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Matcha Whoopie Pies with Sakura Buttercream Filling

We went to Fletcher’s Brooklyn BBQ for my mother’s birthday last month, where the owner helped us celebrate by plying us with meat, whoopie pies, and shots of some sort of moonshine that made my mother scrunch her eyes shut after every sip.

“Whoopie!” we declared in lieu of the usual cheers. Happy birthday, Mom! Whoopie!

Today, my friend Nicole came over to visit with a treat – sakura extract and powdered salty sakura (cherry) leaf. Why not make whoopie pies together, we figured? The best and most interesting whoopie pies ever, for the record. I love the moments where you notice salty bursts of flavor from tiny clumps of sakura powder in some bites.


Matcha Whoopie Pies with Sakura Buttercream Filling
for the cakes (recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour)
1 C granulated sugar
1/2 C butter or Earth Balance
2 large eggs
1/2 C buttermilk (or 1 tsp vinegar plus enough milk to reach 1/2 C liquid total)
1/2 C water
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 3/4 C all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp matcha (green tea powder)
for the buttercream filling (recipe adapted from Magnolia Bakery)
1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 1/2 C confectioners’ sugar
1/4 C whole milk
1 tsp sakura extract (I have no idea where to buy this without a friend traveling to Japan, sadly)
0.2 oz sakura cherry leaf powder
Maldon salt (or any sea salt with nice big crystals)

First, make the cakes:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 4 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Beach sugar and butter/shortening together thoroughly.

3. Mix in the buttermilk and water, then the eggs and vanilla. It’ll look lumpy and curdled; don’t panic.

4. Mix in the dry ingredients and beat only until they come together, taking care not to overmix.

5. Place 1 tbsp scoops of batter about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.

6. Bake for 10-14 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the cakes are springy to the touch, rotating the baking sheets from back to front and top to bottom once halfway through.

While waiting for the cakes to cool, make the frosting:

1. Beat the butter and 2 C confectioners’ sugar together.

2. Add the milk and sakura powder and extract.

3. Gradually add the remaining sugar 1/2 C at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

When the cakes are cool, fill the whoopie pies, adding a sprinkle of Maldon salt on top of the frosting before covering each with its top cookie. Whoopie!

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