We’re not sure if these pumpkin spice whoopie pies with cream cheese filling are more like a cake or a cookie. But we do know that they’re completely irresistible.
Whoopie! The super moist spiced cookies used for these pumpkin spice whoopie pies start out with cookie dough that’s quite similar in texture to cake batter. While the cakey cookies are wonderful on their own, they’re not complete until you add a generous layer of cream cheese frosting between them.–Sally McKenney
Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Filling
For the pumpkin cookies
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- One (15-ounce) can plain pumpkin purée (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the cream cheese filling
- 6 ounces full-fat cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 4 tablespoons (2 oz) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the pumpkin whoopie pies
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, pumpkin purée, egg, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until completely combined. The batter will be like thick muffin or pancake batter.
- Using a cookie or ice cream scoop if you have one, spoon mounds of batter (1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons per cookie) onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches (5 cm) apart.
☞TESTER TIP: If you don’t have a scoop, simply give the mound of batter a little swirl with the back of your spoon to result in a much prettier top to the cookie.
- Bake the cookies until they appear set in the center, 13 to 15 minutes.
- Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to gently transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Make the cream cheese frosting
- In a medium bowl using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on medium-high speed, beat the cream cheese and butter until completely smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Reduce the speed to low, add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, and beat for 20 seconds. Increase the speed to high until combined, about 1 minute more.
- Pair the cookies up to make sets of approximately the same shapes and sizes. Spread 1 tablespoon cream cheese frosting on the flat side of 1 cookie and sandwich it with the other. Repeat with the remaining cookies and frosting.
- There you go. Pumpkin whoopie pies. These are best enjoyed the day they’re made. (We don’t recommend stashing them in the fridge as the cookie gets mushy. You can individually wrap and freeze the whoopie pies for up to 3 months; let them to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Or you can instead make just the cookies, freeze and thaw them, and then make the filling just before assembling.)
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
These are crazy delicious and have a wonderful cake-like texture. This is a well-spiced pumpkin cake sandwich cookie with a nicely balanced cream cheese frosting in the middle. They’re delicious.
At 11 minutes and then 13 minutes I felt the cookies were underbaked and stuck to the parchment paper. At 15 minutes the cookies were set and there was no sticking to the parchment. These cookies need to be baked in the middle or upper level of the oven. Those baked on the lowest level of the oven began to burn on the bottom before fully baked.
I’ve never actually made a whoopie pie before, though I do like to buy them at farmer’s markets. I remember in the fall, Whole Foods sometimes comes out with pumpkin whoopie pies, which I was obsessed with for a while. Had I known how easy this was to make, I definitely would’ve made this much sooner and with more frequency.
I do have a quick question regarding whoopie pies–are they considered a cake or a cookie? I always assumed that they were more closely associated with cakes, but according to this recipe, they are referred to as cookies.
This whole recipe came together really quickly and there was no special equipment necessary. I have seen whoopie pie pans sold at cookware stores, like Williams Sonoma, but that is absolutely unnecessary. I used a 2 tablespoon scoop to spoon batter onto prepared baking sheets. I swirled the batter out a bit to make each mound about 3 inches and equal in size.
Because the cakes were pretty sweet on their own, I would have preferred a little less frosting, but I was able to match up the frosting amount with the cakes. If it were up to me, I would’ve had some extra frosting leftover. I placed a 1 tablespoon scoop of frosting in between each pair of cookies, the amount of frosting was exactly enough with maybe a bit extra.
These cookies are super moist, tasty, and just the right spice with a perfect cream cheese frosting center. I had 12 cookies in total. I placed any leftovers covered in the fridge and they kept for another 2 days and were just as tasty. I kept them unrefrigerated for the first day and overnight, which kept the consistency of the frosting soft and the cake became very moist after a day. But, since the frosting has dairy, I did refrigerate it the following day. Not sure if it would actually keep for a week of refrigeration (it most likely will) because the whoopie pies did not last a full week. I shared 4 with my neighbors, and the other 8 just magically disappeared within 3 days. If refrigerating, I would recommend keeping them out and letting them get to room temp before eating to get the frosting consistency right.
These are dead simple to put together and taste so good! These would be a really fun treat to make for any occasion and easy enough that kids could participate.
I followed everything to the letter. I was surprised by some of the amounts of spices but it ended up being just the right amount of spiced.
I had too much filling by about a third, even when filled generously.
The first batch that I baked, I just dropped the 1 1/2 tablespoons onto the tray and they didn’t really melt and spread so they didn’t have pretty smooth tops like in the picture and were a bit lopsided. The second batch I smoothed and gave a little swirl with the back of my measuring spoon which resulted in a much prettier top and bottom cookie.
These took longer than 13 minutes. They were still pretty soft and sticky at 13 minutes once cooled. I believe they could have baked another 1 to 2 minutes and they’d have been perfect.
I didn’t pipe the frosting this time but I think that would be a nice touch to bring it right to the edge of the cookie.
I didn’t freeze the cookies but three days after baking the cookies they were even softer and stickier than when originally baked. This may be because they were slightly underbaked? They still taste incredible but part of the sponge will pull away on your fingers when picked up.
Who says pumpkin is for fall? Not me. These whoopie pies are super simple and quick to make. No mixer, a couple of bowls, and barely any clean-up.
The dough is sticky but easy to scoop using the larger cookie scoop (which is a little over 1 1/2 tablespoons).
Baking time is spot on. The cookies were definitely cool enough after about 15 minutes. The frosting was plenty. There was only a couple of tablespoons of frosting left, which I would happily eat with a spoon. The spice is just right and the cookie is not too sweet, so it’s perfect with the frosting!
I imagine these cookies will store well. I plan to freeze a couple and will store a few to see how good they are after a few days. (That’s if they can last that long.) I ended up with nearly double the amount of cookies then the recipe suggests and only needed half the amount of frosting, so that is confusing, but I would definitely make them again.
I say, “Yippee for Whoopies!”
This recipe delivered what I was expecting for in a pumpkin whoopie pie. A tender, cakey, spiced cookie with a sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting in between. Personally, I found that this treat was a little large to enjoy and the frosting squeezed out the sides when biting into the sandwich. I made a few sandwiches and did the rest as a single cookie iced with plenty of frosting on top. I don’t know if that’s just the nature of whoopie pies or if a stiffer frosting would’ve prevented some of the mess.
I also found that baking on the higher end of the range helped to dry the outside and almost give the cookies a matte finish, which made handling them less messy. Otherwise, cakey bits would stick to your fingers.
I baked them on silicone baking mats. I know some folks don’t like these for cookies, but I thought they worked great. You should still use a spatula to remove them, otherwise the middles will stick.
On the other hand, in storage, the moisture did migrate to the exterior, so they lose that dryness over time. If you store the cookies stacked, they will stick to each other slightly, pulling some crumbs off the tops of the ones underneath them. So store in a single layer if you can. I stored my cookies and frosting separately and frosted them as needed. This seemed more space-efficient for me.
I enjoyed these very much, although they were more of a spice cake with a hint of pumpkin, in my opinion. I loved the softness of the cookie and the cream cheese frosting made them over-the-top decadent and delicious. One cookie was quite enough, and two was more than plenty. The cookie could easily be served by itself if one was counting calories.
I started by mounding the dough in 1 1/2 tablespoons per cookie and found it very time consuming so I used a scant ice cream scoop for each cookie thereafter. I found that the cookies where I used the scoop looked like the photo. The cookies where I measured with the tablespoon were ill-shaped and not as puffy.
I baked them for 13 minutes and they were fine. The amount of filling was right.
I enjoyed the taste—particularly that of the cream cheese filling. I made 9 finished whoopie pies, so I suppose that mine were larger than they were meant to be. I would have liked the shape to have been more even which I might have achieved if I had had a piping bag to squeeze the mixture into nice rounds.
In the end I had a small amount of the filling left over. The cream cheese mixture was very soft and squidgy, so I left the 9 finished Whoopie Pies in the fridge before eating so that the filling could solidify up before eating them. When I took the whoopie pies out of the fridge they were cold, the frosting had set more solid, but the sponge felt quite soft and spongy.
I would not want to eat a lot of them at once. Therefore I am going to freeze the finished pies individually and take one out of the freezer occasionally.
Originally published October 05, 2020