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Homemade Whoopie Pies

Homemade Whoopie Pies
18 votes, 3.67 avg. rating (73% score)

What New England kid didn’t grow up chasing down homemade whoopie pies? Often a special treat from the bakery or school bake sale, the two hamburger-sized rounds of soft, domed chocolate cookies (nearly cakes in texture) sandwiching an inch or more of pillowy vanilla filling (usually made with Marshmallow Fluff) has made the whoopie pie one of the all-time favorite classic New England desserts.

Homemade Whoopie Pies

Photo/Art by Aimee Seavey
Homemade whoopie pies — a New England classic!

So where did they come from? Whoopie pies are commonly thought to be a treat with Pennsylvania Amish roots, but a loud New England voice – heavy emphasis on the Maine accent. Food historians credit the Amish with making the first whoopie pies with leftover cake batter and tucking them into lunch pails (causing farmers and children to exclaim “Whoopie!” with delight upon their discovery), but when the treat made its way to New England it quickly grew in popularity. Labadie’s Bakery in Lewiston, Maine began making and selling whoopie pies in 1925 (and still does today), and the now-defunct Berwick Cake Company of Roxbury, MA began churning them out in 1931.

While beloved through most of New England (and ever increasingly – everywhere else), the state of Maine has a few extra claims to whoopie pie fame. In 2011 it was declared the official “state treat” of Maine, and that same year the world’s largest whoopie pie was made in South Portland, clocking in at 1,062 pounds. Profits made from selling pieces of the whopper whoopie were used to fund sending Maine-made whoopie pies to soldiers overseas.

To make homemade whoopie pies, you first need to make a batter using plenty of good cocoa powder. I used a spring-loaded ice cream scoop to get my whoopie “cookies” the exact same size every time. I also went with a size scoop that would give me whoopie pies as large as I remember from childhood – about 4 inches across – but you can certainly use a tablespoon or smaller cookie scoop to make your whoopie pies more “bite sized” (only why would you!?).

Whoopie Pie Batter

Photo/Art by Aimee Seavey
A spring-loaded ice cream scoop perfectly portions the whoopie pie batter.

After baking, the cakes are cooled and then half are topped with a thick layer of cream filling. Traditional whoopie pie filling in New England is made with vegetable shortening, Marshmallow Fluff, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. I kept things traditional here, but there are many other versions of whoopie pie filling made like frosting with butter or even cream cheese.

Whoopie Pie Filling

Photo/Art by Aimee Seavey
Marshmallow Fluff is the classic New England ingredient in traditional whoopie pie filling.

The remaining cakes are sandwiched on top of the filling, and voila — a tray of homemade whoopie pies. It’s best to wrap each individual whoopie pie in plastic wrap to keep it fresh, which works perfectly for bake sales and sharing. I also double-wrapped a few and froze them for future snacking.

Whoopie Pies

Photo/Art by Aimee Seavey
Homemade whoopie pies — ready to eat!

Homemade Whoopie Pies Recipe Links
View and print the recipe for Homemade Whoopie Pies
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Please Note: This article was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

Aimee Seavey

Author:

Aimee Seavey

Biography:

Assistant Editor Aimee Seavey is a staff writer for Yankee Magazine and assists in the development and promotion of content for YankeeMagazine.com through blogging and social media outlets.
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17 Responses to Homemade Whoopie Pies

  1. CATHERINE May 19, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

    i can’t eat FLUFF. Has anyone ever made Whoopie pies with 7 minute frosting? (it usually goes on Coconut Layer Cakes.) i would appreciate any advice.
    CATHERINE

    • Susan May 23, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

      I’ve never tried 7 minute frosting as a filling but have used vanilla butter cream

    • LP May 23, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

      Hi Catherine, I think the 7 minute frosting would make wounderful whoopie pie filling! It’s funny because my mom made a chocolate cake with 7 minute frostong last year and I told my my husbant this same thing!

  2. Janet May 23, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

    This is the filling recipe I use. This is the old-fashion recipe.

    •3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    •Dash salt
    •1 cup 2% milk
    •3/4 cup shortening
    •1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
    •2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    In a small saucepan, combine flour and salt. Gradually whisk in milk until smooth; cook and stir over medium-high heat until thick, 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and refrigerate until completely cool.
    • In a small bowl, cream the shortening, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add milk mixture; beat for 7 minutes or until fluffy. Spread filling on half of the cookies; top with remaining cookies. Store in the refrigerator.

    • Aimee Seavey May 24, 2013 at 10:30 am #

      Thanks for sharing this, Janet! It sounds delicious!

    • Cindy Martens September 30, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

      This is the recipe for filling that my grandma used to make. We called them Gobs in western Pennsylvania.

    • MARIE CONNOLLY October 20, 2014 at 9:55 am #

      this is the BEST!!

  3. Sue May 23, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

    Janet — thank you for posting this recipe. I am new to whoopie pie making, but this is the recipe my Mom used to frost her Red Velvet Cake and it would be awesome on whoopie pies! How about Red Velvet Whoopie pies!!!

  4. Stacy May 23, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

    Hey, Yankee! Could you guys include wheat and gluten free alternatives in your recipes?

    • Aimee Seavey May 24, 2013 at 10:26 am #

      Hi Stacy! Unfortunately, my test kitchen isn’t robust enough right now to handle good-tasting GF modifications, but it looks like The Kitchn has a great GF Whoopie Pie recipe for you to try! http://www.thekitchn.com/glutenfree-chocolate-whoopie-p-121325

      • Stacy June 2, 2013 at 3:49 am #

        Thanks for the link!

        Maybe Yankee could work on the occasional GF recipe? Or have someone, if you’re not able to, create them for Yankee and it’s GF readers? There are so many people out there that can’t have the wheat and gluten based fun stuff, like cakes and pies and breads and cider donuts, like many people can. Just a thought.

  5. susan May 26, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    i make my filling with whpped eggwhites and butter crisco and confectionary sugar- never froze them – wondering if I can? – I started making these cookies as a young teen 50 years ago – they are a big favorite as gifts for family and friends. I rarely share my recipe as i have perfected it over years.

  6. susan May 26, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    Amiee- I think you are related to me – my grandmother’s mother was a Seavey I believe -I know that name was in our family- they lived in Dexter – I grew up in sangerville and I live now in North west for 38 years now.

  7. Debby May 26, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    I am so happy that you acknowledged the PA Amish as the originators of whoopie pies. I live in central PA and frequent the Amish farm markets where Amish woman still use the Whoopie Pie recipe that their ancesters used. Our family has owned and summered at our very rustic camp in central Maine for over 70 years. When we are in Maine and there is a Whoopie Pie festival in a nearby town, we love to attend. Over the years we have had some very spirited conversations about the origins of the pie! Nevertheless, both states do a fabulous job baking them! And tho I am “from away”, my heart is always wishing to be in beautiful Maine.

  8. Granny November 18, 2013 at 11:23 pm #

    For my whoopie pies, I use for a filling the creamy white frosting on the back of the old Shaws Market powdered sugar bag. The recipe is no longer on the new bags. It is the old style sweet and fluffy filling I grew up with
    1 c. shortening
    1 1/2t vanilla
    1/2 t lemon, orange, or almond extract. (I like orange, it hides the shortening taste better)
    4 1/2 c sifted powdered sugar
    3-6 T milk
    Beat shortening, vanilla, and extract with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. This is where you add any food coloring.
    Slowly add 1/2 of powdered sugar, beating well.
    Add 1/2 of milk. Gradually beat in remaining sugar. Beat in enough remaining milk to make a med. thick spreading consistency.
    I use a pastry bag to make a swirly circle on one side of a whoopie pie. Cover and enjoy.

  9. Anna July 17, 2014 at 10:54 pm #

    Just to let you know – I accidentally clicked on the rating stars, not expecting to have it register, but it did, and recorded only two stars. Grr! My apologies, I tried to fix it but apparently there’s no way to alter it that I can tell.

  10. Darlene August 22, 2014 at 6:18 pm #

    Thanks everyone although I now have to live in Texas,my son who recently returned to Maine to live asked me to make him whoopie pies before he left. His favorite, chocolate with peanut butter filling.
    I had lost my mothers recipe but found it at Yankee. Thank you so much for helping to keep Maine in my heart

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