This is an easy small batch recipe for Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies. The pumpkin whoopie pies are soft, full of fall spices, and generously filled with a cinnamon maple cream cheese filling. This is an easy dessert to celebrate the delicious flavors of fall – that’s not pie!
Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies
Is it just me, or does it seem like every year after Labor Day, we go into full fall baking mode? I also wonder, why do we go with pumpkin first? Pumpkin bread always seems to come first. Then we get excited for all things pumpkin spice because our local Starbucks launches the Pumpkin Spice Latte? I’m guilty of it – I even went so far to make a pumpkin spice latte overnight oats recipe!
Whatever the reason, I am here for it. But, let’s be honest, I was testing pumpkin dessert recipes about a month ago. Imagine enjoying some cozy gluten free pumpkin cupcakes in the middle of the summer … Life of a baking blogger I suppose!
Why You’ll Love These PUmpkin Whoopie Pies
- Moist – I use sour cream to keep the whoopie pies incredibly moist. And combined with the brown sugar, these cookies will stay moist days after baking.
- Tender – The whoopie pies are soft. Yet, they are sturdy enough to be portable and hold a heaping amount of maple cinnamon cream cheese filling.
- Easy – This dessert is very easy to prepare as the ingredients are straight-forward, and we don’t have to do any fancy mixing to get the optimal result.
- Small Batch – You will get 4 whoopie pies with this recipe. However, you can make more by making your whoopies pies smaller.
- Filled With Sweetened Cream Cheese Filling – Is the cream cheese filling in whoopie pies the best part, or is it the actual cookie cake? I’m on the fence. However, combined they make a dessert that gives you all the feels of a classic pumpkin pie.
- Fall Spices – Speaking of pumpkin pie, we are going straight to the pre-made Pumpkin Pie Spice for this recipe. It has all of the flavors we want – cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice.
What Is a Whoopie Pie
Good question, because the name doesn’t imply anything about what these little treats are. According to Wikipedia, a whoopie pie is two round, mound-shaped pieces of cake (traditionally chocolate), that are filled with a sweet and creamy filling. Easy enough.
With that, it still begs the question is a whoopie pie a cookie or a cake? I think the answer will depend on who you ask. The batter itself is similar to a cake batter. However, I would argue that the end result is much different than a cake.
Is A Whoopie Pie A Cookie Or A Cake?
- Cake – When I think of cake, I think of light and airy crumb texture. While these pumpkin spice whoopie pies are soft and moist, they are not as airy as a cake. They are bit more dense, like a cookie. Which would be the ideal texture because we want them to be easily portable (i.e. hand held), and support the cream cheese filling.
- Cookie – Now, when I think of a cookie, I think of a flatter treat that can either be chewy or crispy. I can’t say the whoopie pie is either one specifically. But, if I was forced, I would say the whoopie pie cake is on the softer chewier side. And I go back to the whoopie pie being a hand held dessert – like a cookie – that has a creamy filling. Like a sandwich cookie.
All that said, I am on team a whoopie pie is a cookie.
pumpkin whoopie pies with cream cheese filling
More often than not, whoopie pies are filled with a whipped cream or marshmallow cream – like these chocolate mint whoopie pies.
However, because it is fall, I love the pairing of cream cheese and pumpkin. The slight tang and thick texture is a great compliment to the soft and spicy whoopie pie.
And when you whip cream cheese with heavy cream, the result is the most delicious creamy filling. I enjoy it so much, I use it in the gluten free pumpkin spice whoopie pies and even gave the cinnamon maple cream cheese filling its own blog post!
Delicious Features Of The Cream Cheese Filling
- Ground Cinnamon – You could use pumpkin pie spice instead. However, the cinnamon by itself allows the other flavors in the filling (specifically the maple syrup) to come through.
- Pure Maple Syrup – I like to use maple syrup because of its buttery sweetness, and it is a flavor that epitomizes fall.
everything you’ll Need To Make A Small Batch Of Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies
- All Purpose Flour
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda – I use both to help the whoopie pies rise and balance the acidity of the sour cream.
- Salt – Salt is a wonderful flavor enhancer.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice – I use store-bought, but if you have your own homemade blend, that works great!
- Egg Yolk
- Sour Cream – The sour cream makes the whoopie pies moist.
- Unsalted Butter
- Light Brown Sugar – My preference is light brown sugar. I tested the whoopie pies with dark brown sugar and they came out too dense for my liking. Dark brown sugar has more moisture in it which can contribute to a dense crumb.
- Granulated Sugar
- Pumpkin Puree – Canned pumpkin puree for this recipe – not pumpkin pie filling!
- Vanilla Extract
Cream Cheese Filling Ingredients
- Cream Cheese – I recommend full fat cream cheese to get a thicker filling.
- Heavy Cream – The heavy cream adds even more creaminess!
- Pure Maple Syrup – Make sure it is pure maple syrup and not pancake syrup. The buttery caramel notes add to the fall vibes!
- Powdered Sugar – I add a little powdered sugar to the cream cheese filling to help with the structure and add a little more sweetness.
- Ground Cinnamon – This is my recommendation for the cream cheese filling. Cinnamon adds enough flavor without overpowering the flavors of the maple and cream cheese.
- Baking Sheet and Parchment Paper
- Mixing Bowls
- Hand Held Mixer – This is the hand held mixer I use and love it! It has a light and a digital timer – perfect for when you need to keep track of how long you are mixing something! Worth the investment if you do a lot of baking.
Tips For Making Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies
- Use pure pumpkin puree – Not pumpkin pie filling! Pumpkin pie filling has added ingredients that we don’t want or need. We are adding our own spices and sweetener.
- Leftover pumpkin puree – You will have leftover pumpkin puree, and I have a few quick ideas for how to use it! Try the incredible gluten free cinnamon pumpkin bread or pumpkin cupcakes. Or for a heathier (and no-bake!) treat, the pumpkin pie chia pudding!
- Sift or whisk the dry ingredients – Especially since we are adding spices to the dry ingredients. We want to make sure they are evenly distributed and free of lumps.
- Use a cookie scoop – Scooping the batter into equal portions is much easier if you use a cookie scoop. I use a #40 cookie scoop, and fill it full to make each of the whoopie pies.
- Don’t overbake – We want the whoopie pies to be soft and cake-like. You know they are done when you touch the tops and they spring back.
- Cool the whoopie pies completely – Seems obvious, but we want the whoopie pies to be completely cool before filling them. Otherwise the filling will melt.
- Use all of the filling! – It may seem like there is too much filling. Trust me when I say that we want a good ratio of filling to whoopie pie, and the amount you have will be just right!
Common Questions For Making Small Batch Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
I have not test a larger batch, and can’t say for certain how doubling the recipe would turn out. If you do try it, you may want to try one whole egg, instead of two egg yolks. Let me know if you try it!
You can! If you want more whoopie pies but in a smaller size, just scoop smaller portions of the batter. Keep an eye on your bake time as the smaller cookie cakes may not take as long to bake.
I recommend it for the flavor. However you can substitute all powdered sugar if you prefer.
I think the filling will still taste delicious. However, all of the spices may overpower the other flavors in the filling – like the maple and cream cheese.
I recommend storing them in a covered container in the refrigerator. Only because of the cream cheese filling.
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Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 large egg yolk
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons pure canned pumpkin
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cinnamon Maple Cream Cheese Filling
- 2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
- In a medium mixing bowl, add the egg yolk, sour cream, melted butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract. Whisk until blended and smooth. Sprinkle half of the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients and stir until just incorporated. Then sprinkle in the remaining dry ingredients and mix until no dry streaks remain.
- Using a cookie scoop scoop 8 equal portions of the batter onto the prepared baking sheet – at least 2 inches apart. Note – I use a cookie scoop that holds approximately 2 tablespoons of batter.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the tops of the cookies are set and spring back when gently touched with your finger. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet set on wire cooling rack for 5 minutes. Then transfer the cookies to the wire rack to cool completely.
Cinnamon Maple Cream Cheese Filling
- While the cookies are baking, make the filling – In a small mixing bowl, add the cream cheese and maple syrup. Use a hand held mixer on medium speed to beat the cream cheese until it is smooth and creamy.
- Add the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and ground cinnamon. Continue to beat on medium high speed until the filling gets light and fluffy. This may take about 2 to 3 minutes. Note – It may seem like there is too much filling, but there is the right amount to get a proper ratio of filling to whoopie pie cakes!
- The filling is ready to use immediately, or it can be stored covered until ready to assemble the whoopie pies. Make sure the whoopie pie cakes are completely cool before assembling.
- Spoon or pipe the filling equally onto 4 of the whoopie pie cakes, and cover with the remaining whoopie pie cakes. Enjoy!
- Pumpkin – Depending on the brand, canned pumpkin can have different names, but is the same thing: Pumpkin Puree, Pure Pumpkin, 100% Pumpkin, Organic Pure Pumpkin. Just be sure it is not Pumpkin Pie Filling.