What Is a Whoopie Pie?

whoopie pies in assorted flavors

The whoopie pie, a beloved American dessert, is a baked good comprised of two mound-shaped cookie-cakes with a creamy marshmallow-based filling sandwiched between them.  The classic whoopie pie features chocolate cakes with vanilla flavored filling, whereas whoopie pies of modern day can be found in all sorts of flavor combinations; mostly sweet, but even some savory!

Where did the whoopie pie originate?

There is actually quite a great deal of controversy surrounding the origin of the whoopie pie and which state is responsible for its creation.  Generally considered to be both a classic New England treat and also a favorite tradition of the Pennsylvania Amish, no one knows definitively where the first whoopie pie was made.  Historical records of whoopie pies from the early 1900's have traced its birthplace to any one of the following US states: New Hampshire, Virginia, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Maine. 

While each state has its own "claim to fame" for the first whoopie pies on record, Maine has gone as far as declaring it the official state treat by official legislature, and as such, seems to hold the highest bragging rights in the great debate.  One whoopie pie bakery, Labadie's Bakery of Lewiston, Maine, claims to have been selling them since their opening in 1925.  Conveniently enough, there is no documented proof to back up the story, but Mainers insist that the creation is theirs.  Originally named the Maine state dessert in 2011 (by the bill introduced by Representative Paul Davis) the whoopie pie was eventually reclassified as the Maine state treat to allow the blueberry pie as the Maine state dessert, thanks to a local abundance of wild blueberries.

When news of the 2011 proposal to make the whoopie pie Maine's official state dessert broke, Pennsylvanians were outraged.  According to legend, Amish husbands and children were given whoopie pies made from leftover cake mix in their lunches, shouting "Whoopie!" in delight when they were opened.  The Pennsylvania Amish claim to have whoopie pie recipes passed down through families from generation to generation.  More commonly known by the name of "gobs" in this region, whoopie pies are a regular sight at roadside farm stands and local bakeries.  The Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau even launched a campaign called "Save Our Whoopie" to fight the Maine legislation and take back the whoopie pie as their own state treat, declaring that its roots come from the Amish and the Pennsylvania German culture of Lancaster County.

What's the difference between a Maine whoopie pie and a Pennsylvania gob?

Experts agree that the biggest difference between a Maine whoopie pie and a Pennsylvania gob is the use of commercial marshmallow Fluff in the Maine version, versus homemade marshmallow fluff in the Amish version.  

According to marshmallowfluff.com (the website for the commercial manufacturer of Marshmallow Fluff), the origins of Marshmallow Fluff go back as far as 1917.  A man from Somerville, MA, named Archibald Query was making the sweet concoction in his kitchen and selling it door-to-door.  Wartime shortages during WWI forced his production to a halt, but once the war was over, he was open to selling the formula.  Two young candy makers, H. Allen Durkee and Fred L Mower, purchased the formula for $500, then naming the confection "Toot Sweet Marshmallow Fluff," but the "Toot Sweet" part didn't last.  The company's records show a sale in April, 1920 of three 1-gallon cans at $1.00 per gallon.  By 1930, Durkee-Mower had the largest distribution of marshmallow cream in New England.

Though commonly used, the name "Gobs" (along with all the rights) actually belong to Tim Yost, the owner of Dutch Maid Bakery.  The now closed Harris & Boyar Bakery of Morrellville, Pennsylvania, claims to have invented the dessert sometime in the 1920s, and sold the name and rights to Yost.

Is there a whoopie pie festival?

Yes!  In fact, there are 2 annual whoopie pie festivals.  One is held at the Hershey Farm and Inn in Strasburg, PA, featuring a whoopie pie eating contest and the crowning of a whoopie pie queen.  The Maine Whoopie Festival is held every year in the small town of Dover-Foxcroft on the official Whoopie Pie Day: June 25th.  In 2015, the Maine Whoopie Pie Festival drew in 8,000 people and over 20,000 whoopie pies.

Who makes the best whoopie pies?

Well that's easy!  We're a little partial, but we believe wholeheartedly that Cape Whoopies, Maine's Gourmet Whoopie Pie is the very best whoopie pie around.  Taking great pride in everything we do, we use only the finest quality ingredients in our Maine whoopie pies (absolutely no shortening or Crisco), create the most enticing flavor combinations, and ship nationwide with the utmost care.

Where can I buy whoopie pies?

The great news is, you don't even have to leave your home to order whoopie pies.  You can easily shop our gourmet whoopie pie flavors from the comfort of your computer at https://capewhoopies.com.  We ship nationwide by the dozen from our whoopie pie cafe and whoopie pie bakery at 185 Cottage Road in South Portland, Maine, 04106.