Forget Cupcakes: Whoopie Pies Are Gonna Be Big

While in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, this weekend, whoopie pie flavor exploration became the number-one priority. The Central Market downtown was the best playground, where four flavors sat behind a glass counter: red velvet with white cream filling, chocolate with peanut butter filling, pumpkin with buttercream filling and chocolate chip cookies (harder texture, not puffy like the others) with white cream filling. After asking the aproned woman which was most "authentic," she paused.

"Well, pumpkin is probably most popular." (Sidenote: pumpkin outside of autumn is awesome). "But chocolate chip is probably most authentic."

Really? Chocolate chip? Would the Pennsylvania Dutch agree? Isn't chocolate cake with white creamy innards the most iconic whoopie pie flavor? Food Network seems to agree (Emeril's black-and-white version is the only one listed online). But is that so in Whoopie Country, Pennsylvania? At Lancaster's Bird-in-Hand Bakery, they carry black-and-whites, but in addition to pumpkin and chocolate-with-peanut butter. All three have been on the menu since the bakery opened forty years ago, and in 2000, red velvet entered the scene.

Why all the flavor flexibility? Bird-in-Hand baker Laura Boepple thinks the Broadway production Plain and Fancy was a major catalyst, inspiring curious tourists to make Lancaster roadtrips for Amish educations. And with that came inevitable whoopie pie exposure too. More tourists, more business, more flavor ideas generating. For St. Pat's Day last month, Bird-in-Hand featured a chocolate cake with mint filling and in this Chowhound thread, a maple whoopie was spotted at a Vermont bakery.

Are whoopie pies the next cupcakes, with flavors leaving black-and-white vision? Will they grow as imaginative as bubblegum and chai latte? How does this make the Pennsylvania Dutch feel?