I have never claimed to be a great cook or baker. I've been making my mom's whoopie pies since I was in middle school and the results were always right on the money — until Saturday when I tried to surprise my son with a batch.

The cakes didn't rise, remaining flat and crispy, like cookies. I've gone over and over the recipe — both the one I copied years ago from Mom's recipe collection and the original. They are identical. I've gone over in my mind exactly what I put into the batter and questioned whether I accidentally put in the wrong amount of an ingredient or left one out. Nope and nope.

"Mom, you know what? 'You've lost that oven feelin', Who-o-a, that oven feelin', you've lost that oven feelin', now it's gone...gone...gone...wo-o-ah ...' " my son David sang in parody of the Righteous Brothers golden oldie.

Regardless, he took all of the whoopie pies with him when he went back to his apartment Sunday morning. His conclusion was that I need practice and I should make some every week, adding my co-workers would love me. My conclusion is that maybe the baking soda I used was old and has lost its uumph.

A friend, who's not into baking, gave me her recipe for whoopie pies made from a cake mix. I've tried it, and they're OK — they're just not my Mom's. The cookies are more cake-like than whoopie pie-ish and the frosting was just that and not the light fluffy filling we all know and love. I did add a teaspoon of vanilla to the cake mix batter, which I always do with cake mixes. I also couldn't be bothered with piping the batter on the baking sheet, opt to drop it by tablespoonsful.


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Cake mix whoopie pies

Ingredients:

1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist Devil's Food cake mix

¾ cup water

½ cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

1 box (4-serving size) chocolate instant pudding and pie filling mix

Filling:

2 containers Betty Crocker Whipped Fluffy White Frosting

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, silicone baking liners or lightly spray with cooking spray.

In large bowl, beat all cookie ingredients with electric mixer on low speed until moistened; beat 1 minute longer on high speed.

Pour batter into a 1 gallon resealable plastic bag. Seal baggie and cut small hole off of one of the bottom corners. Pipe batter into 36 small circles onto cookie sheets about 1-inch apart to allow for spreading.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes until set being careful to not over bake. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets and place on cooling rack. Cool completely before filling.

Spread frosting on flat side of one cookie. Top with second cookie to make a sandwich.