What in the World Is a Whoopie Pie?

Updated: Oct. 27, 2023

People who aren't from the Northeast have to ask, "What is a whoopie pie?" Here's what you need to know about this soft, handheld cake-and-cream treat.

The whoopie pie is a classic treat that’s beloved across New England and Pennsylvania. It’s sometimes confused with Mallomars or moon pies (by non-locals, certainly). While those treats do bear a resemblance to the whoopie pie—a chocolate sandwich filled with cream—they aren’t quite the same.

Find out what makes this New England treat a classic (and then whip up a few of our favorite whoopie pie recipes, too!).

So—What Is a Whoopie Pie?

Whoopie pies are two soft rounds of chocolate cake filled with vanilla buttercream frosting and marshmallow fluff. Traditionally, they’re handheld snacks, but there are also recipes out there for extra-large whoopies. At one Pennsylvania whoopie pie competition, a record-breaking 250-pound pie was created—and then a year later that record was decimated at a Maine whoopie pie celebration by a 1,000-pound pie.

Why Call It a “Whoopie Pie”?

In the early 20th century, the term “whoopie” was being tossed around an awful lot. There was the classic flapper song “Makin’ Whoopee” and then in the ’30s, the classic whoopee cushion was invented to the delight of pranksters everywhere. At the same time, Boston’s Berwick Baking Company started selling Berwick Whoopie Pies—just five cents each.

Labadie’s Bakery in Maine also claims to be the first to sell whoopie pies—but back in 1925. There’s no concrete evidence to confirm this but Mainers don’t mind. They declared the whoopie pie to be the Official State Treat. They host an annual Whoopie Pie Festival to boot!

Pennsylvania fiercely proclaims that whoopie pies (also called a “gob” in some neighborhoods) go back centuries in their state, originating in Amish kitchens. They say that Amish women would use cake batter remnants to make little pies for their husbands and children, who would find the cakes in their lunch pails and cry, “Whoopie!”

They’re not the only ones who take local food seriously—here are some surprising regional favorites you’ve never heard of.

Where to Find One Today

To feed this obsession, there are several whoopie pie companies (including Wicked Whoopies of Maine and Time Out for Whoopie of Vermont) that ship treats across the country and world. And there are dozens of flavor variations beyond the original chocolate cake and vanilla cream. But the best whoopie pie? That’s one you stir up at home.