RECIPE: Maine’s Best Whoopie Pies

Last Updated: May 18, 2024By
Recipe: Maine's Best Whoopie Pies - New England Innkeeper

Whoopie Pies, those delectable discs of chocolatey cake sandwiching a creamy marshmallow fluff filling, are a beloved treat across the globe – and you have come to the right place for the best Maine Whoopie Pie recipe. But, first — have you ever wondered where these comfort-food wonders were first created?

Buckle up, fellow bakers, because we’re diving into the delicious, and slightly contentious, history of the Whoopie Pie, proving once and for all that The Whoopie Pie is undeniably a confection that first appeared in Maine. Sorry, Not Sorry, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

CHEF

Charlene M. Taubert

The Great Whoopie Pie Caper: A Tale of Three States.

Now, folks from Pennsylvania and Massachusetts might have their own Whoopie Pie origin stories, whispering about secret recipes handed down by Amish grandmothers and referencing recipes hidden in ancient and out-of-print pamphlets. But let’s be real, those tales are about as convincing as a plate of week-old fish stew.

Despite all of the colorful origin stories offered up by other states seeking to capitalize by credit-grabbing first-mover recognition for a cherished sweet they definitely didn’t invent –- once all of the actual facts are laid bare, the only conclusion any honest person will reach is that Maine is undeniably the true home of the original Whoopie Pie recipe.

CLAIM 1: Pennsylvania invented the Whoopie Pie. Uhmmm, no.

Misinformed Pennsylvanians contend that Whoopie Pies were first created in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. The claim is that Amish families passed memorized recipes down, in the oral tradition, through the generations but (for some convenient reason) never thought to write them down.

According to Pennsylvanians, these Amish cooks made the first Whoopie Pies using leftover cake batter. Legend has it that children (and happy husbands) shouted “whoopee!” as they discovered these delicious treats in their lunch buckets. Seriously? Ridiculous. Utter hogwash.

I mean, let’s break it down. 1. Legions of Amish people were forcing each other to memorize top-secret Whoopie Pie recipes for generations. 2. The resulting Whoopie Pies were so coveted that the lucky few who received them couldn’t help but to audibly cry out in spontaneous culinary ecstasy upon seeing them. 3. No one ever documented any of this in the written historical record? It’s absolute nonsense. I call malarkey!

But you don’t need to take my word for it. Let’s consult the experts:

Expert 1: Internationally known culinary historian and author of 12 food histories, William Woys Weaver, who literally wrote the book on the history of Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine, has openly conceded multiple times that Pennsylvania was not the first state to make Whoopie Pies and is on record as stating, “Amish bakers picked up the recipe by the 1960s.” Sounds pretty late to the game, to me.

Expert 2: The Food Timeline website, a highly-regarded research project, created by reference librarian and preeminent food historian Lynne Olver (1958-2015), dedicated to the studying and cataloging the chronology of culinary history confirms there is absolutely no (read: ZERO) “supporting historic print evidence for the claim that Whoopie Pies are of Amish/Pennsylvania origin”.

HOWEVER: That same trusted Food Timeline website does confirm something important: “A survey of magazine/newspaper articles about Whoopie Pies…confirms popularity (esp. In the northeast/Maine)…

CLAIM 2: Massachusetts invented the Whoopie Pie. Uhmmm, no.

There are also some sources (including an embarrassingly error-laden Wikipedia page) who hold the mistaken notion that Whoopie Pies were brought north during the Great Depression through “The Yummy Book”, a recipe pamphlet first published in 1930 by Durkee-Mower, the Massachusetts company that makes Marshmallow Fluff. These sources have long-claimed that there was a recipe for “Amish Whoopie Pie” included in the original edition. The only problem: No matter how many times you repeat a falsehood, that act will never make it true.

THE TRUTH: According to the article “Whoopie! Cookie, Pie or Cake, It’s Having Its Moment” written by Micheline Maynard in the New York Times on March 18, 2009, “Don Durkee, whose father co-founded the firm, discredits that notion. After checking the company’s collection of pamphlets, the earliest appearance of Whoopie Pies he found was during the 1970s. ‘I’m baffled,”’ he said.” 

Here at New England Innkeeper, we can confirm Mr. Durkee’s findings. Through independent research activities of our own, we were able to track down the first three editions of “The Yummy Book”. Yes, this storied pamphlet actually does exist – and YES there is NO MENTION of Whoopie Pies anywhere within it.

There is, however, a much more modern version of “The Yummy Book” pamphlet hosted online at marshmallowfluff.com – and we’re pleased to report that the new publication does now include a recipe for “Whoopie Pies” (as you’ll notice, without the word “Amish”.)

Early Whoopie Pie Ad on Berwick Cake Co. Building in Roxbury Boston Massachusetts

NOW LET’S TALK ABOUT THE WELL DOCUMENTED BOSTON CONNECTION: The faded letters “Whoopee! Pie” can still be seen on the old brick Berwick Cake building located at 1127 Harrison Avenue in Roxbury. Additionally, the New England Historical Society informs us that the first known Whoopie Pie newspaper advertisement, found in a Syracuse, New York newspaper dated 1931, was also from the Berwick Cake Co.

Notably, there is also a 1988 Maine Sunday Telegram article, by author Allene White, where multiple former employees of the Berwick Cake Co. are interviewed. One of those employees is

Mazie O’Reilly, who performed the duties of frosting and packing for the large baking company. In her interview, O’Reilly shares some hazy memories about the era during which the company first started commercially producing Whoopie! Pies on a large scale. O’Reilly’s foggy timeline first pins the introduction of the Whoopie Pies at Berwick Cake Co. in 1927. Later on in the same interview, O’Reilly contradicts her first date when mentioning that Devil Dogs were created by Berwick Cake Co. in 1928, and those actually served as the forerunner of Whoopie Pies. This explanation seems to indicate that Whoopie Pies weren’t commercially produced by Berwick Cake Co. until 1929 or 1930, which also seems to approximately line up with the 1931 advertisement for Whoopie Pies that we have in hand.

First Advertisement For Whoopie Pies - Berwick Cake Co. Roxbury Boston Massachusetts

Notably, there is also a 1988 Maine Sunday Telegram article, by author Allene White, where multiple former employees of the Berwick Cake Co. are interviewed. One of those employees is Mazie O’Reilly, who performed the duties of frosting and packing for the large baking company.

In her interview, O’Reilly shares some hazy memories about the era during which the company first started commercially producing Whoopie! Pies on a large scale. O’Reilly’s foggy timeline first pins the introduction of the Whoopie Pies at Berwick Cake Co. in 1927. Later on in the same interview, O’Reilly contradicts her first date when mentioning that Devil Dogs were created by Berwick Cake Co. in 1928, and those actually served as the forerunner of Whoopie Pies. This explanation seems to indicate that Whoopie Pies weren’t commercially produced by Berwick Cake Co. until 1929 or 1930, which also seems to approximately line up with the 1931 advertisement for Whoopie Pies that we have in hand.

Whoopie Pies History - New England Innkeeper

In the end, it doesn’t much matter which of these Berwick Cake Co. dates happen to be the correct one, because both of them fall after 1925 – and that is the year that Labadie’s Bakery in Maine invented the first-ever and original Whoopie Pie…

The Truth: Whoopie Pies were invented in Maine.

  • Labadies Whoopie Pies, Maine - New England innkeper

Labadie’s Bakery on Lincoln Street in Lewiston, Maine (alongside the Androscoggin River), has been churning out Whoopie Pies since 1925. For nearly 100 years, this family-owned (third generation) bakery has been using their 1925 recipe (which has never changed) to make their famously fabulous Whoopie Pies. You can visit them online at labadiesbakery.com or whoopiepies.com.

How does it all shake out? While Berwick Cake Co. in Roxbury, Massachusetts may have popularized their industrial, assembly line, mass-produced, and mass-marketed Whoopie Pie sometime around 1930 – they were only able to do that because Labadie’s Bakery in Lewiston. Maine FIRST invented (and named) the ORIGINAL recipe for handcrafted, homemade, small-batch, Maine-Made Whoopie Pies several years earlier in 1925.

As Oscar Wilde proclaimed, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” As you could probably imagine, Berwick Cake Co. (the mediocre imitator) went out of business in 1977. Meanwhile, Labadie’s Bakery (the originator of enduring greatness) remains in business and currently bakes and distributes over a million Whoopie Pies each and every year from their time-honored original recipe.

Other Maine Whoopie Pie Provenance Facts:

Size Matters: Maine is the home of the official world record for the LARGEST Whoopie Pie! On March 26, 2011, Wicked Whoopies created the World’s Largest Whoopie Pie in South Portland, Maine, weighing in at 1,062 lbs.

Length Matters: The world record for the longest line of Whoopie Pies is 2,121 – and it was achieved by the Maine Whoopie Pie Festival, Portland Sea Dogs, and Wicked Whoopies in Portland, Maine, USA, on June, 9th 2023.

Enshrined Into Law: In 2011, the Maine State Legislature, through Title 1, §225, named the whoopie pie the official state treat: “The whoopie pie, a baked good made of 2 cakes with a creamy frosting between them, is the official state treat.

Ain’t No Party Like a Whoopie Pie Party: The town of Dover-Foxcroft, in Piscataquis County, Maine, has hosted the Maine Whoopie Pie Festival since 2009. Bakers from across Maine compete for top Whoopie Pie in a number of categories.

Final Thoughts:

The Whoopie Pie is more than just a dessert; it’s a taste of history, a testament to Yankee ingenuity, and an honest-to-god made-in-Maine original.

So, the next time you reach for a Whoopie Pie, remember, you’re not just indulging in a sugary treat, you’re celebrating a Maine masterpiece.

And to all of those confused poseurs from Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, we offer a friendly (but firm) “Whoopie!” of our own: the evidence is stacked, the taste buds don’t lie, and Maine is the undisputed Whoopie Pie originator and champion.

Now go forth and spread the Whoopie Pie gospel!

P.S. If you’re ever in Maine, do yourself a favor and grab a Whoopie Pie (or ten) from Labadie’s Bakery. You’ll thank us later.

Continue scrolling down for our New England Innkeeper Whoopie Pie Recipe…

Here is the Full New England Innkeeper Recipe for…

Best Maine Whoopie Pies Recipe

Maine's Best Whoopie Pies

Charlene M. Taubert
Whoopie pies, first invented in Maine and now a beloved treat across the globe, are delectable discs of chocolatey cake sandwiching a creamy marshmallow fluff filling.
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Baked Goods
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

For The Cakes

  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour (283 Grams)
  • ½ cup Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder (43 Grams)
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ teaspoon Table Salt
  • 1 cup Packed Light Brown Sugar (198 grams)
  • 8 tablespoons Unsalted Butter (1 Stick) Softened, But Cool
  • 1 Large Egg Room Temperature
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Buttermilk

For The Filling

  • 12 tablespoons Unsalted Butter (1½ Sticks) Softened, But Cool
  • 1 ¼ cups Confectioners' Sugar (142 grams)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • teaspoon Table Salt
  • 2 ½ cups Marshmallow Fluff

Instructions
 

For The Cakes

  • Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. NOTE: Be certain to use 2 baking sheets, as the cakes will spread while cooking.
  • Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.
  • With the electric mixer on medium speed, beat the sugar and butter until fluffy, approximately 4 minutes. Beat in the egg until incorporated, scraping down the sides of bowl as necessary, then beat in the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and beat in one-third of the flour mixture, then half of the buttermilk. Repeat with half of the remaining flour mixture, then the remaining buttermilk, and finally the remaining flour mixture. Using a rubber spatula, give the batter a final stir.
  • Using a 1/3-cup measure, scoop 6 mounds of batter onto each baking sheet, spacing the mounds approximately 3 inches apart.
  • Bake until the cakes spring back when pressed, approximately 15 to 18 minutes, switching and rotating the pans halfway through baking. Cool the cakes completely on baking sheets, for at least 1 hour.

For The Filling

  • With the electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy, approximately 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and salt. Beat in the Marshmallow Fluff until incorporated, for approximately 2 minutes.
  • Refrigerate the filling until slightly firm, approximately 45 minutes. (Bowl can be wrapped and refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
  • Spoon 1/3 cup of the filling on the center of the flat side of 6 cakes. Top each with the flat side of the remaining 6 cakes and gently press until the filling spreads to the edge of the cake.
  • *Whoopie pies can be refrigerated in airtight container for up to 3 days.

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 942kcalCarbohydrates: 144gProtein: 8gFat: 41gSaturated Fat: 26gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 2gCholesterol: 132mgSodium: 495mgPotassium: 281mgFiber: 4gSugar: 95gVitamin A: 1272IUCalcium: 108mgIron: 3mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

Keyword confection, cookie, dessert, Maine
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Eric and Charlene Taubert of New England Innkeeper

We're Charlene and Eric...

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