Dish of the Week: Whoopie Pie

From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. Find other dishes of the week here.

This week, we’re sweetening things up with Whoopie Pie.

Despite what it sounds like, whoopie pie is not a pie at all. Instead, the dessert – also known by monikers like “black moon,” “gob” or “bob” – is a cookie-cake hybrid made with two mounds of chocolate cake (similar to devil's food cake) that sandwich a sweet, creamy filling (often made with marshmallows). Common variations include gingerbread, pumpkin and red velvet cake, with fillings ranging from peanut butter-chocolate to lemon-raspberry.

It's largely associated with New England and the Pennsylvanian Amish, with Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania all claiming birth rights. Maine has even named the dessert its official state treat. The exact origins are still debated (did German immigrants bring it to Pennsylvania, or was it invented in Massachusetts before spreading north and south?), but we do know one thing for sure: Whoopie pie, which was born sometime in the 1920s, is still fantastic to this day.

This recipe, from Maine's Moody's Diner as seen on Food Network, uses a mix of marshmallow topping, shortening, butter, milk and powdered sugar to make an incredibly fluffy, sweet and creamy filling.

Whoopie Pies

makes 16
3 cups sugar
1 cup butter
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk

For the filling:
1 1/2 cups shortening
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 1/3 cups marshmallow topping
Dash salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 to 1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, or preheat a convection oven to 315 degrees F.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter and eggs together until well combined. Add the oil and vanilla and beat again.

In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Add half the dry mixture to the egg mixture and beat or stir to blend. Add 1 1/2 cups milk and beat again. Add the remaining dry mixture and beat until incorporated. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk and beat until blended.

With a large spoon, scoop out 32 circles of batter onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. 

Meanwhile, make the filling: In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all ingredients except the milk and beat well. Add just enough milk to achieve a creamy consistency. 

Allow the cakes to cool. Spread filling onto 16 circles and place remaining circles on top, to make 16 whoopie pies.
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Brooke Viggiano is a contributing writer who is always looking to share Houston's coolest and tastiest happenings with the Houston Press readers.
Contact: Brooke Viggiano