And she’s back! Whoopie!

I decided that I just couldn’t stay away from the wonderful world of baking any longer! I hadn’t realised how much I had missed baking, until I started again. It’s so nice to escape away into the kitchen and get really stuck into a recipe or dream up a new creation.

I will try and bake each weekend from now on, and might post some of the more adventurous midweek meals I hope to start making. I have been eating too many pre-packaged meals recently and want that to change, to save money if nothing else.

So my return to baking begins with manuka honey flavoured whoopie pies with a filling that I think is similar to a Swiss meringue buttercream.

The recipe is one I have been asked to review, and the Comvita manuka honey and bee pollen were sent to me with it. However, there has been no payment for this review and all opinions are my own.

The recipe I was given was for cupcakes but with some tweaking I adapted it to be a whoopie pie instead. I have previously made the cupcakes and thought they were very nice but a bit over sweet (I will include the original and adapted recipe below). Although, when I originally made the cupcakes I did think that the recipe would make a lovely fruit flan base, which I will endeavour to try out some time soon.

This is the first time I have made icing like this, normally it comes out of a box and water or lemon juice is added! So this was slightly daunting, especially when it felt like I should have been doing numerous things at once, but it seems it doesn’t matter if you do each step one a time. Which is lucky as multi tasking is a skill I was never blessed with.

Overall, I found the cakes tasted much better with slightly less sugar and the buttercream was delicious, and definitely improved over time. I always struggle to work out whether things like this should be kept in the fridge due to the butter, so I tried both. I still don’t know exactly which it is meant to be, but I preferred the ones kept in the fridge as i liked how firm the buttercream became, but I think this is totally down to personal preference.

Right now for the recipe:

Cupcake recipe from Comvita

Ingredients:

  • 250g Softened butter
  • 250g Golden caster sugar
  • 250g Self-raising flour
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1tbsp Comvita UMF10+ Manuka Honey
  • 1tsp baking powder

Makes 12 muffins or 18 cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Method:

  1. Using an electric whisk cream the butter and sugar until it is pale and creamy.
  2. Whisk in the eggs and a tablespoon of the flour, if it looks like it is curdling.
  3. Sieve in the remaining flour and baking powder, fold this in and add the Manuka honey. If the mixture looks to dry a little milk can be added.
  4. Do not over mix the batter as this will prevent the cakes from being light and fluffy.
  5. Spoon the mixture in to the cupcake or muffin cases.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until they are golden and spring back when you touch them.

Whoppie pie recipe using Comvita honey

This recipe was adapted from the recipe for Vanilla whoopie pies in a book called ‘Whoopie Pies’ by Love Food.

Ingredients:

  • 125g Plain flour
  • 0.5tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 85g Softened butter
  • 75g Golden caster sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 75ml Buttermilk or a milk and lemon juice mixture
  • 1 tsp Comvita Manuka honey

Makes 7 whoopie pies.

I made this recipe in a whoopie pie maker, so do not know how well they cook in the oven but the book advises they should cook in 20 minutes at 180°C.

Method:

  1. Whisk the butter and sugar together until they are pale and creamy and then mix in the egg and a tablespoon of flour.
  2. Sieve in half the remaining flour and add the buttermilk, thoroughly combine the ingrediants. The rest of the flour along with the bicarbonate of soda can now be folded in.
  3. Spoon a heaped teaspoon of the mixture into each ring in the whoopie pie maker and cook for 7.5 minutes.
  4. Leave them to cool before filling.

Buttercream recipe

Ingredients:

  • 75g Golden caster sugar
  • 50ml Water
  • 2 Egg whites
  • 125g Softened butter
  • 1/2tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/2tsp Yellow food colouring
  • 1tsp Bee Pollen to sprinkle

Makes enough to fill 12 whoopie pies.

  1. Whisk the egg whites and gradually add 15g of the sugar, until the egg whites become stiff.
  2. Combine the water and the remaining 60g of the sugar in a saucepan and heat stirring until the sugar disolves, then stop stirring until the mixture boils and reaches 121°C.
  3. Sit the saucepan in a bowl of cold water for just a few seconds, to prevent the syrup from getting any hotter (if it’s left too long, it will be too thick to pour).
  4. Gradually pour the syrup in to the whisked eggs. Continue whisking the mixture for around 10 minutes until the bowl feels lukewarm. If the syrup starts to become too thick to pour, return the pan to the hob very briefly, for the heat to thin it slightly.
  5. Slowly whisk in the softened butter. Then add the vanilla extract and food colouring and keep whisking it until it forms a smooth fluffy buttercream.
  6. Spread the buttercream on to the flat side of one of the whoopie pies and sprinkle on some of the bee pollen, then put the two halves together. I am not entirely convinced that the bee pollen is necessary, as the flavour of it gets lost when combined with the buttercream and cake. However, on its own it has a very strong floral taste, so I am still trying to come up with something that it would work well with.
  7. These would also taste nice with some jam spread on the whoopie pie beneath the buttercream.

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