The Whoopie Pie Café recently opened in Bangor, and K and I couldn’t resist a visit. In the past, I’ve found Maine’s “state treat” to be too sweet for my taste (and believe me, I like dessert). Unlike other cream-filled treats, such as oreos or eclairs, which encase sweet cream in a less-sweet cookie or pastry, the whoopie pie is sweet-as-can-be all the way through. Two or three bites is enough for me.
Despite my reservations about the much-celebrated treat, I was intrigued by the Whoopie Pie Café’s cute façade and creative flavors. Besides the usual vanilla frosting/chocolate cake combo, they feature fillings in flavors like orange, coconut, and rootbeer, sandwiched between a variety of cakey cookies.
I was hoping to be able to sample multiple flavors, but these whoopie pies are the size of hamburgers (seriously). K and I chose the café’s most popular twist on tradition, the dark chocolate with caramel sea salt filling, dubbed “Dark Seas.” It was sweet enough to give me a sugar rush, but the slight saltiness did temper the sweetness a bit. The filling was reminiscent not only of caramel but also of maple and coffee, providing a welcome variation on the original. I’m also interested in trying the “Luscious Lemon”—vanilla cake with lemon filling.
I paired the treat with a cup of Yankee Doodle coffee, a blend spiced with cinnamon and hazelnut that seems to be common to New England (the Whoopie Pie Café brews a very tasty variety by Maine’s Best Coffee).It certainly complemented the dark chocolate and sea salt caramel.
The whoopie pie is a storied and much-touted tradition in Maine—there’s even a festival dedicated to it. To be honest, I prefer Maine’s official state dessert of blueberry pie over the state treat (apparently Mainers were so torn up about which should reign supreme, they chose both). But maybe that’s the Californian in me.
What do you think? Are you a fan of whoopie pies? Have you tried making them? I think the basic form has a lot of potential, but I’ve yet to try one that perfectly suits my taste.