Business and Labor

The Great Whoopie Pie Controversy

Did the Whoopie Pie originate in New England or Pennsylvania? New England claims the treat as its own, while Pennsylvania argues Amish farmers first made them in their kitchens.

Whoopie Pie

Maine's official state treat

Food historians may never find the answer, though they do agree the Whoopie Pie originated sometime around the 1920s.

They belong to the same culinary family as Scooter Pies, Moon Pies, Devil Dogs, and Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies. Second cousins are Mallomars and S'mores, according to the Food History Timeline.

They are generally made of two mound-shaped pieces of cake -- usually chocolate -- sandwiched around a sweet frosting.

Flufferettes

The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink attributes New England’s love for the Whoopie Pie to Durkee-Mower, the Lynn, Mass., makers of marshmallow crème.  In the ‘30s Durkee-Mower sponsored a variety show called the Flufferettes on the 21 stations of the Yankee Radio Network.

The final episode featured the Yummy Book, which included recipes for cakes, pies, candies, frostings, the fluffernutter sandwich and the Whoopie Pie.

That makes the Whoopie Pie a sibling of the fluffernutter sandwich, invented by Emma Curtis, Paul Revere’s great-great-great-granddaughter.

Pennsylvanians claim Amish cooks were the first to make Whoopie Pies with extra cake batter sandwiched together with a sweet cream or icing filling. Legend has it that children shouted ‘Whoopie’ when they found them in their lunch pails.

berwick whoopie pieThere’s more than mere legend to support New England’s claim to ownership of the Whoopie Pie. The first known advertisement for the Whoopie Pie dates from 1931 -- by the Berwick Cake Co., in the Roxbury section of Boston. The faded letters "Whoopee! Pies" can still be seen on the old brick Berwick building.

In addition, Labadie’s Bakery in Lewiston, Maine, has been making Whoopie Pies since 1925, according to Jennifer Smith-Mayo and Michael Mayo in Maine Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Pine Tree StateUnfortunately, a fire wiped out documentation of Labadie’s Whoopie-Pie making history.

The State of Maine, however, stepped in to lay claim to the Whoopie Pie and in 2011 declared it the official state treat of the State of Maine (the official dessert is the blueberry pie).

Maine holds its annual Whoopie Pie Festival in June in Dover-Foxcroft. Click here for the map.

Pennsylvania holds its next annual Whoopie Pie Festival on Sept. 7, 2019 at the Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn in Lancaster County, Pa.

This story was updated in 2018.

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Jonathan Spillane

    June 23, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    That’s silly everyone knows the Amish don’t exist. I bet one single Amish person won’t come on here to refute the point neither. ☺

    • Maine Whoopie Pie

      September 23, 2018 at 11:08 pm

      Also I am certain that the Amish don’t know anything about making whoppie.

  2. David Bushika

    June 23, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    Everything that Pennsylvania makes claims to is pretty much fake hahahaha!

  3. Carol Downey

    June 23, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    I have no idea, but my grandmother from MA made the most delicious whoopee pies.

  4. Jonathan Armstrong

    June 23, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    I don’t care as long as I get to eat one

  5. Rae Thompson

    June 23, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    Maine

  6. David Newman

    June 24, 2014 at 9:42 am

    This is crazy. Of course it’s New England. Pennsylvania is always trying claim things that are really from New England. Ben Franklin for example….and American Independence!!! Both born in Boston!!!

  7. David Newman

    June 24, 2014 at 9:42 am

    This is crazy. Of course it’s New England. Pennsylvania is always trying claim things that are really from New England. Ben Franklin for example….and American Independence!!! Both born in Boston!!!

  8. Erica Groh

    June 24, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    The shoo fly pie by the Amish is delicious so they could have….. But it would have been from scratch! Lol

  9. Erica Groh

    June 24, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    The shoo fly pie by the Amish is delicious so they could have….. But it would have been from scratch! Lol

  10. J W Stone

    August 18, 2015 at 7:36 am

    I solved the issue on a trip to Maine last week. The famous Wyeth painting family bought them in PA. and took them to Maine when they traveled there to paint.
    So PA. invented them

    Ha

  11. Pingback: A Fulfilling Story: New England Pie History - New England Historical Society

  12. Pingback: Dish of the Week: Whoopie Pie - Houston Press - Sebits

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