Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies are the perfect sweet treat for spring! The tender carrot cake is studded with walnuts, and a layer of cream cheese icing is sandwiched between two cakes. These would be a hit at a bake sale or potluck!
A reader requested a whoopie pie recipe awhile back, but I was hesitant. The whoopie pies that I had tried in the past at various bakeries were dry and not very good. If I was going to make whoopie pies, I wanted them to be moist, flavorful, and even better than a cupcake.
These Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies fit the bill! The cake is nice and tender, and packed with flecks of grated carrots and finely chopped walnuts.
And the cream cheese icing is a standout when it comes to flavor. Because let’s face it, carrot cake is NOT carrot cake without cream cheese icing!
I used a classic cream cheese icing recipe, and then I added orange zest plus a splash of orange juice. The light citrus flavor is the perfect complement to the carrot cake.
The recipe starts with a basic cake batter. I grated the carrots using the grating disk of my food processor—so much easier than grating carrots by hand! It took all of 15 seconds to grate them (and maybe another 2 minutes to clean the food processor). 🙂
The key to getting consistently sized cakes is to use an ice cream scoop with a release lever. I used a 1-ounce scoop (here is a similar one). It comes in handy for scooping cookie dough and muffin batter, too.
After baking, the cakes will be flat on the bottom and slightly domed on the top. This is the perfect whoopie pie shape!
Once the cakes were cool, I matched each cake with another similarly-sized cake, and sandwiched the cream cheese icing in the middle using an offset spatula.
True to my original intent, these Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies are indeed better than a cupcake. I like them better because the icing is between the two cakes instead of on top, so you get the perfect ratio of cake to icing in each bite.
These whoopie pies would be such a fun addition to the dessert table at Easter dinner. They also would be a great contribution to a bake sale, packaged in a clear cellophane bag with a ribbon or raffia tied around the top.
I’m serving them to our neighbors this weekend for a get-together, along with my Weeknight Jambalaya!
Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies
For the cakes:
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 large eggs
- ⅔ cup buttermilk
- 1 cup finely grated carrots (about 2 medium)
- ½ cup finely chopped walnuts
For the cream cheese icing:
- 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
- ⅓ cup softened unsalted butter, softened
- 3½ cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons orange juice
- Zest of one orange
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Place parchment paper or silicone baking mats on two large baking sheets.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to beat together the sugar and softened butter until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs and beat until combined.
- Add half of the flour mixture, beat on low just until combined. Add half of the buttermilk and beat until just combined. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture and buttermilk.
- Stir in the grated carrots and chopped walnuts. Use a 1-oz ice cream scoop (about 2 tablespoons) to drop cake batter onto the baking sheets, leaving 2 inches in between each mound of batter.
- Bake for 12–14 minutes, or until the top of the cakes no longer appear wet. Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer cakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
- In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to beat together the softened cream cheese and softened butter until smooth. Beat in the vanilla, orange juice, and orange zest.
- Add 1 cup of powdered sugar and beat on low until combined. Repeat with the remaining powdered sugar, ½–1 cup at a time until all the powdered sugar is incorporated.
- Spread approximately 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese icing on the flat side of a cake. Top with another cake, flat side down. Repeat with remaining cakes to create 12 whoopie pies.
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