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Papa's Whoopie Pies

Papa's Whoopie Pies

You know the dish that one family member makes that tastes like every good thing that's ever happened in your childhood? This is that dish. 

Rich, chocolatey cookie-shaped cakes sandwiching a fluffy vanilla cream. Think Oreo Cakesters circa 2007. Except this recipe is more like circa 1940s—a family recipe created by my great-grandmother Marie ft. a few minor alterations over the years from her son Steve, aka my grandfather, aka Papa. I didn’t get the chance to know Marie very well, but according to Papa she was an đź‘Ź incredible đź‘Ź baker y’all and made the most perfect Monkey Bread he’s ever had. The apple truly does not fall far from the tree because Papa is an A+ baker. Like, winner of the Great British Bake Off level of baking. This whoopie pie recipe is one of his most highly requested in our family…mostly by me. 

Marie made whoopie pies often when Papa was growing up in Churchtown, Pennsylvania—an unincorporated community in Lancaster County known as the hub of Amish country. Whoopie Pies (aka Gobs) are an Amish original...well, depending on who you ask (and if you’re asking anyone in my family, it is). It’s said that this pillowy treat was created in the early 1920s as a way to use up leftover cake batter and frosting. Amish wives/moms would add these cookie-sized cake sandwiches to their husband's and children's lunch boxes—and when they would open them, they were said to yell, “whoopie!” Giving the sweet treat its name. If you’re not from Pennsylvania, you may have heard a different origin story from Maine—who also claims the dessert as their own. 

The original recipe uses a vanilla cream but I sprinkled in some Spicewalla Chai Masala. Papa approved—fingers crossed Marie would, too. Hope these little sweet-treat sandwiches bring you as much joy as they’ve brought me. -Nicole ♥️ 

Yield: 15-20 whoopie pies

Time: approx. 45 minutes 


For the cakes:

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa
1 2/3 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla

For the cream filling:

3 tbsp. flour
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup milk
2 lb. powdered sugar (a.k.a. 10x sugar)
1 cup shortening
Chai Masala to taste


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Chai Masala
Chai Masala



For the cake:

  1.  Preheat oven to 350Âş
  2.  In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups sugar, 1 cup shortening, and 2 eggs. Blend together until smooth.
  3.  In a medium bowl, combine 4 cups of flour, 2 tsp. baking soda, and 8 tablespoons of cocoa. In a small bowl, combine 1 2/3 cup of milk and 2 tsp. vanilla.
  4.  Alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients from medium and small bowls to the large bowl. About half at a time. Beating the mixture each time to combine ingredients.
  5.  Mix batter until smooth. It should look like a mix between frosting and cake batter. Add more milk (or water) a teaspoon at a time if batter is too thick. You need to be able to scoop the batter like cookie dough so be cautious if adding extra milk.
  6.  Spray cookie sheet (you'll need multiple) or line with parchment paper. Add batter to cookie sheet by the tablespoon. Space about one inch apart. Use 1/2 a tablespoon to create smaller whoopie pies.
  7.  Bake for 8-9 minutes. Papa says the cakes are "ready when the tops spring back when touched." 
  8.  Once cakes finish baking, remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  

While cakes bake, prep filling.

For the cream filling: 

  1.  In a large bowl, mix together 2lbs powdered sugar and 1 cup of shortening. 
  2.  Add 3 tablespoons of flour, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and roughly 1/2 cup of milk.
  3. Papa Pro Tip: add the milk a little at a time while mixing, until you achieve a thick but creamy frosting constancy. Be careful not to add too much milk or the frosting will be too runny to add to the cakes.
  4.  Add chai masala to taste.
  5.  Mix together until smooth and creamy.

Final step:

Sandwich desired amount of filling between two pieces of cake. Repeat and enjoy!

*You may have leftover cream/frosting depending on how many cakes your batch makes and how much cream/frosting you add to the cakes. 

(Pictured: Papa, Grams, and me circa 1992)

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Chai Masala
Chai Masala



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