What's For Dessert: Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies with Maple Cream Cheese Filling

Oh, look! A pumpkin recipe -- how prosaic. I know, I know. But I can't help it -- it's October and I am officially jumping on the pumpkin bandwagon. And, okay, full disclosure, I was beyond excited when my favorite local coffeehouse put their pumpkin pie latte back on the menu a couple weeks ago. I mean, I must get some points for choosing a local cafe for my pumpkin latte fix rather than Starbucks, right? (Truth be told, I think the Starbucks pumpkin spice latte is kind of revolting; give me an Oprah chai any day.)

I was gifted a whoopie pie pan awhile back, but somehow I've only ever made whoopie pies once or twice, and always of the chocolate variety. So, this past weekend I dusted off the pan and set to work on a pumpkin spice whoopie pie. I worked from a recipe by Wilton (manufacturer of said whoopie pie pan) and played around with the sugar content and a few of the other ingredients. I also amped up the standard cream cheese filling by adding in a little maple syrup. The result? Autumn flavors in whoopie pie form.

Now, if only I can get the Fall season to stick around a little bit longer. I was not a fan of having to wipe snow off my car's windows on Saturday morning before heading to the gym. (Pardon the humble brag.) It's only been autumn for less than three weeks, Mother Nature! Could you let me enjoy sweater weather for just a few weeks longer before I have to break out my down coat and fuzzy winter hat?

Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies (printer-friendly version)
makes ~10 whoopie pies

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (you could also use unbleached all-purpose flour)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup organic skim milk mixed with 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt (or use 1/2 cup buttermilk)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a whoopie pie pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger.
3. Add the butter and sugar to an electric mixer bowl and cream together until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating between additions.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture alternately with the yogurt/milk mixture (or buttermilk) and pumpkin. Stir thoroughly between additions.
5. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, filling each cavity to no more than 1/2 full. (The fuller the cavity, the taller the cake will be.)
6. Bake 9-12 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.

Maple Cream Cheese Filling
1 package (8 ounces) plain cream cheese, softened (I used Neufch√Ętel)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1. Use an electric mixer to beat together the cream cheese and butter. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and maple syrup and beat until thoroughly combined.
2. To assemble the cakes, add a healthy dollop of filling (1 to 2 tablespoons or more) onto the flat side of one cake and sandwich together with another.

(adapted from this Wilton recipe)