Apparently the cupcake has had its day. There is a new baked goods craze sweeping the nation in the shape of the delightfully named Whoopie Pie which is basically two cake shells filled with flavoured buttercream. They more closely resemble a macaron than a cake and their robust, sturdy squidginess is making them very popular, particularly with those who are put off by the increasing feminisation of the cupcake.
The Times article was picked up by several people on my Facebook feed upon publication and since I had a trip planned to The Hummingbird Bakery the next day, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to sample these delightfully named little numbers. Just call me a trendsetter!
They only had chocolate Whoopie Pies available when I went. Since they do a cupcake of the day each day, they may also vary the flavours of the Whoopie Pies as well. I did try asking, but The Hummingbird Bakery in South Kensington is so busy and frantic, it is impossible to actually converse with the staff. I was happy to try chocolate as it looked like a particularly amazing Oreo…
As I wished to savour this delicious confection, I got it to go rather than brave the cramped cafe space of the bakery, and I’m very glad I did. Whoopie Pies are much harder to eat than a cupcake and I needed plenty of space to tuck into mine and do it justice. The cake shell is quite a different texture to a regular sponge. It is much more dense, less like a cupcake and much more like the top of a muffin. This one was rich and dark with cocoa powder and was absolutely divine, especially as it wasn’t too sweet.
It is also much bigger than a cupcake and even though I thought I had a big mouth, it was impossible for me to bite into both spheres of the Whoopie Pie at the same time, forcing me to nibble one side down until I got the vanilla buttercream in the centre. This was soft and silky, but thankfully quite sparing. Too much filling would make the two cake shells slide about too much and with cake this rich, it would be incredibly sickly.
As it was I could only eat about half of this in one sitting which is another reason I was glad to have done take away as it meant I could save the other half for later and pop it back in the box for safe keeping beside Friday’s cake of the day, the mocha cupcake. If I’d realised just how substantial the Whoopie Pie was, I would have forgone the cupcake.
I ate the other half of this later that night for dessert and while I really enjoyed the firm moist texture, I did feel quite sick afterwards as it was just too big for me. It was fairly good value at £3 compared to £2.25 for the mocha cupcake which was pretty much half the size. I’m also grateful that The Hummingbird Bakery chooses not to top their Whoopies with frosting or buttercream as some people do, preventing the need to be resuscitated from the sugar OD that would involve!
I’m not sure I see Whoopie Pies replacing the cupcake as dessert of the decade, but they make a charming change and are probably more appealing to anyone who finds the heavily decorated cupcake a bit too twee. I might eat my next one with a fork though if either of us is to look at all feminine…