If ever there was an artist who captures the beauty of a baked good, it’s Wayne Thiebaud. His Pop Art cake paintings offer a slice into the sweet life of a 1960s confection. Thiebaud could be a baker himself, by the way he perfectly swirls the oil paint to mimic a luscious buttercream frosting. I find his paintings inspiring both in and out of the kitchen, but the way he uses pastel colors always leaves me craving a retro dessert. Inspired by his Neapolitan Meringue painting, which showcases the superstar trio of strawberry, vanilla and chocolate, I present Neapolitan whoopie pies. You can mix and match the flavors any way you like, they’ll always be a delicious combo.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking sheets with liners or parchment paper and set aside. Sift or whisk together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, beating until combined, then add the vanilla.
Reduce speed to low and mix in flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour.
Scoop out half of the batter into a bowl and stir in the remaining ¹⁄3 cup of flour, the strawberries and a couple drops of red food coloring. To the remaining batter in the mixer, mix in the cocoa powder and coffee.
Use a spring loaded ice cream scoop to place large tablespoons of batter about 2 inches apart onto the baking sheets. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tops spring back when touched. Set aside to cool completely while you make the Vanilla Filling.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and cream cheese for about 30 seconds.
Turn the mixer on low, then add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and salt. Beat at medium speed for about a minute, or until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
Scoop frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe filling between one chocolate and one strawberry cookie.
Store whoopie pies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.