Born in Pennsylvania Dutch country and named in Roxbury, Massachusetts, the Whoopie Pie has fans all over the country. But no state loves it more than Maine. Mainers went all out and declared it their Official Maine State Treat in 2011. And why not? This sensational sandwich of black chocolate cake filled with fluffy vanilla creme plays havoc with our self-control.
And now, thanks to our friend Allen’s authentic recipe, we can whip up the real deal, the divine Maine Whoopie Pie, in the comfort of our own kitchens.
How did Allen unlock the secret to the ultimate Whoopie Pie? He started with the master recipe his sister-in-law developed when she was a student at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in the ‘80s.
Recently, with an eye toward competitive baking, Allen started tinkering with the recipe to make it his own.
“I am not fond of overly sweet things, so I increased the cocoa to make it more chocolatey and less sweet,” Allen says. And he made it with butter. Lots. Of. Butter.
He kept track of his various tweaks in spreadsheets. Then he entered his best iteration into the Whoopie Pie Competition at the Topsham Fair, one of Maine’s oldest agricultural exhibitions. The contest ran sometime between the Goat Milking Demonstration and the Horse Pulling Sweepstakes.
The result? Within a respectable field of Whoopie-Pie-obsessed competitors, he took second place, bringing home the red ribbon. And since the blue ribbon went to a pumpkin spice concoction—not the classic black-and-white version—we consider Allen’s the definitive recipe for the iconic black-and-white Maine State Treat.
And to our delight, Allen’s recipe performs exactly as advertised. The batter rises into a gentle dome, without too much spread. And the soft and tender cake provides just enough structure for a sandwich. It makes plenty—but not too much—filling. A triumph.
Allen’s recipe will deliver one to two dozen pies. But we heaped on the batter, and got nine 4-inch beauties. A happy accident, this larger size makes what we consider an ideal single serving and a dramatic presentation.
Whoopie Pies keep well in the freezer, individually wrapped in wax paper or plastic film. Mainers say that they taste best about 5 to 10 minutes out of the freezer. Truth is, they just can’t wait any longer.
Allen’s Prize-Winning Whoopie Pies
Makes about 1-2 dozen pies or nine 4-inch whoppers
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ⅔ cup Dutch process cocoa (We use Hershey’s Special Dark.)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (We double to 2 teaspoons.)
- ⅞ cup buttermilk
- ¾ cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla (We double to 3 teaspoons.)
- 1 ½ cups Marshmallow Fluff
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- In one bowl, mix dry ingredients: flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and soda. Set aside.
- Put butter (softened) and granulated sugar in a mixer bowl and mix at medium high speed until well creamed. Add vanilla and eggs and mix again until well blended.
- Add half of dry ingredients and half of buttermilk to the mixer bowl and blend; then add the rest of each and mix until uniform in color.
- Scoop generous 2 tablespoons of batter onto ungreased or parchment-paper lined cookie sheets, spacing 5 inches apart. Spread the batter a bit for a nicer appearance. Bake for about 12 minutes, until a pie springs back to a light touch.
- Let the pies cool on the baking sheets for several minutes, or until they’re set. Transfer them to a rack to cool completely.
- While pies are cooling, make filling: Cream together butter (softened), confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla. Then add Fluff and whip for a few minutes.
- To fill the pies, transfer the filling to a baggie, seal, and cut off a corner to make an instant pastry bag.
- Match similar size pairs of pies and squeeze out desired amount of filling onto center of one-half pie. Press down the second pie to spread the filling to the edge.
- Recipe makes one to two dozen whoopie pies, or fewer, depending how large you like them. Also, you can make more or less filling as you prefer.
- To store, wrap pies in wax paper or plastic film and freeze. To serve from the freezer, let pies sit 5-10 minutes before eating.