Strawberry Whoopie Pies with a Secret Ingredient

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | May 22nd, 2023 | Desserts, Recipes
strawberry whoopie pies

This recipe was not a one-try, instant success. It took some extra creativity and recipe testing to get to the final product. While I know that not all of my recipes will be published (I’m looking at you beet and goat cheese dip), I really wanted this one to succeed. This recipe is my birthday gift to myself.

Strawberries have been my favorite fruit for as long as I can remember. My mom has a photo of me at my sixth birthday dinner, and among the mashed potatoes and corn on the cob is a pile of strawberries. With a new recipe publishing on my birthday this year, I wanted it to be a dessert that was full of strawberries.

Strawberry whoopie pies- a new nemesis

Whoopie pies seemed like a simple way to produce a strawberry dessert. Use a bunch of freeze dried strawberries in the cake and in the buttercream filling, and it would be a dessert that wowed. Except, it didn’t.

I have learned to bake in small amounts when trying a new recipe. Thus, I made the batter and scooped one cake’s worth onto the baking tray. Once baked and cooled, I tasted the cake and thought, “Meh.”

I added more freeze dried strawberries and baked another cake. Again, it was mediocre. I made the filling, thinking that another layer of flavor might be what it needed. Yes, it was better, but it wasn’t good enough.

Time for the secret ingredient

I could have thrown in the towel, but this was to be my strawberry birthday dessert. I needed to find a way to succeed. Strawberry extract may have been an option, but it is harder to find. I also was concerned that it would have an artificial flavor. It was then that I considered the “secret” ingredient: strawberry Jell-o. I never keep it at home, never make Jell-o, but as a child of the 70s, I have had my fair share. I knew it was full of bright strawberry flavor.

A box of strawberry Jell-o was acquired, a new batch of cakes was made, and the first bite delivered. As I tasted the cake, it was pure perfection. This cake had the strawberry flavor I was craving. I proceeded to make and assemble the entire batch of cakes. I made sure my assistant taster (AKA my husband) liked them as well, and then I packaged the remainder and sent them to friends. They were so good I needed to get them out of the house.

And now, my birthday gift to me is complete. Strawberry Whoopie Pies (with a Secret Ingredient) are exactly what six year old (and 53 year old) me want.

To try another strawberry recipe I adore, check out these Grownup Strawberry Shortcakes.

strawberry whoopie pie

Strawberry Whoopie Pies with a Secret Ingredient

Michele Pesula Kuegler

tender cakes and buttercream frosting full of strawberry flavor

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
cooling and assembling time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Course Dessert

Servings 10




  • 1/2 cup butter melted and cooled
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons strawberry Jell-o powder
  • 1-1/4 cup freeze-dried strawberries 1/2 cup ground
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • red food coloring optional


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-1/4 cup freeze-dried strawberries 1/2 cup ground
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla



Make cakes

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place melted butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, and beat with paddle attachment on speed 2 until smooth.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until each is fully incorporated on speed 2.
  • Add extract, Jell-o powder, strawberries, baking powder, baking soda and salt, mixing well on speed 2.
  • Use a spatula to scrape down the sides, and add 1½ cups of flour.
  • Mix on low; scrape sides with spatula, add milk, and mix until fully blended.
  • Add remaining cup of flour, and mix.
  • Add food coloring, if desired, and mix until fully integrated.
  • Scoop approximately 1-1/2 tablespoons batter, and place spaced evenly onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet. (Will take two batches to bake all of the batter.)
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until cakes spring back when touched.
  • Allow to cool for 2 minutes on baking sheet.
  • Transfer to baking rack to cool completely.

To assemble

  • In a stand mixer combine butter, powdered sugar, strawberries, milk and vanilla extract; mix on low speed until combined.
  • Spread the flat side of 10 cakes with the frosting.
  • Top each with another cake.
  • Serve or store in a sealed container.

Keyword whoopie pies
Comments on Strawberry Whoopie Pies with a Secret Ingredient

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.