4.5 WHOOPS!!! · Maine

A Journey to Whoopie Pie Mecca

Labadie’s Bakery—Lewiston, Maine

To begin, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your overwhelming support. We’ve already had readers in Canada, Australia, the UK and inexplicably, we had 5 views in Switzerland in the wee hours of the morning! Wilkomme, my Swiss friends. I hope the humble whoopie pie can enchant you half as much as a chäs-chüechli!

This morning, I took a beautiful drive north to Lewiston, ME to sample the legendary whoopie pie from Labadie’s Bakery. These guys are so good, their website is www.whoopiepies.com. Someone was thinking ahead in 1997, amirite?? Anyway, Labadie’s lays claim to being Maine’s original whoopie pie, and indeed, America’s original whoopie pie. In televised combat with the Amish of Pennsylvania—who also claim ownership over the original WP—Labadie’s was declared winner. Thus, it was with great anticipation that I opened the door to this landmark, located in the ethnic neighborhood of “Little Canada”.

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Labadie’s has been around since 1925 and is a no-frills operation. They get right down to business. Dear reader, this is the pie that dreams are made of.

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The cake: A slightly crunchy dome, dusted with powdered sugar, gives way to the lightest of chocolate cakes. The edges are crusty and give a lovely contrast in texture to the lightness of both the cake and the filling. (A note: the vanilla whoopie pie pictured above was not sampled. An investigation will be mounted at a later date.)

The creme: a generous filling of creme gives this pie a 1:1:1 ratio of cake to creme to cake. Fluffy and not overly sweet, this classic shortening creme is the perfect partner to this cake.

We award a coveted 4.5/5 Whoops to Labadie’s Bakery!!

 

3 Whoops · Maine

Scandal in York: Two for One!!

Stonewall Kitchen—York, Maine

Today, I stopped in at the Stonewall Kitchen Company Store in York, Maine. Right off the highway, the company store is a shrine to jams, sauces, and baking mixes. At the store cafe, they serve a range of pastries, soups, sandwiches, coffee, and most importantly, a whoopie pie with a dark secret. It retails for $2.25.

The cake: This pie came wrapped in cellophane which helped the cake retain moisture, but made it a little gummy on the outside. Very soft and fluffy, the cakes are reminiscent of birthday cake. I generally like my whoopie pies to be just a little firmer with some crunch to the cake, but this was solid for a wrapped-up pie.

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The creme: While enjoyable and with a strong vanilla flavor, when I asked about the creme recipe I was somewhat distraught to learn that the Stonewall Kitchen Cafe uses a pre-made creme from Bake’n Joy, a company that mass-produces 30-pound tubs of scoop and bake products!! For a company that presents itself as something of a luxury brand this seemed HIGHLY unusual and perhaps even mildly duplicitous! While I’ve enjoyed many a mass-produced whoopie pie in my day, the taste of integrity is even sweeter.

Disillusioned, I wandered into the company store and discovered that they sold a boxed mix. It cost $8.95, made 11 pies, and took about an hour to make from start to finish when I got home. Looking at the ingredients on the package, I was pleased to see that there weren’t preservatives, or really any ingredients that a home baker wouldn’t have on hand.

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The cake: Nothing beats a fresh from the oven, cooled whoopie pie cake. It’s still moist, but dome of the cake and edges are still a little crunchy! This cake fulfilled its role with great aplomb. There’s a little bit of a aftertaste, which I discovered comes from dehydrated coffee in the mix. A lovely note!

The creme: Not sure if my butter got too soft or I mis-measured the milk, but I found that I had to add extra confectioner’s sugar to the mix that was provided in order to achieve the correct consistency. Thanks to my friend Glen for selflessly contributing his sugar to the cause! The filling ended up being very sweet, possibly as a result of the extra sugar, and was a basic buttercream that tasted more like frosting than a whoopie pie filling. This creme was tasty, but perhaps doesn’t stand up to a proper whoopie pie creme.

At the end of the day, Stonewall Kitchen provided me with two tasty whoopie pies, but nothing that really stood-out. Both the cafe whoopie pie and homemade mix receive 3/5 whoops.

3 Whoops · 3.5 Whoops · Maine

The Maiden Pie

The Cookie Jar—Cape Elizabeth, ME                               

I was cruising over to Fort William for an afternoon walk with Neil when we decided we needed a snack. His choice, tom yum soup. Mine, the clear winner!

The Cookie Jar is an old-school bakery, in operation since the 1950s. It looks like the kind of bakery that my grandparents would feel comfortable in—unpretentious, with time-tested recipes. They’re not touting organic flour or local ingredients, but care and quality is the name of the game nonetheless. Most famous for their doughnuts, their large whoopie pies go for $3.19 and the mini-whoopie pies are $1.89. The Cookie Jar sells a standard whoopie pie—chocolate cake with vanilla creme.

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The filling: A classic Maine shortening creme, with just a little crunch of granulated sugar. Sweet and fluffy and just right. The ratio of creme to cake was perfect in the mini-whoopie pie, though in the large whoopie-pie I wouldn’t have minded a little more creme!

The cake: The cake was a little dry on this pie. The edges were chewy in a lovely caramelized sugar kind of way, but overall, the cake didn’t quite live up to the creme. I had the large whoopie pie at 3:30 pm, which may account for the dryness. I tried the mini-whoopie pie at 12:30 pm and it definitely was a little more moist.

To conclude, the Cookie Jar’s large whoopie pie receives 3/5 whoops and the mini-whoopie pie receives 3.5/5 whoops!