Thursday, 5 August 2010

Whoopie .. pies and Vanilla

Chocolate and Vanilla in any combination is terrific, but when it is combined in a biscuity cake sandwiching soft folds of whipped vanilla cream it is heavenly. Any good quality vanilla paste would do for this Whoopie Pie recipe; however, I do have a preference for Ndali vanilla, which my sister introduced me to several years ago. It is a little more expensive than other vanilla, but not much .. and to be truthful ,any really great cook will tell you that half the taste experience is in the quality of the ingredients, so the little bit extra is well worth it. Given a choice I prefer fair-trade and organic products, but I am also realistic in that some ingredients are not always available or affordable. With one of the chapters in the book dedicated to vanilla I wanted to get the very best from the flavour so I contacted Lulu, the owner of the Ndali Vanilla estate in Africa to see if she would help me out. I was absolutely delighted when she agreed. Originally from nearby Oxford she has an amazing story to tell, inheriting the vanilla plantation out of the blue about seven years ago. Whichever vanilla you buy it’s worth checking out her site.
As a box of darkest, sweetest delicious vanilla pods arrived straight from Uganda, arrived it was just in time to play with the taste combinations for the latest must have Whoopie Pie phenomenon from America. Originating from the Amish people in Pennsylvania, women made these chocolate mounds with butter icing sandwiched between them from their husbands. The husbands would be so pleased to find it in their lunch box they would shout whoopie .. which was exactly what I shouted as I was opening the beautiful box packed with Ndali vanilla pods. Whoopie!

Chocolate and Vanilla Whoopie Pie Recipe


120g of butter
200g of vanilla sugar or caster sugar & 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 medium eggs
280grams of SR flour 4 large heaped tbsp of cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
250ml of buttermilk

1 Level teaspoon of vanilla paste
3 tablespoons of icing sugar
300 ml of double cream


Preheat heat the oven to Gas 4/350 F/ 180C
Grease two baking trays.
In a bowl combine the dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl beat the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy and then add the eggs. Add the dry ingredients and the Buttermilk and combine the ingredients. You should be left with a relatively stiff mixture ready to spoon onto the baking tray in round bite size blobs. To get 16 pies you will need 32 of these.
Bake in the oven for 10 – 12 minutes. They are a cross between a biscuit and a sponge, however there is a fine line between biscuit and burnt because of the high sugar content, so don’t leave them in too long. I found a much better bite to them if I left them in the oven to cool, but if you haven’t time transfer cool on a wire rack.
Add in the teaspoon of vanilla paste and icing sugar to the cream and whip. Make sure the cream is a nice thick consistency before sandwiching a dollop between the chocolate cakes. There you have a taste of America - 16 chocolate and vanilla Whoopie Pies.


  1. Lovely piccy's clean and simple, enjoyed blog, if this is anything to go by the book is going to be super duper! keep it up...Stephne AKA Francessca x

  2. You are a lovely lovely lady .. thankyou for the kind comment .. and I promise never ever to get your name wrong again!

  3. Doesn't food always seem more inviting when you know its source. Ndali Vanilla sounds absolutely scrumtious and so exotic - so 'out of Africa' that I am feeling quite homesick. Whoopee! and can't wait to taste it!

  4. Vanessa, forgot to say... love that picture of the vanilla pods.

  5. This is why my house has been smelling of vanilla for the last few weeks. I tracked the source to a pile of strange looking brown pods in the kitchen. Boy do they smell nice :)

  6. vanilla in baking and food is my first love. I'm yelling WHOOPIE as I read your post!

  7. I am going to have to look up these Vanilla Pods. They grew Vanilla in Hawai'i. It came from a special kind of Orchid and when you learn how time sensitive it is to harvesting you appreciate every penny you pay. What I leaned on the Ndali is slightly different from the way it was grown in Hawai'i. I love to cook with Vanilla also.


If you are reading my blog I must warn you that I am not impartial. I want to influence you. I want to make you stop for just a moment and consider the effect of a lifetime of seemingly insignificant decisions and how making small delicious choices can change the world.

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