Soft, chocolate, and cake-like on the outside with fluffy sweet marshmallow frosting in the middle, these Whoopie Pies (also known as "gobs" in some places) are completely irresistible! Legend has it that kids would shout "Whoopie!" when there was leftover batter to make these, which was justifiable since they are such a delicious, fun, and unique dessert!
We are obsessed with all things chocolate and marshmallow. If you are too, don't miss our S'mores Cake (which has toasted marshmallow fluff on top!), Homemade Marshmallow Sauce for ice cream, or my personal favorite, Mississippi Mud Brownies!
I'm celebrating the great state of Maine this week in my American Eats series, where I make the most iconic foods and visit the most well-known flavors of each state, one state at a time! I've been working my way across the U.S.A. and some of the other recipes I've shared from Maine already are Wild Blueberry Scones, Maine Lobster Rolls, and New England Fish Chowder!
Whoopie Pies? Or Gobs?
Maine isn't the only state where you will find these cake-like cookies sandwiched around a creamy white filling. They exist in other parts of New England, and in Pennsylvania they go by the name "gobs" and are associated with the Amish community.
While you can find them in different flavors, the classic version is made with soft chocolate cookies and a white center that is sometimes made with marshmallow fluff and sometimes not. But since Maine has actually laid claim to this iconic food as it's official state treat, I'm sticking with the name whoopie pie for my recipe.
Interesting fact: Maine has a state dessert (Blueberry Pie) as well as an official state treat! Apparently they like their sweets in the Pine Tree State!
What is a whoopie pie?
If you have never had one, a whoopie pie is like a super soft cookie sandwich. I think the domed chocolate "cookies" are more like cupcake tops (like muffin tops only in cupcake form!) because that's basically the look, taste, and texture of them. The batter is somewhat thicker than most cake batter, but definitely not as thick as most cookie dough.
This hybrid dessert is most often made with chocolate and marshmallow, although pumpkin is another really popular flavor! I have read that in Maine whoopie pies are often the size of hamburgers, which will yield you around 8 completed whoopie pies with the recipe below. But you can definitely make 12 more reasonably sized whoopie pies if you prefer.
Some people go so far as to buy a whoopie pie pan, but really all you need is a baking sheet, parchment paper, and a cookie scoop to make these chocolate whoopie pies!
What You'll Need
The ingredients are simple and most of them are already in your pantry! I've included common substitutes for less common items below.
- Cocoa Powder: Both unsweetened natural cocoa powder and dutch-processed cocoa powder will work for this recipe. If you prefer a darker chocolate version, go with dutch-processed.
- Flour: All-purpose flour works well for this recipe. I wouldn't recommend using cake flour as the cookie part would be too tender and fall apart more easily.
- Baking soda: This leavening agent helps the cookies rise so they are light, tender, and fluffy. Just like cake!
- Butter: I developed and tested this recipe using salted butter. If you are using unsalted butter, just add an extra ¼ teaspoon of salt to the recipe.
- Brown sugar: I love using brown sugar with cocoa powder, when I can, because it gives a deeper, more complex flavor to the chocolate.
- Salt: It's always important to include a little salt so the other flavors don't taste bland or flat!
- Vanilla extract: Another classic baking ingredient that rounds out the other flavors.
- Buttermilk: Try to pull this out in advance to let it come up to room temperature. If you don't have any on hand, just add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar to a 1 cup measuring cup, then fill the rest of the way with regular milk. Let this sit for 5 minutes before using in place of the buttermilk.
Classic Whoopie Pie Filling:
- Marshmallow creme (or marshmallow fluff): You could even make my homemade version from my S'mores cake if you wanted.
- Shortening: I know this ingredient has it's detractors, but it gives a classic taste and texture to the filling and it's the traditional choice. You are welcome to substitute an equal amount of butter instead, if you prefer!
- Powdered sugar: This helps thicken the filling up just a bit and makes it extra sweet. If you have a sweet tooth, this filling is definitely for you!
- Vanilla extract: Just a bit helps round out the flavor of the filling so it isn't so one-dimensional.
How to Make Whoopie Pies
- Whisk the dry ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt until combined.
- Cream the butter and sugar: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar for 2 minutes using the paddle attachment until light. Add egg and vanilla, then beat again, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl.
- Alternate adding wet and dry ingredients: Add part of the flour mixture followed by half of the buttermilk, repeating with the flour and mixing after each addition until combined.
- Scoop: Use a small to medium cookie scoop to drop batter onto the parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 2-3 inches apart. They need some space to puff up and spread a bit.
- Bake then cool: You can tell that the cookies are done when the tops bounce back when lightly touched. Cool completely before filling.
- Make the filling: Beat the shortening and powdered sugar, then add the marshmallow fluff and vanilla extract, beating until smooth.
- Assemble: Pipe a generous amount of frosting onto the flat bottom of one cookie, then top with another cookie to make a whoopie pie. Repeat with the remaining cookies and filling.
Other whoopie pie filling ideas:
- Ermine buttercream
- Vanilla buttercream
- Cream cheese frosting
- Swiss meringue buttercream
Or be more adventurous with one of my other frosting recipes! Anything that would go well with chocolate cupcakes would be delicious in these whoopie pies.
- Dragonfruit buttercream frosting
- Graham cracker frosting
- Strawberry frosting
- Guava frosting
- Homemade rainbow chip frosting
I can also imagine sprinkling the marshmallow filling with crushed candy canes before sandwiching for a peppermint version that would be delicious at Christmas time!
Storing and Freezing Whoopie Pies
Keep your whoopie pies in an airtight container in a single layer. The moist, tender tops have a tendency to stick if you stack them on top of each other, so if you need to do that, place a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper between them. Store them in the fridge for up to a week, then set them out on the counter for 30 minutes or so to come up to room temperature before serving.
These are also fantastic for freezing! I actually made 8 dozen whoopie pies a few summers ago in a bunch of different flavors and froze them to take to a Girls' Camp where I was a leader and was responsible for a campfire dessert for over 100 teenage girls one night. I froze them all flat first, then once them were firm, I stacked them on their sides to transport them. They held up great, then we just let them sit out right before serving and people raved and raved about them!
You can freeze whoopie pies for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.
More Whoopie Pie Recipes
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Maine Whoopie Pies
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup salted butter
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 egg room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
- 1 cup shortening
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 7-ounce jars marshmallow fluff
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt until combined.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar for 2 minutes using the paddle attachment until light. Add egg and vanilla, then beat again, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl.
- Alternate adding the flour mixture with the buttermilk, beating after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl, just until combined.
- Use a small to medium cookie scoop to drop batter onto the parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 2-3 inches apart. If you want 8 really large whoopie pies, you should do 16 scoops of batter. For more reasonably sized whoopie pies, do 20 to 24 scoops of batter to make 10-12 whoopie pies.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until just done around the edges and the tops bounce back when lightly touched. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring the cookies to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- Combine the shortening and powdered sugar in a large bowl. Beat well using a hand mixer or stand mixer until smooth. Add marshmallow fluff and vanilla extract, then beat again, scraping the sides of the bowl so everything gets evenly combined.
- Pipe a generous amount of frosting onto the flat bottom of one cookie, then top with another cookie to make a whoopie pie. Repeat with the remaining cookies and filling.
- Storing Instructions: Store in a single layer in an airtight container for up to 1 week in the fridge.
- Freezing Instructions: Lay the assembled whoopie pies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for 2 hours. The frozen whoopie pies can then be stacked in an airtight container with a square of parchment paper between them and stored for 2-3 months. Thaw at room temperature for an hour before serving.