Classic Whoopie Pies - Handle the Heat

Classic Whoopie Pies

  |  
March 1st, 2023
4.89 from 116 votes
4.89 from 116 votes

My Classic Whoopie Pies feature fluffy, moist cocoa cakes sandwiched together with a creamy marshmallow fluff filling. Quick and easy chocolaty dessert recipe that everyone will love.

Yield: 18 sandwiches

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: The cocoa cakes and marshmallow filling just remind you of childhood and the feeling of being so thrilled to have dessert.
Texture: The whoopie pies are cakey yet firm while the filling is smooth and thick.
Ease: As long as you have an electric mixer of some sort (stand or hand-held) this recipe is relatively easy. It does dirty a few dishes.
Appearance: Is there anything better than a cake sandwich??
Pros: Fun, reminiscent dessert. You can also freeze them!
Cons: None.
Would I make this again? These would be great for so many occasions and I plan to get creative with the filling flavors!

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Is there anything better than a cake sandwich? Classic Whoopie Pies feature cocoa cakes with a creamy marshmallow filling.

This recipe was originally posted in 2012 and desperately needed some recipe updates and new photos. Basically, a total makeover. So we went to work tweaking the recipe. By the end of the week I had SO many Whoopie Pies at the house… more than we could ever actually eat.

Joe and I took them to our friends house to share. Before we even made it to the back patio where everyone was hanging out, their two kids both had a Whoopie Pie in each hand and were chowing down. If you make this recipe… you might also want to double down on the Whoopie Pies!

Usually I don’t like things that have a more cakey texture. I prefer my cookies to be chewy and my brownies to be fudgy.

However, for some reason the texture of a whoopie pie just makes me feel like a kid again.

They’re slightly chewy around the edges but soft and cakey throughout. Not to mention each ‘pie’ is filled high with luscious marshmallow fluff frosting.

I think you’re going to love this recipe for Whoopie Pies. They look like they came straight out of a bakery!

How to Make Whoopie Pies

What is a Whoopie Pie?

Despite the name, Whoopie Pies aren’t pies at all! The base is neither cake nor cookie. The texture is somewhere between the two. I fill mine with a marshmallow creme frosting, but you could also use buttercream or a cream cheese frosting.

Originally created in either New England or Pennsylvania (the origins are unclear), they are also known as ‘gobs.’ The store-bought varieties are often dry and overly sweet… much better to make them from scratch!

Pro tip: store these in the fridge and enjoy chilled, for maximum fudgy deliciousness.

Ingredients for Whoopie Pies:

  • All-purpose flour – Measured correctly. If you add too much flour, you may end up with dense, hard Whoopie Pies.
  • Cocoa powder – We’re using Dutch-processed cocoa powder here. More on that below.
  • Baking soda – Check out my Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder article to learn about the surprising differences between these two leaveners, and learn how to test that your leaveners are still fresh.
  • Salt – I prefer to use fine sea salt but you can also use table salt.
  • Butter – Always use unsalted butter in baking. It’s important that your butter is at a cool room temperature. Your sticks of butter should give slightly when pressed with your finger but still hold its shape. To be precise, your butter should be 67°F.
  • Sugar – We are using dark brown sugar for additional moisture though you can easily use light brown instead. Sugar does much more than simply sweeten your baked goods! Read more about the role of sugar in baking here.
  • Egg – One large egg, at room temperature. Don’t use extra large eggs or the chemistry of the recipe may be thrown off.
  • Vanilla extract – For flavor.
  • Buttermilk – This gives the Whoopie Pies a delightful tang to help balance the sweetness, and together with the baking soda, helps create a lovely light, fluffy texture. More on this below.

Ingredients for Whoopie Pie Marshmallow Cream Filling:

  • Marshmallow creme (aka marshmallow fluff) – An easy, quick way to make this filling full of marshmallow flavor, without having to make your own marshmallow or mess with melting down regular marshmallows. You’ll need either one of the larger 13-ounce containers or two of the smaller 7-ounce ones. Marshmallow Creme or Marshmallow Fluff work here. Marshmallow creme has a slightly thinner consistency than fluff, so you may need to add a bit more powdered sugar to sufficiently stiffen it up.
  • Butter – This helps create the creamy filling. Again, I prefer to use unsalted butter in baking so you’re in control of the salt in your baked goods.
  • Powdered sugar – Together with the marshmallow fluff and butter, this makes our marshmallow creme into a frosting!
  • Vanilla – For flavor.
  • Sea salt – To balance out the sweetness.

Why Do These Whoopie Pies Use Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder?

I recommend using Dutch-process cocoa because it provides a deep color, more moisture, and a flavor that I think complements the marshmallow filling perfectly. But why am I using Dutch-process cocoa with baking soda for this recipe? Shouldn’t it be baking powder?

comparison of dutch process vs natural cocoa powder

Dutch-process cocoa has more fat than most grocery store natural/unsweetened cocoa powder products, which is what we want for flavor and moisture in this specific recipe. The buttermilk in this recipe activates the baking soda. However, if you must use natural cocoa powder go ahead. Just note your Whoopie Pies may be lighter in color and slightly dryer in texture. You can learn more about the differences between cocoa powders here.

You can typically find Dutch-process cocoa at your local grocery store or many gourmet food stores like Whole Foods, Sur la Table, Williams Sonoma, or Penzeys. I actually order a big container on Amazon because it’s such a great value!

Do I Have to Use Real Buttermilk in These Whoopie Pies?

Buttermilk works best in this recipe to provide rich and tender ‘cakes.’ We need it not only for flavor and moisture, but to help the leavening action by activating the baking soda. I would not recommend using a buttermilk substitute. You can learn more about the science of buttermilk, and see baked goods made with buttermilk substitutes, in my Buttermilk 101 article.

How to Make Whoopie Pies:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl and using an electric hand mixer), beat the butter and brown sugar on low speed until combined. Increase speed to medium high and beat for 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed for another 3 minutes, or until very well combined. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.
  4. Alternating, add the buttermilk and the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Add half of the flour mixture then half of the buttermilk to the batter and beat on low until combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. Add remaining buttermilk and flour, beating until combined.
  5. Portion out. Use a medium 1 ½-tablespoon spring-loaded scoop to drop mounds of batter onto prepared baking sheets (cookie sheets lined with parchment paper), spacing 2 inches apart.
  6. Bake. Bake Whoopie Pies in a 375°F oven for 11 minutes, or until they spring back slightly when pressed gently and appear dry on top. Allow to cool on pans for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Make the filling. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the marshmallow creme and butter on low speed until combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt on low speed until combined then increase to medium high and beat until very smooth, about 3 minutes.
  8. Assemble. Use a medium 1 ½-tablespoon spring-loaded scoop to dollop marshmallow filling on the flat side of half the whoopie pies. Alternatively, use a piping bag to pipe approximately 1 ½-tablespoons of filling on the flat side of half the whoopie pies. Sandwich gently with the remaining whoopie pies.

How to Portion Out the Whoopie Pies & How to Fill Them

This Whoopie Pie batter is similar in consistency to a very thick cake batter. My favorite way to portion these out is to use my medium cookie scoop (1.5 tablespoons), which not only creates perfectly consistent Whoopie Pies that bake evenly, but it also makes quick work of portioning out the batter/dough. The same scoop also makes easy work of adding the marshmallow creme filling, but if you prefer, you can pipe it on to half the Whoopie Pies using a disposable piping bag and a large round tip, before sandwiching with the other half of the Whoopie Pies.

If your mounds of batter are misshapen, your ‘pies’ will not bake up as evenly round. Use a spoon to re-shape the batter into more even circles before baking if you want them to be picture perfect!

How to Store Whoopie Pies:

Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a day, or in the fridge for up to 4 days. If transporting, chill the whoopie pies in the fridge for at least an hour before transporting, as refrigeration makes them firmer and less fragile. Serve Whoopie Pies chilled for a deliciously fudgy texture.

Can you Freeze Whoopie Pies?

Yes! I recommend placing the Whoopie Pies on a baking sheet in a single layer and freezing for an hour or so, until just solid enough to prevent them from sticking together. Then, simply place in a ziptop bag or an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month. Thaw for a few hours or overnight in the fridge or at room temperature (either is fine) before serving.

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4.89 from 116 votes

How to make
Whoopie Pies

Yield: 18 sandwiches
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
My Classic Whoopie Pies feature fluffy, moist cocoa cakes sandwiched together with a creamy marshmallow fluff filling. Quick and easy chocolaty dessert recipe that everyone will love.

Ingredients

For the Chocolate Whoopie Pies:

  • 1 2/3 cups (212 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup (57 grams) Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 grams) lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups (296 grams) buttermilk, at room temperature

For the Marshmallow Filling:

  • 297 grams marshmallow creme fluff (a little less than 1 13-ounce container)
  • 15 tablespoons (212 grams) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (140 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 ½ tablespoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt

Directions

For the Whoopie Pies:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar on low speed until combined. Increase speed to medium high and beat for 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on medium-high speed for another 3 minutes, or until very well combined.

  4. Add half of the flour mixture then half of the buttermilk to the batter and beat on low until combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. Add remaining buttermilk and flour, beating until combined. Mixture will be fluffy and slightly sticky like a very thick cake batter.

  5. Use a medium 1 ½-tablespoon spring-loaded scoop to drop mounds of batter onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake for 11 minutes, or until pies spring back slightly when pressed gently and appear dry on top. Let cakes cool on pans for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the filling:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the marshmallow creme and butter on low speed until combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt on low speed until combined then increase to medium high and beat until very smooth, about 3 minutes.

To assemble:

  1. Use a medium 1 ½-tablespoon spring-loaded scoop to dollop marshmallow filling on the flat side of half the whoopie pies. Sandwich gently with the remaining whoopie pies.
  2. If transporting, chill the whoopie pies in the fridge for at least an hour before transporting to make firmer and less fragile. Serve chilled for a more fudgy texture. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a day or in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Recipe Video

Course : Dessert
Cuisine : American
Keyword : whoopie pie recipe, whoopie pies

This post was originally published in 2012 and updated in 2023 with new photos and recipe improvements. Photos by Joanie Simon.

Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

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Recipe Rating




  1. #
    Suzanne — November 18, 2023 at 3:20 pm

    I don’t have enough AP flour. Can I use cake flour?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 20, 2023 at 9:19 am

      Hi Suzanne! We haven’t tried that, but feel free to experiment. Just note that your whoopie pies may be lighter, softer, and more delicate, and could also be a different height and thickness because of the flour change. Let us know how it goes if you give this a try!

  2. #
    Meg — November 12, 2023 at 4:35 pm

    My cookies came out puffier rather than flat. Any suggestions? They taste delicious!!!

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 13, 2023 at 9:03 am

      Hi Meg! Glad to hear that these whoopie pies were delicious, even if they weren’t quite the shape and consistency they should be! How do you measure your ingredients? By volume (using cups), or by weight (using a digital kitchen scale)? When measuring by volume, it’s so easy to mis-measure ingredients (particularly flour) and throw off the entire chemistry of a recipe – resulting in things like puffy cookies. Check out Tessa’s article here, where she talks about how to best measure ingredients to ensure accuracy every time. I hope that helps! 🙂

  3. #
    Debora Schneider — November 11, 2023 at 6:15 pm

    Are there any changes in this Whoopie Pie recipe for high-altitude baking?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 13, 2023 at 9:21 am

      Hi Debora! Unfortunately, no one at Team Handle the Heat lives at high altitudes, so we are not able to test our recipes to see what adjustments are needed for high altitudes – but this King Arthur Baking resource has some great tips. I hope that helps! Happy baking 🙂

  4. #
    Heidi Nash — November 4, 2023 at 3:41 pm

    So very very easy to make and delicious!

    Going to try a couple of more of your recipes soon

  5. #
    Martin — October 14, 2023 at 11:38 am

    These came out great! Delicious and easy. Filling is really good. I’ll use that filling for a cake at some point.

  6. #
    Donna — September 3, 2023 at 9:56 am

    The cake itself was amazing. I refrigerated the pies as suggested for transportation. They were unbelievably fudgy. I did add the ganache, which just made a great “bite” to the pie because it was refrigerated.
    My only slight disappointment was the filling. I used JetPuff, and had to add a lot of confectioners’ sugar to get it to firm up. My butter was still cool, but I didn’t refrigerate it before spreading.
    They were loved by all, but I’ll look for another filling recipe next time.

  7. #
    Sylvia — July 29, 2023 at 5:05 pm

    Tried this recipe today as a trial run as I wanted to make mini whoopie pies as part of a dessert table at a bridal shower. The cookie part is fine, but the filling was soft and the tops of the whoopie pies started sliding off. My husband and son liked the taste. I think that 1 and 1/2 Tbles of vanilla in filling usus a bit too much though. Any suggestions on how to make filling more stable, please do not say to add more sugar as it is sweet enough already

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — July 31, 2023 at 9:40 am

      Hi Sylvia! So glad to hear that your husband and son enjoyed these whoopie pies! Try using butter that’s a bit cooler, to thicken the filling. Butter should be around 67°F when creamed, or even a few degrees cooler – especially if the filling was too loose on your previous try. It’s so warm this time of year that your butter may have gotten far too warm much quicker than usual! You can also try refrigerating the filling for a little bit before filling your ‘pies’. The longer it sits in the fridge, the more the butter will re-solidify. I hope this helps! Happy baking 🙂

  8. #
    Michelle — July 25, 2023 at 7:53 pm

    The cookies spread in the oven more than the photos even though I measured everything by weight. I refrigerated it overnight and it was a little better but still a bit thin. Then when I pressed the sandwiches together, some of the chocolate on each one stuck to my hands so they ended up being ugly =(. They tasted great, though! Any tips on them not sticking to my fingers or to each other?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — July 26, 2023 at 7:31 am

      Hi Michelle! I’m sorry to hear that your Whoopie Pies didn’t quite turn out as they should! A few things could have gone wrong here:
      – Is your baking soda still fresh and active? Leavening agents can lose their effectiveness even before the expiration date printed on the can – especially if you live in a humid climate. Expired baking soda will not be able to lift and leaven your baked goods effectively. Check out this article where Tessa explains how to test for leavener freshness.
      – How warm was your butter at the time of creaming? I know it doesn’t seem that important, but when butter gets too warm, all kinds of things can happen and impact the outcome of your baking. This time of year particularly, butter can get too warm super quickly. Learn more about the importance of the temperature of your butter and creaming time here.
      – Hopefully one of these things resolve the issues you experienced with spreading and sticking to your fingers, but just in case the stickiness is a humidity issue, maybe pop the cooled cookies in the freezer (on a parchment-lined baking tray) until firm, and then fill, sandwich and serve. Hopefully that might solve your stickiness issue if all else fails.
      We hope you give these Whoopie Pies another try sometime! Happy baking 🙂

  9. #
    y.Lopez — July 25, 2023 at 11:32 am

    These were amazing! Thank you for updating the recipe. How would I go about making these vanilla and still using the brown sugar? What would I replace the cocoa powder for? Is this possible? I don’t see a vanilla Whoopie pie recipe on your site so hoping to convert this one. Thank you!

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — July 26, 2023 at 7:34 am

      Hi there! So glad to hear that you enjoyed these Whoopie Pies! We don’t currently have a vanilla Whoopie Pie recipe, and eliminating the cocoa powder is actually pretty complicated. Cocoa powder is a very drying ingredient, so it’s not as simple as replacing the cocoa with flour, as they react differently to ingredients and absorb liquids differently. You would also likely need to adjust the liquid and possibly the leavening. Feel free to give it a try, but this will take a lot of experimentation and some patience to nail! Good luck and happy baking 🙂

  10. #
    Susan — July 10, 2023 at 1:29 pm

    Could you make this as a cake with the same ratio of ingredients?

  11. #
    K — July 10, 2023 at 5:43 am

    These are phenomenal whoopie pies. They aren’t too sweet, and they bake nicely. I used the weight measurements and they turned out perfectly.

  12. #
    Dana Michaud — July 5, 2023 at 10:15 am

    Hello- can these be made ahead and frozen?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — July 10, 2023 at 12:49 pm

      Hi Dana! They sure can! Check out the very bottom of the pink tip box (above the recipe) for instructions on how to best freeze these! 🙂

  13. #
    Dianne — July 4, 2023 at 8:09 am

    I have made Whoopie pies for years with no problem at all. Now, for the second time, my filling has come our curdled. Any idea why? They are a wonderful go to recipe for a quick dessert to bring anywhere. Just frustrated because nothing is different! Help….please???

    Thanks Dianne

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — July 10, 2023 at 1:02 pm

      Hi Dianne! Hmm, that sounds so strange! You mentioned that nothing is different, but I just want to verify that you haven’t changed brands of marshmallow fluff or a different type of powdered sugar (some are finer than others). The only other thing I can think of is that your butter might be getting too warm. When butter gets too warm, this can cause all sorts of problems. Around 67°F is perfect for baking and making buttercreams, but this time of year, when it’s sooo hot, a few degrees cooler is ideal. Hopefully that helps, but if not, also try whipping the buttercream a little longer, as this can save your buttercream and bring it back together. Good luck and happy baking!

  14. #
    Hannah — April 1, 2023 at 9:11 pm

    Fantastic Recipe! I will definitely be using this again!

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