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Oct 11, 2013 06:15 AM

Pumpkin roll vs whoopie pies - beginner baking questions

Last year I made butternut squash whoopie pies that went over really well with my boyfriend and his family. I used the following recipe, which I think is the same as Martha Stewart's but with changes to the filling.

This year, he wants a pumpkin roll as his birthday cake. Example recipe:

I want to make a roll that tastes as close to the whoopie pie recipe as possible. Can I sub in brown sugar for the white, or will that affect the texture too much? Obviously I can doctor the spices as I see fit.

I really know next to nothing about baking. The most obvious difference is that the pies have oil in them while the roll doesn't. The whoopie pies tended to stick to each other and to the plates, causing them to rip and not look nice. Would cutting back on the oil keep that from happening? Or adjusting the amount of baking soda and powder? I see that the roll recipe has much more in relation to flour.

Thanks for any help. I know these are really basic questions. I gave up on baking when I was 10 and my cake collapsed in the oven.... I'm trying to get back into it.

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  1. Don't adjust recipes - especially baked goods - especially as a beginner! Chemistry is everything in baking.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pitu

      I agree especially with a rolled cake. It is a finicky cake because they can crack easily. I would definitely follow the recipe and directions to a t! You could play around with the frosting, brown butter cream cheese icing perhaps, candied pepitas, pecans and/or ginger as a garnish?

    2. I would think the brown sugar may be too moist but, if you have the extra ingredients try a small test batch.

      1. I would sub brown sugar. I do it all the time. The nature of whoopie pies is that they'll stick. You could do pumpkin cookies w/ filling instead but unless you understand baking chem, I wouldn't play w/ baking soda (which needs an acid) w/ baking powder ratios. Because you're using pumpkin, less oil would give you a cakier product and drier texture. If you cut it enough, it probably would stick less but not taste as good. I individually wrap whoopie pies in plasic wrap but you could pop each in a cupcake/muffin paper, too.

        9 Replies
        1. re: chowser

          +2 on the sugar substitution; I use brown sugar all the time in recipes that call for granular and have had no problems. Brown sugar tastes better too.

          1. re: Cherylptw

            Brown sugar is white sugar with molasses added in and is not in any way healthier. Brown sugar and white sugar react differently in recipes. In classic chocolate chip cookies, white chocolate makes a crisper cookie while b.sugar makes it softer. You can change the texture by changing the sugar. They are not always interchangeable.

            1. re: Gloriaa

              It's a pumpkin roll so I don't know if anyone is trying to be healthy. There is a difference in cookies w/ the extra liquid of the molasses but it turns out, just in a different way. The same w/ the cake--it would work. It wouldn't be exactly the same. It will be slightly denser but the brown sugar gives a nicer flavor, especially to a pumpkin roll. There is enough liquid in the pumpkin that the slight addition of more liquid is minimal.

              1. re: Gloriaa

                I didn't say brown sugar was healthier; read my post. I also didn't say they were always interchangeable, I said I use brown sugar instead of white and have not had problems.

                1. re: Cherylptw

                  Thank you. Sorry that I added on to your post. I should have just responded to the OP? Can't we just agree to disagree? My post were my thoughts and opinions, I would never assume to put words in other people's mouths.

            2. re: chowser

              OP isn't making whoopie pies. She is making a rolled cake. But a quick Internet search shows that there are rolled caked with brown sugar instead of white.

              1. re: viperlush

                I sub brown sugar for rolled cakes like these all the time. The texture might be slightly more moist but the flavor better. I wouldn't do it for a lighter cake that didn't have egg yolks, or I'd have to see the recipe first. But beaten egg will hold up fine to the brown sugar.

                1. re: viperlush

                  I actually asked a question about subbing brown sugar into the rolled cake, and a question about the amount of oil in the whoopie pies. :)

                2. re: chowser

                  I have a theoretical knowledge of baking chemistry, but not a working one. I can read all I want, but until I actually do it, nothing really sinks in that well.

                3. Thanks, everyone! I think I'm going to make this the day before, so I will have a little time for experimentation. I'll make it with brown sugar first, and if it flops, I'll make it according to the recipe.

                  I'm in the "brown sugar makes it taste better" camp, so hopefully it turns out well.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Kontxesi

                    Let us know how this one turns out! You could, if you wanted to mimic the recipe more, remove about 1 tablespoon of the pumpkin puree. That would make up for the additional molasses in the brown sugar. In my experience, in things like banana and pumpkin goods, there is so much liquid/puree that the difference in negligible.