Sunday, November 20, 2011

Let's Make Whoopie

By Nick DeLuca

If you walk down Main Street in Topsfield, MA past the boutiques, craft stores, and sub shops, you might be lucky enough to catch a heavenly aroma that puts you in a trance. You’ll come-to in front of a building with a black and white striped awning featuring a single three-layer cake over a red-velvet door in an alleyway off the town’s busiest street. The porcelain wedding cakes on display in the single window next to the door look deliciously inviting. If you make your way inside, curious about the tantalizing smell that brought you here, you’ll notice the pictures of pastries, cookies, and candies scattered in frames along the wall. Sitting on a platter in the center of the room is the origin of the scent, an assortment of freshly baked whoopie pies.


The Topsfield Bakeshop

The Topsfield Bakeshop (formerly Demirjian Commercial Bakers) has served the North Shore and surrounding communities for over 13 years, but recently opened its new storefront in the summer of 2010. Specializing in wedding cakes, head pastry chef and owner Mary Bandereck has given the town of Topsfield something other to celebrate than weddings: her mouth-watering whoopie pies. The whoopies come in six different flavors: original chocolate, chocolate chip, pumpkin, red-velvet, oatmeal, and gingerbread. Bandereck mixes her own specialized butter-cream frosting and thickly sandwiches it between two pieces of light, fluffy, and delicious cake-like pies. 






What separates her pies from the rest is not only taste and texture, but size and price. These whoopie pies are equal in diameter to that of a bagel and contain roughly 2 inches of butter-cream frosting. The real cherry on top, so to speak, is that these sweet indulgences cost a mere $3 for one, or two for $5.

“There are few things you can get as cheap and delicious as those whoopie pies,” said Jim Gilford, owner of neighboring store Gil’s Grocery. “Because she offers a great product at a great price, her business is has become very successful. Luckily for me, her customers have wandered into my store as well.”

If you’re looking for a rich afternoon snack, or a post-dinner dessert, or simply want to satisfy your sweet tooth at any time of day but you’re trying to save your pennies during the economic recession, then check out the Topsfield Bakeshop’s eclectic variety of whoopie pies.

The Topsfield Bakeshop also offers their celebrated whoopie pies during the Topsfield Fair at a rustic booth aptly named The Whoo(pie) Wagon. Strategically positioned right at the fair’s entrance, The Whoo(pie) Wagon affords customers the same succulent deal of $3 for one, or two for $5. 


The Whoo(pie) Wagon at the Topsfield Fair

Should you become overwhelmed by the desire to concoct your own whoopie pie recipe, or want to learn the basics of baking and cooking, or just need an excuse to get out of the house, then sign up for classes at the Topsfield Bakeshop. Bandereck offers her wisdom as an instructor for classes ranging from Cooking and Baking 101, to Cake Decorating, to Middle Eastern Cuisine. With the help of Bandereck’s 25-plus years of food and pastry experience, you’ll learn to use a spatula as a paintbrush and sustenance as a canvas. Prices vary based on the class and number of students attending.


Mary Bandereck is also a freelance food stylist. Most of her work has been featured in books specializing in baking and confections, and styling for menus, television advertising and print work. A list of her work can be found on the Styling page of her website, www.topsfieldbakeshop.com. Prices for cakes, candies, and specialty cookie favors vary depending on the specificity of the request. The Topsfield Bakeshop is located at 44 Main Street in Topsfield, MA and can be reached by phone at (978) 887-0795 or via email at mary@topsfieldbakeshop.com.

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