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Small Bites: For Valentine’s, whoopie pies are the icing on the cake |

Small Bites: For Valentine’s, whoopie pies are the icing on the cake

Jennifer Luxmoore, Providence baker and the owner of Sin, shows how to make her red-velvet whoopie pies — and offers a few baker’s tips, too.


What is more perfect for Valentine’s Day than a whoopie pie made with red velvet cake and shaped like a heart?

That’s what Jennifer Luxmoore, Providence baker and the owner of Sin, made for The Journal’s latest Small Bites cooking video.

Luxmoore’s elaborate cakes have made her a smashing success since she opened Sin in 2007 as a custom-cake bakery. Last year she opened her full-service coffee shop with morning pastries, as well as cakes and more. She also serves plated desserts and cocktails in the evening.

Luxmoore recalled that she got her KitchenAid stand mixer in 1993, two years after she moved to Providence from upstate New York. Back then she worked in radio and had an apartment-size stove. It took a while, but she baked for all her co-workers in that tiny oven.

These whoopie pies are easy to make but may require learning some new techniques. The first one is to weigh everything. Bakers are precise in their recipes because it’s chemistry that makes cakes rise. Being exact is vital. Luxmoore would also like home cooks to use a pastry bag to dispense the batter. You can buy the disposable ones and the tip size she suggests for making these little cakes.

Her other tips include:

— Make sure there are no lumps in the sugar.

— Don’t rush the butter and sugar creaming.

— Keep wiping down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula to best incorporate all ingredients.

— Make recipe as-is the first time and then you can adapt to your taste.

She likes to use Domino Sugar, Cabot Butter and Philadelphia Cream Cheese.

For Valentine’s Day, Sin will have three seatings with dessert pairings for $35. The cost for two includes a single shared dessert platter with both a passionfruit tart and chocolate raspberry bombe, and a glass of champagne for each person, plus a four-pack of truffles to take home.

The Journal’s Small Bites videos are created in collaboration with the Providence Warwick Convention Visitors Bureau. They are shot in a demonstration kitchen at Hope Main, the food-business incubator in Warren. Find this video and all cooking videos at providencejournal.com/smallbites

Details

Sin Bakery, 1413 Westminster St., Providence, (401) 369-8427, eatwicked.com. Open daily at 7 a.m.  Closes Monday and Tuesday at 6 p.m.; Wednesday at 10 p.m., Thursday through Saturday at 11 p.m.; and Sunday at 9 p.m.

 

Valentine’s Day Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

For the cakes:

12½ ounces all-purpose flour

2½ ounces Dutch process cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

7 ounces butter

12 ounces brown sugar

¾ teaspoon salt

3 ounces egg (requires weighing, see note)

6 ounces buttermilk

1½ ounces red coloring

1½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

For the cream cheese filling:

4 ounces butter

12 ounces Philadelphia Cream Cheese

7½ ounces confectioners sugar

Equipment needed: pastry bags

Sift together flour, cocoa powder and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside.

Using a mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar and salt until light and fluffy, taking several minutes. Add the eggs, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar into creamed butter mixture. Scrape down often during mixing to incorporate all ingredients.

Add flour mixture into butter mixture and mix fully.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a No. 8 or 9 round tip. (If you don’t have pastry bags, you can fill up a plastic bag and cut off the tip, leaving an inch hole.)

Squeeze out batter in the shape of 3-inch hearts or circles on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Leave a few inches between each cake.

Cook for 12 minutes at 350 degrees. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick; it’s done when it comes out dry. Cool.

To make the cream cheese filling:  Using a mixer, cream butter and cream cheese till smooth. It should be whipped enough to look like frosting. Then, add in confectioner’s sugar and beat till incorporated.

Fill a pastry bag and squeeze out filling on whoopie pie cake. Top with another cake.

Note: Large eggs weigh in the range of 1½-2 ounces each. But it’s best to weigh to get the 3 ounces required by the recipe.

Makes 12 whoopie pies

 

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