These Apple Cider Whoopie Pies are moist and flavorful cakes made with apple cider and applesauce, plus a rich caramel cream cheese frosting to bring them together. And for good measure, sprinkled over the top is a little salted caramel sugar. Yum! These are a definite must-try fall season recipe!
A Brief History of the Whoopie Pie
Is a Whoopie Pie a Cake, a Pie, or Cookie?
Whoopie pies are small cakes that are baked as cookies on a baking sheet. You take one of the small chocolate cakes, spread on the frosting or filling, then you top it with another small cake. Wah-la, a whoopie pie!
Some people have even referred to them as inside-out cupcakes, but I've always thought of them as sandwiched cakes.
Why Is It Called a Whoopie Pie?
Whoopie pies are a well-known Pennsylvania German and Lancaster Amish tradition that are also known as "Gobs" to those that live out in Western PA. They are also considered to be a classic from the New England states as well.
It's believed that whoopie pies came from left over cake batter that were placed in children's lunches.
When the children would open up their lunch and saw them, they'd (allegedly) yell, "Whoopie!" I don't know if this is exactly true or not, but what I do know is they are unbelievably delicious!
And over the years there have been many different variations of whoopie pies made, but the classic has always been chocolate cake with marshmallow filling or vanilla buttercream frosting.
And if you ever get the chance, you need to make your way to Strasburg, PA for the Whoopie Pie Festival! I missed it the last couple of years, but I've been to it twice before and sweet Lord, there are so many whoopie pies it's crazy!
To give you an idea of what it's like, there is literally a giant tent filled with every whoopie pie imaginable! They even have the largest whoopie pie ever on display!
To make these apple cider whoopie pies, you will need the following ingredients:
- Apple Cider. Not to be confused with apple cider vinegar—do not use that, please. The apple cider gets boiled down to ¼ cup.
- All-Purpose Flour
- Baking Powder
- Spices. You will need ground cinnamon, nutmeg, apple pie spice, and salt.
- Unsalted Butter. For the best results, use room-temperature butter.
- Granulated Sugar
- Light Brown Sugar
- Eggs. Just like the unsalted butter, it's good to have these at room temperature too.
- Unsweetened Applesauce
- Salted Caramel Sugar. This optional ingredient is used only for sprinkling the apple cider whoopie pie tops.
Essential Whoopie Pie Baking Tools
Below are some helpful tools when making this homemade apple cider whoopie pies recipe.
Tips for Making the Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
- You can use any store-bought jar of caramel sauce or topping for this caramel cream cheese frosting recipe.
- If you can't find salted caramel sugar for sprinkling, you can omit that step and instead use a salted caramel sauce in the frosting recipe.
- You can use an offset spatula to add the frosting to the whoopie pie cakes. You can also pipe the frosting on, which is what I did.
- I used the Wilton 1A piping tip and a large piping bag. Worked perfectly!
- If needed, the caramel cream cheese frosting can be kept tightly covered in the mixing bowl in the fridge overnight. Before using, allow the frosting to come to room temperature, then re-whip using your mixer.
Apple Cider Whoopie Pie FAQs
The reason we boil down the apple cider in this recipe is to give it a stronger, more concentrated flavor.
No, please do not use this as a replacement.
Boiling down the apple cider takes roughly 10-15 minutes. And make sure to cool the cider down before you add it to the whoopie pie cake batter.
This recipe yields 10 fully assembled whoopie pies.
You can use a 1 ½ tablespoon-size cookie scoop for smaller whoopie pies or a 2-3 tablespoon-size cookie scoop for larger whoopie pies. Using the larger cookie scoops will yield fewer whoopie pies.
No, this is an optional ingredient used only for garnish on the tops of each whoopie pie.
I recommend keep the apple cider whoopie pies tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in an airtight container. In the refrigerator, they will last 3 to 5 days. Freezing them will last about 3 months. Allow them to come to room temperature before eating.
More Beyond the Butter Fall Treats to Try!
Apple Cider Whoopie PiesAuthor:
whoopie pie cakes
- 1 cup Apple Cider (boiled down to ¼ cup (not to be confused with apple cider vinegar))
- 2 cup All-Purpose Flour
- 2 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon Apple Pie Spice
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ½ cup Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
- ½ cup Granulated Sugar
- ½ cup Light Brown Sugar (lightly packed)
- 2 Large Eggs (room temperature)
- ¼ cup Unsweetened Applesauce
- Salted Caramel Sugar (for sprinkling the whoopie pie tops)
caramel cream cheese frosting
- 4 oz Cream Cheese (softened)
- 2 tablespoon Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
- ¼ cup Caramel Sauce (store-bought)
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 2 ½ cup Powdered Sugar (sifted)
- 1-2 tablespoon Milk or Heavy Whipping Cream (only to be used if needed to thin out the frosting)
whoopie pie cakes
- In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the 1 cup of apple cider to a rapid boil until it's reduced to ¼ cup (takes about 10-15 minutes). Allow to cool completely.1 cup Apple Cider
- Adjust oven rack to 2nd level position (just above center) and preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and very lightly spray with a flour-based baking spray (this prevents them from sticking to the paper). Alternatively, you can use a silicone baking mat without spraying it. Set to the side.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, apple pie spice, and salt. Set to the side.2 cup All-Purpose Flour, 2 teaspoon Baking Powder, 1 ½ teaspoon Cinnamon, ½ teaspoon Nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon Apple Pie Spice, ¼ teaspoon Salt
- Using your hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the unsalted butter, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar together on medium-high speed until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.½ cup Unsalted Butter, ½ cup Granulated Sugar, ½ cup Light Brown Sugar
- Add in the eggs, unsweetened applesauce, and cooled apple cider (remember, only ¼ cup), then mix until completely blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.2 Large Eggs, ¼ cup Unsweetened Applesauce, 1 cup Apple Cider
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add in the whisked dry mixture. Mix together until just combined.
- Using a 1 ½ tablespoon-size cookie scoop (recommended), drop a generous scoop of apple cider cake batter on to the prepared baking sheet, spacing each cake about 1 ½- to 2-inches apart (they will spread out, but not by a lot).
- Sprinkle the tops with a little of the salted caramel sugar, then place in the oven and bake at 375ºF for 12-15 minutes or until the center of the cakes spring back when lightly pressed.Salted Caramel Sugar
- Remove from oven and, if so desired, sprinkle the tops with just a little more salted caramel sugar.
- Allow cakes to cool slightly on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before carefully transferring them to a cooling rack.
caramel cream cheese frosting
- Using your hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and unsalted butter together until smooth and creamy. Add in the caramel sauce and vanilla extract.4 oz Cream Cheese, 2 tablespoon Unsalted Butter, ¼ cup Caramel Sauce, 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Switch the mixer speed to low and gradually add in the sifted powdered sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.2 ½ cup Powdered Sugar
- If your frosting is too thick, you can add 1 tablespoon of heavy whipping cream or milk to thin it out a little. Likewise, if you feel your frosting isn't thick enough, add a little more sifted powdered sugar.1-2 tablespoon Milk or Heavy Whipping Cream
- assembling the apple cider whoopie pies
- Using a small offset spatula or a piping bag fitted with a decorating tip of your choice (I used the Wilton 1A decorating tip), add the caramel cream cheese frosting to the bottom of a whoopie pie cake. Then top with another cake. Repeat until all the whoopie pies have been assembled, then enjoy!
- Apple cider whoopie pies can be kept tightly wrapped in plastic wrap in an airtight container, and in the fridge for 3 to 5 days. Or, you can tightly wrap them in plastic wrap, place them in a sealed freezer bag or container, and keep in the freezer where they can last about 3 months. Allow them to come to room temperature before eating.
- To avoid the whoopie pie cakes from sticking to parchment paper, I recommend very lightly spraying it with a flour-based baking spray. You can also save a tree and choose to use a silicone baking mat.
Nutritonal information provided above is an estimate only and will vary based on specific ingredients used.
I have a jug of caramel flavored apple cider that I was wondering about using as I do not have any plain cider on hand. I do also have apple juice. Your thoughts?
I wouldn't use apple juice, but love the idea of trying it with the caramel flavored apple cider! Now I have to search for this in the grocery stores near me! 🙂 Would love to hear how they come out using the flavored cider too!
Thank you Jennifer!
It's actually Salted Caramel flavored Apple Cider and it came from Lidl. I am going to make this weekend with my grandbabies.
Wasn't sure what to do with it, saw your article in my Taste of Home magazine- then visited your site. Loved seeing your recipes and glad especially to see the Whoopie Pies 🙂
I smiled reading this, thank you! I'm so glad you found me via Taste of Home and you found my whoopie pies! They were a huge part of my childhood, so I plan to add more. And thanks for letting me know about the cider. I'm about an hour to the closest Lidl store, but I'm willing to go out that far to get it!
Recipe calls for baking powder but directions say baking soda. Which is correct?
Thank you for catching that! It's supposed to say baking powder. I just made the change so it should be correct now.
Made these to bring to work this week, and they are so good. Simple. I ended up with 14 whoopie pies instead of 10 as I made them slightly smaller.
Thank you for making them!