Pop quiz, dear reader—
If you invite me over to your house for a fancy dinner party, I will
A. spend more time with your dog than you;
B. bring dessert;
C. break all embarrassed silences with a spot-on Mrs. Peacock impersonation; or
D. all of the above.
You may trade papers with a partner to check your work, but I suggest those who answered anything other than ‘D’ scroll to the bottom of this here weblog for a taste of what I’m talking about. See—I’m a real spazz with a head for baking and obscure 80s movie references and probably all the dogs. All of them. You should seriously check my pockets before I leave.
But, though all dogs do go to heaven, apparently they don’t always attend the same parties as I do, and I’m often left lurking by the appetizers, waiting for an unsuspecting victim on whom to unleash my favorite scene from Adventures in Babysitting.
In fact, the last time I made these whoopie pies (three, count them—three—years ago), Beckie and I were invited to a local airline’s holiday party by our new friend, the taxidermist, and his pilot boyfriend. They’d hosted us for Thanksgiving a few months earlier, where we dazzled with our platters of potluck treats and carefully rehearsed Thanksgiving patter (there might have been a song). We felt certain, after this invitation, that we’d finally arrived at the upper echelon of Honolulu society. What we didn’t realize is that we’d entered through the service door.
We came underdressed—myself in a homemade tank-top and sleeveless denim jacket (I know, but it’s Hawaii. Ok. I know) and Beckie reflecting my hoosier light like some sort of craft-store moon. We brought wine—from Walgreens—and arrived late for party set-up, not realizing that the casual dinner potluck we’d envisioned was actually a fully realized affair that we were helping to host. I threw my garish plastic tupperware into the outdoor pool and tried to plate my humble whoopie pies under the watchful gaze of the party’s watchful gays (mostly pilots and only a few flight attendants; hurray, diversity!). I kept wishing for a dog to follow from room to room.
Beckie and I could tell that we’d biffed it almost immediately and would have probably been escorted out through the forward cabin had it not been for those unassuming pies. Most of our conversations that night involved requests for the recipe and questions about whether we catered. We finally left when one of the flight attendants suggested skinny dipping. I never did get that tupperware back.
The moral of the story is that a good dessert can compensate for most social gaffes. No, that’s not it. The moral is monkey’s brains, though popular in Cantonese cuisine, are not often to be found in Washington D.C. Wrong again. I guess, if I had to choose, the moral is don’t invite me to a party unless there are dogs and cake. But I think the cake is negotiable.
- 1 cup sugar
- ⅔ cup (11 tablespoons) butter
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- zest of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1½ cups + 3 tbsp cake flour
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup half + half
- 1 8 oz package mascarpone
- 6 tablespoons honey
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
- Preheat oven to 400F. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar until airy, about 5 minutes. While butter and sugar are creaming, sift flours together into a large bowl.
- Slowly beat in baking soda, salt, lemon zest, and extract into the butter mixture. Beat in eggs, scraping down the side of the bowl after each addition.
- Add the flour and half + half to the butter mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Dough will be thick and sticky.
- Using a pastry bag or plastic bag with the end cut off, pipe small drops of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving at least 1.5" between each cake.
- Bake cakes for 5-8 minutes, depending on size. Bottoms will brown slightly but tops will remain blonde.
- Allow to cool before filling.
- Match pairs together based on size.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together mascarpone and honey until fully incorporated.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and continue to whisk until peaks are stiff.
- Gently fold stiff whipped cream into mascarpone mixture. Chill for at least an hour before filling.
- With a pastry bag fitted with the decorative tip of your choosing or a small scoop, apply a small amount of filling to each pair of cakes. Top with lid and serve. Completed cakes my be be stored in the refrigerator but allow to warm slightly before serving.