the fall flavors, and I salt it to offset some of the sweetness and give it a salted caramel flavor.
👍 Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s made with real pumpkin:
- Can make with any filling:
- I love this salted maple buttercream because it’s so easy to make and pairs well with the pumpkin spice flavors.
- However, you’re welcome to use another filling like the brown butter cream cheese frosting for my Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls.
- It’s an easy, versatile recipe:
- There’s no fermenting since the bread uses sourdough discard. The baking powder, baking soda, and eggs do all of the leavening. That way, the pies rise in the oven quickly.
- Furthermore, this batter will be recognizable if you’ve made my pumpkin muffins or pumpkin bread. Essentially, you can make multiple recipes using the same batter!
- Whoopie Pies stores easily:
- This pumpkin whoopie pie recipe stores really well, which makes them great to make ahead, gift, or travel with.
- You can freeze the soft cookies ahead of time and easily wrap to store for months in the freezer.
- No oil:
- I only use butter in this recipe as the fat and don’t use vegetable oil. Like my Sourdough Zucchini Bread and Sourdough Banana Bread recipes, I try to avoid using too much vegetable oil in recipes because it doesn’t add any flavor!
- Instead, the melted butter adds richness, tenderness, and flavor to the bread.
🔍 Tips for Making the Best Sourdough Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
- Don’t overmix the batter
- Use pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling
- Like my Sourdough Pumpkin Waffles, only use real pumpkin puree in this recipe. Pumpkin pie filling includes sugar and spices, so using it will cause the bread to be too sweet.
- Use pumpkin pie spice or a mix of spices
- You can use pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice or make your own mix of spices for this recipe. I include both options in the recipe, so you can choose based on what you have around!
- Refrigerate the whoopie pie batter before baking
- I highly recommend refrigerating the pumpkin whoopie pie batter before baking so that the whoopie pies don’t flatten too much. If the batter is warm, they have a tendency to flatten some when they bake.
- Refrigerating the batter while the oven preheats or up to overnight will help the whoopie pies bake taller.
- Let the pumpkin whoopie pie cakes cool before filling
- Buttercream is mostly butter, so if you fill the whoopie pies while they’re warm, the filling will melt out. Let the whoopie pies cool completely before filling them with the maple buttercream and sandwiching.
- Plus, the whoopie pies will crumble and easily break apart while still warm.
🛠 Tools Needed:
Click the links below for my tool recommendations.
- Baking Scale
- Regarding sourdough starter, it’s important to note that standard measurements can differ greatly depending on the individual. Therefore, weighing will provide the most accurate results.
- Sheet Pans
- This recipe makes about 12 sourdough whoopie pies, or 24 individual cakes. You can easily double the batter to make more.
- I can fit all 24 scoops of batter onto two large baking sheets (about 2-3 TBS each), separated by a couple of inches. If you don’t have large baking sheets, you’ll need to bake less at a time. Just make sure they aren’t too close together or they’ll bake into each other!
- Spatula, for scraping the sides of the bowl.
- Cookie or Ice Cream Scoop, optional but helpful
- For even-sized and round whoopie pies, it’s helpful to use a 2 TBS cookie scoop or small ice cream scoop.
- However, it’s not 100% necessary and you can certainly use a round tablespoon.
- Stand Mixer or hand mixer, optional but helpful for the buttercream
- You can make buttercream by hand using a manual whisk and very soft butter. However, a stand mixer or hand mixer will really make the process a lot easier!
- Piping Bag, optional but helpful
- I like using a piping bag with a round tip to pipe the salted maple buttercream. It allows for a little more control when adding the filling so that you don’t overfill the whoopie pies. However, you can easily use a small cookie scoop or spoon to get the job done.
- For a crafty piping bag, use a plastic ziplock bag and cut off one of the corners!
🛒 Ingredients Needed:
Click on the links below for my favorite ingredient recommendations. Ingredient substitutions are also listed below.
🎃 Sourdough Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
- All-purpose Flour
- This recipe has only a cup of flour, not including the sourdough discard. All-purpose works best, but you’re welcome to substitute some of it with whole wheat flour if you’d like.
- Baking Powder
- This batter isn’t fermented, so the sourdough doesn’t add leavening to the recipe. The baking powder and baking soda are the mechanical leaveners that both help the pies rise taller.
- Baking Soda
- Both baking powder and soda go bad over time. Learn how to test yours here.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Pumpkin pie spice, or pumpkin spice, is a pre-mixed spice of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice. If you have it, you can use it directly in this recipe!
- However, you can also use the individual spices if you don’t have pumpkin pie spice. To make your own pumpkin pie spice for this recipe, combine 1 tsp of cinnamon, and ¼ tsp each of ground nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice.
- Pumpkin Puree
- Pumpkin puree is 100% canned pumpkin, or squash. Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin is the best quality and very consistent. Don’t use pumpkin pie filling since it’s already sweetened and spiced.
- If you want to go the extra mile, you can also roast your own pumpkin or squash and puree it to use in the recipe.
- Light Brown Sugar
- Brown sugar provides sweetness and also adds more moisture and flavor from the added molasses. This complements the warming pumpkin spices.
- Granulated Sugar
- Sourdough Discard
- Vanilla Extract
- Unsalted Butter, melted
- There’s no oil in this recipe. The melted butter adds richness and needed fat for moisture.
🍁 Salted Maple Buttercream
- Softened Unsalted Butter
- Let your butter sit out while you make the whoopie pie cakes so that it will soften. Too warm and the buttercream will melt; too cold and the buttercream will have chunks of butter instead of being silky smooth.
- Powdered Sugar
- Real Maple Syrup (dark and robust is best!)
- Please use real maple syrup for this recipe for the best maple flavor! Dark and robust syrup will provide more maple flavor that will really stand out, as compared to light, amber maple syrup.
- If you don’t have real maple syrup or if you want even more maple flavor, maple flavoring is a better substitute than maple-flavored pancake syrup (which is not made of real maple syrup and is largely corn syrup).
- Kosher Salt
- I used Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt for this recipe, using ½ tsp of salt for the salted maple buttercream. The salt flakes are light and it’s much harder to over-salt the buttercream. If you’re using a denser salt like Morton’s, start with ¼ tsp of salt and add pinches at a time to taste.
- Alternatively, add a pinch of salt to the buttercream and leave it sweeter!
👨🍳 How to Make Sourdough Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Follow this visual and detailed recipe guide as you make these delicious sourdough pumpkin whoopie pies.
1. Mix the Dry Ingredients
Whisk the dry ingredients together in a small bowl, including:
- 120 grams of all-purpose flour (one cup)
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
- Alternatively, use 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon each of ground nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice.
2. Mix the Wet Ingredients
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the following wet ingredients:
- 337 grams of pumpkin puree (1 ½ cups)
- 104 grams of light brown sugar (½ cup)
- 50 grams of granulated sugar (¼ cup)
- 2 eggs
- 120 grams of sourdough discard (½ cup)
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Then, pour in 85 grams of melted unsalted butter (6 TBS).
Whisk in the melted butter until the mixture is bright orange and shiny.
3. Mix the Pumpkin Whoopie Pie Batter
Pour the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients and slowly mix until mostly combined.
Only mix until no flour specks remain to avoid overmixing.
4. Preheat the Oven and Refrigerate the Batter
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC) and place two oven racks in the top third and bottom thirds of the oven.
For best results, refrigerate the pumpkin whoopie pie batter while you preheat the oven.
This is especially helpful if the batter seems runny or too warm. Refrigerating will make scooping easier and will help the whoopie pies not flatten as much during baking.
Prepare your baking sheets with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
Use a 2 TBS cookie scoop or a large spoon to scoop mounds of round whoopie pie batter onto the sheets, with a couple of inches in between each scoop.
I can fit 12 whoopie pies onto each sheet in rows of 4×3 using large sheet pans. I bake two pans at a time because my oven bakes evenly.
However, if you have smaller sheet pans, fit as many as you can at a time. Don’t bake them too close together or you risk the pies baking into each other.
Bake the whoopie pies at 350ºF (177ºC) for about 15 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through if your oven bakes unevenly.
Bake the whoopie pies until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. They won’t take on too much color, but the bottoms may get slightly brown. You don’t want to overbake the whoopie pies or they won’t be soft.
Cool on a wire rack completely.
Cooling is important so the pies aren’t warm when adding the filling.
6. Make the Salted Maple Buttercream
Add the stick of softened unsalted butter (113 grams, ½ cup, or 8 TBS) to the stand mixer bowl with a paddle attachment.
Alternatively, make the buttercream in a mixing bowl using a hand mixer or whisk by hand.
Begin mixing on low speed and slowly increase to medium-high until the butter is soft and fluffy, only a couple of minutes.
Turn off the mixer and dump in 2 cups (240 grams) of powdered sugar. Powdered sugar will go everywhere if you immediately turn on the mixer, so I like to cover the bowl with a dish towel as I start mixing.
Pulse the mixture slowly and start mixing at the lowest speed. Slowly increase to medium speed until the butter and powdered sugar are fluffy.
While mixing, slowly pour in ¼ cup (78 grams) of maple syrup. The maple buttercream should be silky smooth. Taste the buttercream and see if it’s maple-y enough. If not, add a a little more (but don’t make it runny), or add some maple flavoring.
Finally, mix in ½ tsp of Kosher Salt or to taste. Start with ¼ tsp if you’re worried about it being too salty. The salted maple buttercream should taste like salted caramel.
Transfer the maple buttercream to a piping bag or leave it in the bowl. If it seems runny or too soft, you may need to add more powdered sugar or refrigerate the buttercream slightly.
Note: I typically make the salted maple buttercream filling as the whoopie pies bake or cool. However, you can easily make the buttercream ahead of time and refrigerate (soften beforehand and rewhip) or make it later.
I like to use a piping bag to add the filling to the whoopie pies, but you’re welcome to spoon the filling onto the pies. If the pies are too soft or sticky, refrigerate them before filling.
Pipe about 2 or 3 TBS of salted maple buttercream to a flat side or bottom of half of the whoopie pies. Since the pies will flatten some when you add the tops, I leave a small border on the edges and fill mostly in the middle of the pies.
Then, place the other half of the whoopie pies on top to sandwich the cookies!
Enjoy immediately or refrigerate the whoopie pies for a few hours to set the filling a little more.
How to Store Sourdough Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Whoopie pies store well, and you can make both the pies and the fillings separately and in advance. This is very helpful if you’re planning to make whoopie pies for a gathering, party, or to have an dessert for later.
You can make the salted maple buttercream and store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week in advance. Let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes and remix slightly before filling.
For the whoopie pies, you can make them a couple of days in advance and store them wrapped well in plastic wrap or an airtight container in the refrigerator.
The pies do get more sticky over time and if left at room temperature, tend to take on more moisture if it’s humid.
Can I Freeze Pumpkin Whoopie Pies?
I don’t recommend freezing assembled whoopie pies as the buttercream tends not to thaw well.
However, the individual whoopie pie cakes can be frozen on a sheet pan for at least an hour and then stored in freezer-safe bags so they don’t stick together for a few months.
Thaw the whoopie pies overnight in the refrigerator before assembling.
❓ Sourdough Pumpkin Whoopie Pies FAQs:
Why are pumpkin whoopie pies sticky?
It’s normal for whoopie pies to be a little sticky. They’re made with a cake or muffin batter and the pumpkin puree makes them a little softer and sticky at room temperature. Refrigerating the whoopie pies will help them be less sticky.
Can I double the recipe?
Yes. Double all of the ingredients and divide the batter between more sheet pans.
Sourdough Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Sourdough Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
- 120 g All-purpose Flour, 1 cup
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- ½ tsp Kosher Salt
- 2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice, or 1 tsp ground cinnamon and a ¼ tsp each of ground nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice
- 337 g Pumpkin Puree, 1 ½ cups
- 104 g Light Brown Sugar, ½ cup
- 50 g Granulated Sugar, ¼ cup
- 2 Eggs
- 120 g Sourdough Discard, ½ cup, or active sourdough starter
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 85 g Unsalted Butter, melted, 6 TBS
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.120 g All-purpose Flour, 1 tsp Baking Powder, 1 tsp Baking Soda, ½ tsp Kosher Salt, 2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
- In a large bowl, whisk the wet ingredients. Pour in the melted butter last and whisk until the mixture is bright orange and the butter is fully incorporated.337 g Pumpkin Puree, 104 g Light Brown Sugar, 50 g Granulated Sugar, 2 Eggs, 120 g Sourdough Discard, 1 tsp Vanilla Extract, 85 g Unsalted Butter
- Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients. Whisk just until combined.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC) and move the oven racks to the top and bottom thirds of the oven.For best results and to prevent the whoopie pies from flattening too much, refrigerate the batter as the oven preheats.o
- Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.Use a 2 TBS cookie scoop or spoon to scoop the batter onto the pans a couple of inches apart. I can typically fit 12 pies on one large sheet (24 cakes in total) and bake both pans at the same time.Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Rotate and switch the pans halfway through if your oven bakes unevenly.Cool on a wire rack completely.
- As the cakes cool, make the salted maple buttercream.Add the stick of softened butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or into a large bowl to use a hand mixer or to manually whisk). Mix until the butter is creamed and fluffy.Turn off the mixer and dump in the powdered sugar. Cover the bowl with a towel to prevent messes and slowly pulse the butter and powdered sugar together. Increase the speed to medium and mix until smooth.While mixing, slowly pour in the maple syrup and mix until silky smooth and fluffy. Add the salt to taste.Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag or leave it in the bowl for scooping.240 g Powdered Sugar, 78 g Maple Syrup, ½ tsp Kosher Salt, 113 g Unsalted Butter
- To assemble the whoopie pies, pipe or spoon about 2 TBS of buttercream onto the flat sides of half of the whoopie pies, leaving a border on the sides so the filling doesn't leak out.Place the other halves on top and enjoy, or refrigerate the whoopie pies for at least 30 minutes for the filling to set.
- Follow my guide for more detailed instructions and photos to make this recipe step-by-step.