Chocolate Moxie Whoopie Pies with Allen’s Coffee Brandy Buttercream

I don’t think I’ve ever been to a party in a gravel pit where there hasn’t been at least one handle of Allen’s Coffee Brandy being poured into cartons of milk. For the uninitiated, Allen’s Coffee Brandy is an exceptionally popular libation here in Maine, where over a million bottles are consumed each year; that’s one bottle for nearly every man, woman, and child in the state. It’s a syrupy combination of sugar and day-old coffee ground flavor, made by combining coffee extract with neutral grain spirits into a 60 proof cocktail that, if you drink enough of it, packs quite a whallop.

If the lies my high school friends told me are true, there are four main reasons for the drink’s popularity:

  1. The relatively low cost for huge volumes of alcohol. A gallon of Allen’s Coffee Brandy (enough to get about a half-dozen high school Sophomores drunk enough to fall into a quarry) will set you back around $20 dollars or less.
  2. When mixed with equal parts milk (as in a so-called “Lewiston Martini”), the stomach-coating effects of the milk slow alcohol absorption. Coupled with the trace amounts of caffeine in the drink, a drunkeness beyond the limits at which your body would begin to think it had been poisoned are finally possible, leading to truly terrifying blood/alcohol levels.
  3. The outrageous fallacy that because the drink is made from coffee, it will give off an odor that is identical to that more benign beverage, and thereby is undetectable by law enforcement. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Allen’s Coffee Brandy drinkers give off a fairly telltale odor.
  4. And, of course, because it’s friggin’ delicious.

In an effort to combine my love of “drinking cocktails” with my love of “eating cake,” I tried to create one of the most Maine-centric desserts I could imagine. The Chocolate Moxie Whoopie Pie with Allen’s Coffee Brandy Buttercream was born. The addition of Moxie soda adds the mysterious herbaceousness of the fizzy drink to the chocolate cakes, while lending tremendous lift, lightness, and rise to the batter. I really like the way the medicinal soda tempers the sweetness of the chocolate cakes; taste a cake by itself before filling the whoopie pies, and you’ll see what I mean. It’s a good thing. The filling, a mixture of marshmallow Fluff, powdered sugar, butter, and Allen’s Coffee Brandy, is so excessively sweet that it would be almost unsuitable for a regular cake recipe. Eaten all together, though, this very lightly alcoholic dessert combines some of my favorite flavors of New England into an over-the-top twist on a Maine classic. Enjoy.

Chocolate Moxie Whoopie Pies with Allen’s Coffee Brandy Buttercream
Makes 8 big whoopie pies


For the Chocolate Moxie Cakes:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup Moxie soda
  • 2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking pwder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Allen’s Coffee Brandy Buttercream:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup marshmallow Fluff
  • 4 tablespoons Allen’s Coffee Brandy
  • 2 cups powdered sugar


For the Chocolate Moxie Cakes:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, cream butter, white and brown sugar, and vanilla for about five minutes, or until fluffy. Add eggs, buttermilk, and Moxie, and mix for about a minute more. Beat in flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and stir until well combined. Drop by the tablespoonful onto prepared baking sheets, leaving room for cakes to spread out, and bake for ten minutes. Transfer cooked cakes to a cooling rack, and allow to cool completely.

For the Allen’s Coffee Brandy Buttercream:

In a mixing bowl, beat together butter and marshmallow Fluff until light and creamy. Add Allen’s Coffee Brandy. Slowly add powdered sugar, and then mix until light and fluffy. Store in fridge until ready to assemble whoopie pies.

To assemble, sandwich a generous amount of filling between two of the cooled cakes. Refrigerate any leftovers.


Malcolm Bedell is co-author of the critically acclaimed "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road." He currently owns and operates the Ancho Honey restaurant in Maine.


  1. I just ate one of these, not an easy feat. I am now very full and maybe a teensy bit tipsy…not that anybody would be able to detect why.
    My son, the genius.

  2. What a great idea! I’ve made similar rum and coke whoopie pies from a recipe in Krystina Castella and Terry Lee Stone’s cookbook Booze Cakes. Never thought to repeat the feat with Moxie and Allen’s.

    Did you know there’s a cocktail made of equal parts Moxie and Allen’s? I’ve heard it called by various politically incorrect names; the Welfare Mom, Burnt Trailer, Domestic Violence and “Moxiecontin.”

  3. Oh the good times with Fat Ass in a Glass.

    Garnish your whoopie pies with blueberries and a lobster claw and you might have discovered Tim Sample’s all time favorite dish.

  4. I went into a small corner store/agency liquor store one time where they kept $100 bottles of scotch on the floor but the Allen’s Coffee brandy behind the counter. I have never been able to explain why this made sense to anyone who grew up outside of Maine.

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