Pumpkin whoopie pies are a fun and festive treat! Pumpkin puree adds a mildly sweet flavor and creates a gorgeous orange color. The soft cakey cookies are stuffed with spiced cream cheese filling for the perfect mini dessert.
When you’re craving a little sweet treat loaded with fall flavors, pumpkin whoopie pies are the answer. It’s a soft-baked cookie hybrid with a springy cake-like texture. The batter is piped out into circles and puff up into domed tops. When filled with sweet and sticky cream cheese, each portable dessert is irresistible.
To create a sturdy but tender texture, the pies start off with a classic cake batter technique. Whipping the eggs, sugar, melted butter, and pumpkin together creates a luxurious base.
Adding flour to the wet ingredients until just incorporated ensures that the cakes stay tender, but not crumbly. Loaded with pumpkin pie spice, this mini indulgence it great for the holidays.
How to make pumpkin whoopie pies
- Preheat oven to 350ºF (177ºC).
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl combine flour, spices, baking soda, and salt.
- In a stand mixer whisk eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Add eggs and sugar to a mixing bowl.
- Whisk in pumpkin puree, melted butter, and vanilla.
- Slowly mix in the flour mixture until just combined.
- Pipe 1 tablespoon-sized portions of cake batter on the baking sheet.
- Bake until the cakes are set and cool on the tray for 5 minutes.
- Transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.
- Whisk together softened butter, powdered sugar, cream cheese, and cinnamon.
- Fill each whoopie pie with cream cheese filling, then sandwich two together.
What is a whoopie pie?
Besides sounding fun to say, whoopie pies are also amusing to eat! Imagine taking the best part of muffins, the tops, and sandwiching two together with a filling to make them stick. The result is a mini handheld cake-like sandwich.
Each bite is soft and springy, and much easier to eat compared to cupcakes with the frosting on top. Popular cake flavors are chocolate, gingerbread, and pumpkin. If you ever have leftover cake batter, make whoopie pies!
Boosting the pumpkin flavor
Pumpkin puree paired with just the right mix of bold spices really creates exceptional taste. I use canned Libby’s 100% pure pumpkin. It has a light sweetness, mild flavor, and smooth texture. It also gives these pies the electric orange color.
Creating a sturdy structure
The texture of these pumpkin whoopie pies are light, slightly springy, and holds its shape. We certainly don’t want the cakes to break apart in your hand like a super tender yellow cake. That’s where choosing the right type of flour comes in.
I use all-purpose flour instead of cake flour. It has just enough protein (10 to 13%) to encourage some gluten-formation to ensure that the cakes have a chewy bite instead of an overly crumbly one.
Piping the batter
The easiest way to shape the whoopie pies is to add them to a pastry bag and pipe them into circles. The batter is slightly thick but easy to control. I use a large round tip (806 size). You can also spoon them onto the sheet pan and use the flat side of a spoon to create circles.
Whoopie pie filling
For this recipe, I use a simple cream cheese filling. It has a little more powdered sugar compared to a traditional frosting so that it will be more stiff and sticky. Anything could be added that is sticky enough to sandwich the pies together. Marshmallow cream, Nutella, peanut butter, almond butter, vanilla frosting are tasty choices.
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Use melted butter
Adding in melted butter creates a tighter crumb that is slightly chewier. The denser cake holds a better structure when sandwiched together with the filling. It also coats the flour proteins to reduce water absorption to develop gluten, thus keeping the pies tender.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, (142g, 5 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, (2g)
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon baking soda, (6g)
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, (4g)
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup granulated sugar, (150g, 5 ¼ ounces)
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled (88g, 3 ounces)
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Filling
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, (60g, 2 ounces) softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar, (115g, 4 ounces)
- 4 ounces cream cheese, cut into four pieces (115g), softened
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
- Set the oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Preheat to 350ºF (177ºC).
- Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, baking soda, and salt.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or hand mixer) add eggs and sugar to the mixing bowl. Whisk on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 minutes.
- Add the pumpkin puree, melted butter, and vanilla, whisk on medium speed until combined, 30 seconds.
- On low speed, slowly add the flour mixture until combined with the wet ingredients, about 30 seconds.
- Add the batter to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip (806 size recommended). Pipe about 1-tablespoon sized amounts of batter (about 1 ½ inch circles) onto the parchment paper, space the batter at least 1-inch apart. About 20 cookies are able to fit on a large baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining batter on the other pan.
- Transfer the baking sheets to the oven and bake until the cakes are set, 10 to 12 minutes. Rotate the pies halfway through baking, and switch the locations.
- Cool the cakes on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then remove and transfer to a cooling rack.
Cream Cheese Filling
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or hand mixer), beat 4 tablespoons softened butter and powdered sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy 2 minutes.
- Add cream cheese, one piece at a time and mix until smooth.
- Add the cinnamon and mix until incorporated.
- Spread about 1 to 2 teaspoons of frosting on the bottom half of a cake, and then sandwich together with another half. Lightly press until the filling just reaches the edges.
- Enjoy within the next same day, or refrigerate any leftover whoopie pies. Bring pies to room temperature before serving.
- Larger cookies can be made by piping 2 tablespoon sizes mounds and using a spoon to spread into a circle. Bake for about 12 minutes.
- Homemade pumpkin spice can be used. Add 1 ¾ to 2 teaspoons of the blend to the mixture instead of the individual spices in the ingredient list.
- Cakes and frosting can be made a day ahead and stored separately in an airtight container. Allow the frosting to warm slightly at room temperature before filling.
- Unfrosted whoopie pies can be stored in a container on the countertop for up to 3 days. Frosted cookies should be stored in a container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Allow pies to come to room temperature before serving.
- Recipe adapted from The Perfect Cookie, America’s Test Kitchen
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