Updated in 2021! In honor of Pi Day, I thought we would revisit an old favorite, Classic Chocolate Whoopie Pies. The recipe was shared with us by Rob Benes from the online magazine Kids Cuisine over a decade ago. That website has since changed over, but this sweet dairy-free recipe lives on and I’m giving it a refresh today!
To give you a little history, chocolate whoopie pies can be traced back to the Pennsylvania Dutch and most of New England. The pies are two small disk-shaped cakes with a sweet creamy frosting sandwiched between. I make my filling using Marshmallow Fluff as the base ingredient.
While whoopie pie recipes vary — some call for canola oil and some call for shortening — the result is basically the same. But I prefer to use shortening. It may not be the healthiest thing to to eat, but my motto is “there’s no such thing as bad food, it’s just that people eat too much of things too often. Moderation is the key. Plus, I think the shortening gives the you a better baked product, superior taste, and longer shelf life.
The traditional whoopie pie is chocolate cake with a white, vanilla-flavored filling. But, you can also take out the cocoa powder and use pumpkin, oatmeal, banana, apple, carrot or anything else for that matter that lends itself to good baking. The filling, too, can be switched to complement the cakes. For example, if the cakes are banana flavored, try a peanut butter filling; or if carrot cakes are made, try a dairy-free cream cheese filling.
Nonetheless, these classic chocolate whoopie pies are great for kids’ birthday parties. You can even make one gigantic whoopie pie and top it with candles instead of the cake. The kids will get a huge kick out of a Whoopie Pie Birthday Cake!
Special Diet Notes: Classic Chocolate Whoopie Pies
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, nut-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free (depending on the buttery spread and shortening or oil that you use), and vegetarian.
For egg-free and vegan chocolate whoopie pies, you can swap in egg replacer for the 2 eggs. Vegan marshmallow creme can be hard to find, so I would use the Alternate Vanilla Cream Filling.
We haven’t these chocolate whoopie pies gluten-free as of yet, but they may work with your favorite gluten-free flour blend.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup shortening (see Shortening Note below)
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 cup all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups unsweetened or plain dairy-free milk beverage (your choice of type)
- 1 cup Marshmallow Fluff or Creme (about ½ of a 7½-ounce jar)
- 1 cup powdered confectioners’ sugar
- ½ cup dairy-free buttery spread
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Melted dairy-free chocolate (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (do not grease)
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the sugar and shortening with a hand mixer or stand mixer. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat to combine.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Alternately add the flour mixture and milk alternative to your mixing bowl, beating after each addition. Beat until combined.
- Pipe (for neater cookies) or drop the dough by the heaping tablespoon (to make 24 cakes, each about 2 to 2½ inches wide) onto your prepared cookie sheet.
- Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies just spring back when pressed in center with finger.
- Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.
- Place the marshmallow fluff, powdered sugar, buttery spread, and vanilla in a mixing bowl, and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. If the frosting has thinned at all (due to warmth), place the frosting in the refrigerator to set up again.
- Once the cakes are completely cool, spread the filling on the bottom half of one cake. Top with another cake.
- If desired, drizzle the pies with melted chocolate.
- Chocolate whoopie pies store well in an airtight container in the refrigerator and also freeze well.
Shortening Note: This recipe was created with traditional Crisco. Non-hydrogenated shortening, like Spectrum, should work well, but some natural brands might cause more spread. Substituting dairy-free butter alternative will also cause more spread.
High Altitude: We haven't tested this recipe at higher altitude. If baking above 2500 feet, particularly if in a dry climate, adjustments should be made. I would personally try cutting the leaveners (baking powder and soda) in half as a first trial.
More Chocolate Cookie Recipes
Sandwich Cookies with Assorted Homemade Fillings (vegan, gluten-free & allergy-friendly)
Chocolate Chunky Monkey Cookies (vegan, gluten-free & allergy-friendly)
Double Chocolate Orange Cookies (vegan, gluten-free & allergy-friendly)