Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

by Jillian
Soft and tender carrot cake cookies filled with lusciously tart and tangy cream cheese frosting!

Soft and tender carrot cake cookies filled with lusciously tart and tangy cream cheese frosting!

No matter what time of year it is, carrot cake ALWAYS sounds good to me. There’s just something so enticing about that incredibly moist cinnamon-spiced cake combined with slightly tangy cream cheese frosting.

Over the years, I’ve made everything from classic carrot cake and carrot cupcakes to carrot cake blondies and even carrot cake cream pie. In my book, the dessert possibilities are pretty much endless when it comes to carrot cake. So with Easter just around the corner, I decided it was time to combine one of my favorite desserts with my love of whoopie pies!

Complete with light and fluffy carrot cake cookies and a deliciously tangy cream cheese frosting, these Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies offer a much more unique way to enjoy carrot cake. To me, whoopie pies are basically cupcakes, but constructed differently. Instead of piling all of the frosting on top as you would with a cupcake, the frosting is nicely sandwiched between two cake-like cookies, offering a more balanced ratio of frosting to cake. So basically, it’s a cupcake sandwich.

The carrot cake cookies contain pretty much all of the same ingredients as traditional carrot cake, with just a few exceptions…more on that later! First you’ll combine your dry ingredients–all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. For carrot cake, I like to use a good amount of cinnamon and just a little bit of ginger and nutmeg. Sometimes ginger and nutmeg can be a little too overpowering in spice cakes, but cinnamon has a nice sweetness, making it less likely to overwhelm the taste buds. 

Once the dry ingredients have been whisked together, it’s time to move on to the wet ingredients. Although traditional carrot cakes usually contain a lot of oil, I opted for good ol’ butter in this recipe. It offers more flavor than oil and produces a thicker batter, which is crucial for whoopie pies. As for sweetener, I used ALL brown sugar. Brown sugar’s maple sweetness pretty much goes hand-in-hand with warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, so that was a no-brainer for me. 

After the butter and brown sugar have been combined, the eggs are mixed in, one by one. To ensure these cookies were perfectly moist (not dry hockey pucks!), I added some sour cream to the batter. The extra fat gives these cake cookies a moist crumb, preventing the possibility of dry crunchy cookies.

After the vanilla is added, the grated carrot is stirred into the batter. To grate my carrots, I used a microplane grater. It yields a finer grate since the holes are much smaller. It’s also used as a zester for fruits. Although you can definitely use a regular grater to grate the carrots, the finer carrot shreds (from a microplane grater) melt into the batter better, so you don’t have to worry about finding any stringy carrots when you bite into the whoopie pies.

As I mentioned earlier, these whoopie pies contain almost all of the ingredients of a traditional carrot cake. To keep things simple though, I decided to leave out the dried shredded coconut, walnuts, and raisins. Dried coconut tends to be a little stringy when baked into cakes/cookies, and I felt that walnuts and raisins would be a little much in these whoopie pies.

Just like red velvet cake, carrot cake is never complete without its rich and creamy counterpart–cream cheese frosting! So I made EXTRA sure to fill these whoopie pies with a generous amount.

Speaking of filling, I used a piping bag fitted with a large round tip to pipe a large dollop of frosting onto the bottom-side of half of the cookies. You could also put the frosting into a gallon ziplock bag and cut the corner off–it works just as well! Oh, and before piping, it helps to match the cookies up in pairs based on size to create a more uniform look.

These Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies went over EXTREMELY well when I took them to a Going Away party last weekend. Both the adults and kiddos loved them, and I left the party with an empty platter. Undoubtedly, these whoopie pies are sure to be a hit at any gathering!

Soft and tender carrot cake cookies filled with lusciously tart and tangy cream cheese frosting!

Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

Soft and tender carrot cake cookies filled with lusciously tart and tangy cream cheese frosting!
Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 15 Whoopie Pies

Ingredients
  

Carrot Cake Cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ¼ cup grated carrots

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

Instructions
 

To Make the Cookies:

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices together until combined.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar together until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until combined. Stir in the sour cream and vanilla, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl if necessary.
  • Add the dry ingredients, mixing until almost combined. Add the grated carrots and continue mixing until completely incorporated.
  • Using a small cookie scoop (or two small spoons), drop batter* onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the cookies are slightly golden around the edges and spring back when you touch them.
  • Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

To Make the Frosting:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter, salt, vanilla, and almond extract together until smooth and creamy.
  • With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time, and beat until smooth between each addition.
  • Transfer cream cheese frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip, or a large ziplock bag with the corner cut off.

To Assemble:

  • Match the cookies up into pairs based on size. Pipe** cream cheese frosting onto the bottom-side of one cookie, then place the other cookie on top, creating a little sandwich.
  • Store whoopie pies in the fridge and allow them come to room temperature before serving.

Notes

*You'll need about two tablespoons of batter per whoopie cookie.
**Alternatively, you can simply spread the cream cheese frosting on top of the cookie.
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