The Disputed History Of Whoopie Pies

What's in a name? Would a whoopie pie by any other name taste as sweet? Absolutely, in fact whoopie pies, moon pies, black moons, and gobs are all the same sweet treat, no matter what you call them. Many, however, would like to claim the classic cake-and-cookie hybrid as their own; its many names are just a testament to that fact. In particular, though, three states claim the whoopie pie as a local creation.

According to the New England Historical Society, one of the few facts agreed upon by food historians is the dessert we're choosing to refer to as a whoopie pie originated in bakeries around the 1920s. For the uninitiated, a whoopie pie is not a pie at all, but a cookie-like sandwich made from a dollop of cream icing sandwiched between two mound-shaped pieces of cake (via Farmers' Almanac).

While a whoopie pie is most often made with chocolate cake and plain white icing, it's been adapted with a variety of other flavors as well. Best enjoyed with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee, whatever you call it, this treat is one that is beloved by generations of families throughout the eastern United States.

The origin of the whoopie pie according to three states

Massachusetts, Maine, and Pennsylvania all claim the whoopie pie as their own, and each state has a whoopie pie origin story of legend, which has led to the decades-old disputed history of the whoopie pie.

Citing the "The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink," the New England Historical Society explains that the whoopie pie got its first documented nod in the cookbook "Yummy Book," as part of a 1930s radio show sponsored by Marshmallow Fluff-maker Durkee-Mower. However, the treat is believed to date back even further that, to the 1920s and the Berwick Cake Company of Boston; author Nancy Griffin was able to capture a faded 1931 ad in her book "Making Whoopies: The Official Whoopie Pie Book" (via The Wall Street Journal).

In Maine, meanwhile, the whoopie pie is actually the state's official treat. This sweet designation was made official by the Maine Legislature in 2011, per, which adds that reports of the whoopie in Maine go back to as early as 1925. 

In Pennsylvania, the whoopie pie is connected to the large Amish community that settled in the eastern half of the state. Farmers' Almanac says the originals were made from extra batter, and possibly earned their name from the jubilant cry of children who found them packed in their lunch. In the western half of Pennsylvania, whoopie pies are actually called "gobs," a term that's also used by coal miners to refer to coal, which, of course, the whoopie pie resembles. Per the Daily American, the Harris-Boyer Bakery in Johnstown trademarked "gob" in 1927.