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In the baking world, whoopie pies have been all the rage recently. Having tried dried out and tasteless store bought versions back home in the US, I scoffed at this phenomena when it crossed the pond. I thought, “Why would people get into this ‘treat’ when it wasn’t all that tasty?”.
But then after reading about the origin of whoopies in Baked In America, I decided to see what the fuss was all about.

We’re big fans of gingery type cakes so the Shoo-Fly Whoopies recipe seemed the right place to start. Full of goodness like ginger and black treacle, I was suddenly coming around to the deliciousness that would be the whoopie pie.

Black treacle

If you’re not familiar, whoopies are like big cakey cookie sandwiches, filled with a cloud like creamy filling. They can be made into all sorts of different flavor combinations. The Shoo-Fly Whoopie is a take on the traditional ‘Shoo-Fly Pie’ hailing from Pennsylvania Amish country, also where the whoopie pie is said to come from.

Having lived in England for nearly eight years, I have become interested in the origins of regional baked treats and local traditional dishes. Finding one that celebrated a local tradition in the US was quite exciting. I’m not aware that my hometown in California has a specialty, unless you count chain restaurants… hah!

Whoopies pre oven

Big cake cookies

The recommended filling for the Shoo-Fly Whoopies was a caramel frosting. All I can say – it was YUMMY!

Sugar for frosting

Frosting filling

My whoopies turned out GIANT sized, which I suppose is only a problem if you are watching your caloric intake. I have since halved the size of scoop to make much smaller whoopies so they are still an indulgent treat, but with less guilt.

Whoopies piled up high

Finished whoopie pies

Have you tried homemade whoopies yet? They are in a different league to anything you might find in the store, now matter how much the label says you can taste the difference.

There’s so much to catch up on! Feb has been a VERY hectic month. And by hectic, I mean I didn’t even get a chance to enjoy a baking/cooking project since Valentine’s day. Thankfully, it’s now March and I have been able to slow down a bit and get back in the kitchen.

I love entertaining and throwing dinner parties, so whenever my husband’s family from Canada come to town I always make sure we put on a good spread.  This time we went with Tex-Mex for the meal – serving carnitas, black beans, fresh salsa, mexican rice, corn salad and homemade tortillas.  To follow, I thought a cheesecake would be the perfect foil.

I recently purchased a new baking book called ‘Baked in America‘.  If you didn’t know already, I am an American living in the UK.  This book is written by two Americans living in the UK. Perfect!  I am smitten with this book and am going to try out as many recipes from it as possible. But, before I get ahead of myself, let’s start with the first one. Enter the clotted cream cheesecake.

This was the second time I have ever attempted to make a cheesecake and I was pretty pleased with the results.  I poured over the cheesecake chapter taking in all of the two Davids’ tips and recommendations. So, here’s how it went:

I used a springform tin, as you do with a cheesecake, but I wrapped the bottom with foil to make it easier to remove the base to serve. This was a great tip from the book. Also, the cheesecakes I grew up with had a graham cracker crust. It’s difficult to find graham crackers in the UK and when you do find them, they are like £7 a box in specialty shops like Selfridges Food Hall. Anyway, digestives are the next best alternative, but mixing brown sugar into the digestive and butter mixture makes the crust taste like graham crackers. Top work, sirs!

digestive biscuit crust

There is a lot of cream in this cheesecake recipe. Don’t be afraid…

cheesecake ingredients

mixing it up

I don’t know the difference between a baked cheesecake and a non baked cheesecake. I suppose since I lived in New York, I am more partial to a New York Style cheesecake, which is baked in the oven.

in the oven

The cheesecake looked like a souffle when it came out of the oven.

Souffle pouffe

And then looked like an alien when it cooled. It has a rustic look, which went well with the Tex Mex fiesta.

cooled cheesecake

And once it was sliced, it didn’t matter what it looked like because the texture inside was perfect.

slice of cheesecake

There was nothing left on anyone’s plate.

cleared plate

This cheesecake serves 12 people easy. There were six of us and we sent our guests home with a second helping each.

Cheesecake vultures

This cheesecake recipe will definitely be in high rotation when it comes to desserts. The clotted cream added a flavour and texture that reminded us of ice cream from Cornwall. Since this recipe came out so well, I cannot wait to get started on my next baking adventure out of Baked In America. I just hope it doesn’t make me miss back home too much.

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