There are a few random things which bring out the ‘American’ in me, and one of them is Valentine’s Day. I remember getting packs of 20(?) miniature Valentine’s Day cards from Giant, our local grocery store, all pink and red, with cartoon hearts on them that everyone in the class gave out to everyone else in the class, little heart-shaped boxes of chocolates we used to get from our parents, candy hearts with messages on them, and special pink and white bags of M&Ms. Second only to Halloween in its potential for candy consumption, Valentine’s Day will always have a place in my heart.
Now I’m grown, I don’t go in for presents and gushy romantic stuff; Mark is lucky if he gets a card (and I am super-lucky if I get flowers, as I did this year) and I would never dream of planning a fancy dinner. I will, however, as in days of old, use Valentine’s Day as a flimsy excuse to ingest even more sugar than I normally do. Which brings me to… whoopie pies!
I don’t think I’d ever seen a whoopie pie in person until I made them to take into work for Valentine’s Day. I understand from the photos in my Hummingbird Bakery “Cake Days” cookbook that they are meant to be more rounded and elegant (and less craggy) than these turned out, but they tasted nice, and I will just pretend I was going for the rustic look. For those who are not acquainted with the whoopie pie, it’s a sponge cake and icing sandwich. A bit like a wizard-of-oz cupcake that’s been lifted up in a tornado and plopped down again with its roof in the middle of the sponge. The batter is baked on baking sheets like cookies, but comes out very soft and cakey, and is then sandwiched together with obscene amounts of marshmallow buttercream icing (which I dyed pink, naturally). Mark, who is not generally a fan of excessive icing, tried one and suggested I put more in. Alarmed by this ‘constructive criticism’, I twisted them apart again and put in about triple the amount of icing recommended in the book.
They were a huge hit in the office, although their American-ness was commented upon more than once! At least I didn’t hand out little cartoon heart greetings cards…