Whoopie Pies at Valero

A few months ago I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my local Valero sold some respectable cupcakes. Gas stations aren't the first place I go to for baked goods, but when I'm feeling lazy, it's nice to be able to fill my tank and satisfy my sweet tooth all in one place.

Now, it seems Valero has expanded its bakery offerings to include whoopie pies. Last week I bought some to cheer myself up after paying a fortune for ten gallons of regular unleaded. Three varieties were available (vanilla with chocolate buttercream filling, vanilla with vanilla buttercream filling, and chocolate with chocolate buttercream filling). I originally selected just two pies, but then the clerk kindly alerted me to the fact that at $.99 for one and $1.99 for three, it didn't make much sense to purchase only a pair. Math genius I am not.

I went home with one of each variety. That night I set up a little whoopie pie test-taste-station for myself. Here are my comments and rankings (on a one-to-ten scale):

Vanilla & Chocolate: 3. Faux chocolate filling and very dry vanilla cake. A dusting of powdered sugar only exacerbated the general dehydrated quality.

Chocolate & Vanilla: 7. Filling wasn't so much vanilla buttercream as excessively sweet white frosting; however, the cake was moist and had a strong cocoa flavor.

Vanilla & Vanilla: 5. Same saccharine white frosting filling as the Chocolate & Vanilla, but in this pie the vanilla cake was considerably moister, though still devoid of vanilla flavor.

The bakers at Valero need to work on the consistency of their cake texture, not to mention use some real vanilla rather than imitation extract. An additional flavor (pumpkin cake with cream cheese filling, perhaps?) would also be welcome. If I were craving sweets and needed gas in the darker hours, I would eschew the whoopie pies for the cupcakes, which are tastier, larger and adorned with better sprinkles.

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Joanna O'Leary