When you look back on the kinds of treats and desserts you enjoyed as a kid, whoopie pies may not be the first to come to mind, but are certainly an agreed favorite.
You may think they are treats of the past, but whoopie pies still hold a strong presence today if you know where to look. Keep reading to learn not only a fun Amish whoopie pie recipe, but also what they are and how they came to be such a memorable dessert.
What is a Whoopie Pie?
Whoopie pies are created from two soft, cake-like cookies with a thick cream sandwiched between them. Though they shouldn’t be confused with ice cream sandwiches, which are another type of dessert sandwich similar in concept.
The most traditional/well-known types of whoopie pies use chocolate cookies with vanilla cream in between. And now they have expanded to using different flavor combinations (for both the cookies and cream) that have become extremely popular among their fans.
Whoopie pies have also garnered a plethora of names, including moon pies, gobs (their well-known name in West Pennsylvania), big fat Oreos, and black-and-whites.
Whoopie Pie Origin
When it comes to confirming where whoopie pies first came from, it’s actually a bit unclear.
Many states have claimed to be the first to either invent or start selling the treat. The states that usually come up in this discussion include Maine, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and even New Hampshire.
Most people will agree that whoopie pies have some German heritage, as immigrants brought ideas related to their baking practices when they first arrived in the States.
However, whenever the debate arises over who invented the whoopie pie first, people will often cite two states in particular: Maine and Pennsylvania.
Maine vs. Pennsylvania Whoopie Pie
One of Maine’s strongest claims to the whoopie pie comes from the fact that the first bakery to sell the treat, Labadie’s Bakery in 1925, resides in Lewiston, Maine.
The bakery is famous not just for their whoopie pies, but their other treats as well, making it a popular place for Maine natives and visitors passing through to explore.
Maine has even gone as far as to say they are the unofficial “capital” of the whoopie pie, something they solidified by having the State Legislature name the whoopie pie the state sweet back in 2011.
As for Pennsylvania, their argument for the whoopie pie’s roots cites the German immigrants that came to America and eventually settled in Lancaster County where the Amish and Pennsylvania Dutch live today.
Amish legends stated that to prevent wasting ingredients, women used leftover cake batter and frosting to make the sandwich treat for their children (and in some versions, their farming husbands). It was believed that when they opened their lunch pails, children (and yes, even the men) yelled out “Whoopie!”
Pennsylvania also has a special nickname for them, “gobs,” which probably came about due to their resemblance to the lumps of coal recovered from the PA mines.
Amish Whoopie Pie Recipe
Here, we will include a fun recipe we found for a classic whoopie pie, using chocolate cakes and vanilla cream filling.
Ingredients for Shells (Cakes)
- 1 stick of butter (or 1 cup of shortening)
- 1 cup of sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 1 ¼ cup of milk (buttermilk works as well)
- 2 cups of flour
- 1/2 cup of cocoa (sweetened or unsweetened, based on preference)
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons of baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
Ingredients for Filling
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened
- 1 ⅓ cups of powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons of milk
- 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla extract
*Note: Other flavor combinations for cakes and filling can be used, so feel free to experiment with different additions during your baking process.
Shell Baking Instructions
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
- In another large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Then add in your eggs and vanilla.
- Add in your eggs and vanilla, and once they have been combined, slowly add in milk and continue to mix well.
- Sift dry ingredients into creamed mixture.
- Drop batter by the teaspoon on parchment-lined cookie sheets, about 2 -3 inches apart, and bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until springy to the touch.
- Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then place on racks to cool completely.
*Note: We recommend using either a spoon or a scooper to move the batter onto the cookie sheets. If you are having trouble getting proper shape for cakes, you can buy a whoopie pie pan to help create better form.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and powdered sugar at low speed until crumbly.
- Mix in vanilla extract and milk until combined, then switch to high speed and beat until light and fluffy.
*Note: For a marshmallow filling, add 2 cups of Marshmallow Fluff to the mixture. Adjust other ingredients as you see fit for your taste preference.
- Spread a generous amount of filling along the bottom (aka flat side) of the cake.
- Take another cake and sandwich them together so they stick.
Once you have your whoopie pies assembled, it’s time to enjoy them! And if you find that you have some leftovers, or want to savor or bring a small batch in for an event/others, they are easy to store.
Cover your whoopie pies in plastic wrap (which tends to work the best in preserving them, but other methods work as well), and put them in your refrigerator to keep them fresh. In fact, some recipes even recommend sticking them in the fridge to keep them fresh and cool.