Friday, March 11, 2011

David vs. Goliath of Whoopie Pies

I thought I would do my next taste-off on whoopie pies. I mean, I read they were the next cupcakes, after macarons and then after, well, regular pies.

Whoopie pies supposedly are an extremely popular treat on the East Coast, where there’s a debate about where they originated. (Some say it started in Dutch country in Pennsylvania.) Then they were supposedly invading California, with a few restaurants offering them up.

But over the last few months, I kept an eye out for whoopie pies to try. And after looking at various bakeries, I only found them at two places. So my big taste-off of whoopie pies pretty much boiled down to a simple battle between the Teacake Bake Shop on the East Bay and SusieCakes in San Francisco, which probably piqued people’s interest in this nostalgic treat in the first place.

When you look at the two versions, it really is a battle between David and Goliath, with David being from Teacake and Goliath being the monster whoopie pie from SusieCakes. Here’s a closer look.

Teacake Bake Shop’s whoopie pie ($2.50) has the traditionally look of the chocolate cake-like sandwich and the vanilla icing filling. The one I got couldn’t really keep its shape because the top cake looked like it was sliding off as I tried to take a picture.

The cake was like a chocolate cupcake cut in half, and the filling was really sweet. But I have a feeling that people like their whoopie pies to be sweet. I’m not a real sweet person so it seemed too much for me, although I did eat it up pretty fast.

SusieCakes’ whoopie pie ($5) is like twice the size of Teacake’s and just holding it in my hand it felt hefty. The sandwich portion is a cookie, instead of a cake, though it was soft enough to bite into. The filling was just as sweet as the Teakcake version, but because there was more of it, it really was too much.

In the end, I have to say I like the SusieCake version just because of the cookie portion of the whoopie pie was really good. But because I’m not into really sweet desserts, the fact that both whoopie pies had really sweet fillings made both not very appealing. So maybe I'm not a whoopie pie person.

Teacake Bake Shop, 5615 Bay St. (Bay Street Mall), Emeryville. PH: 510.655.0865
SusieCakes, 2109 Chestnut St., San Francisco. PH: 415.474.2253


Mary Bergfeld said...

It's always hard to evaluate desserts that you don't really care for. I know I find it hard because I like barely sweet, more European type, desserts. I give you credit for trying. I'm new to your blog and have spent some time browsing through your earlier entries. I really like the food and recipes you feature here. I'll definitely be back. Have a great weekend. Blessings...Mary

Carolyn Jung said...

I think that's why I haven't gone nuts for the whoopie pie trend, either. I don't like super duper sweet desserts, and I always fear whoopie pies will be exactly that. And now, you've confirmed it. LOL Think I'll stick with macarons. ;)

Single Guy Ben said...

Mary, my philosophy is to try anything at least once. ;-) Thanks for visiting!

Carolyn, I like macarons better, and they're kind of the same concept, in a way. I just wished macarons were bigger. If they were the size of that SusieCakes whoopie pie, that would be heaven!

Carol Clark said...

Don't give up on Whoopie Pies just yet. I, also do not like overly sweet desserts and that's why I started offering Whoopie Pies with a bit of a twist. The filling in my Whoopies are cream cheese or fresh fruit puree based, instead of the more sugary varieties. Makes for a delicious, but different type of Whoopie Pie.

Mrs. L said...

Even Starbucks has gotten on the bandwagon...part of their new "petites" line is a Red Velvet Whoopie Pie. I tired it and it was so-so...not something I'd crave or really order again.