For many people Hostess snacks were a part of childhood. If you grew up in the 1970s and 1980s you enjoyed the treats and the colorful mascots like Twinkie the Kid and Fruit Pie the Magician who promoted them. Here’s some of our favorite Hostess snacks ranked from best to worst.
10. Chocodile Tears
Fudge covered Twinkies were known as Chocodiles, but when the reappeared in 2014 the name had changed and the featured crocodile mascot on the package was nowhere to be found. There was a “dark time” for fans of Hostess snack cakes when many of the fun mascots were nixed. Chauncey Chocodile has been fired, but Twinkie the Kid is still acceptable and he does double duty appearing on the packages of fudge covered Twinkies as well as standard Twinkie snack cakes. The official description of a chocolate covered Twinkie is “chocolate coated sponge cake with creamy filling,” and unlike most Hostess cakes, Chocodiles were sold individually instead of in pairs. However, when the product was reintroduced as the fudge covered Twinkie they were sold in pairs, but as Hostess has admitted, Hostess cakes are smaller than they used to be. This chocolate covered treat had a loyal following, but not necessarily a large following. Because of this sad fact this snack cake was absent from store shelves for years. A fudge covered Twinkie was brought back in 2014, but it is no longer sold on the East Coast of the United States. Thankfully, Hostess fans in the Western states can still enjoy a Chocodile…fudge covered Twinkie. For now Chauncey remains in retirement, but we can still hope that Chauncey Chocodile will some day rise from the swamp and reclaim his rightful place in the snack cake world.
9. Open Your Pie Hole
Hostess fruit pies now are only available in apple and cherry flavor, but they used have other flavors like blueberry, blackberry, peach and lemon. These flavors were standard back when Fruit Pie the Magician was in his heyday as the Hostess mascot. He had a good run that lasted from 1973 until 2006. This magician presided over perhaps the most unhealthy of the Hostess snack cakes with their whopping 480 calories, 20 grams of fat and 38 grams of sugar. One Hostess pie fills you with 50% of your daily allowance of saturated fat. Hostess fruit pies are more a meal than a snack, but an unbalanced one with little nutritional value to recommend them. Despite being calorie bombs there are a number of web sites that offer recipes to make your own homemade version of this Hostess treat. You can make the standard flavors like apple and cherry, but the fillings you choose are really only limited by your imagination and the ingredients you can get your hands on. While many customers were happy when Hostess products appeared back on store shelves in 2013 after filing for bankruptcy in 2012 not everyone was happy with the pies. Some long time Hostess lovers complained that the fruit filling in the pies was “squishy” and “flat.” Apparently they felt the pies had been firm and round before the company reintroduced the snack cakes after the bankruptcy. Unfortunately, the changes made to Hostess products after the restructuring all seem to be negative ones. The taste and consistency of some of the cakes have been questioned by customers although generally they’re happy Hostess cakes came back.
8. Dollars to Donettes
Most Hostess snack cakes are good choices for a breakfast treat, but Donettes are tailor made for dunking in a cup of hot coffee. These mini doughnuts come in a variety of flavors but the most popular include chocolate frosted, powdered sugar and crunch. However, you can also find glazed, double chocolate, cinnamon crunch, strawberry and carrot cake. Although these last 2 flavors seem hard to come by. The trick with these little doughnuts is to not eat too many. They’re so easy to pop into your mouth that before you know it you could munch on a dozen or so. Donettes come in 3 oz packages of 6 or in larger 10 oz bags that have twelve. Its these bags that can get you into trouble because the little guys are just sitting there in a row – the perfect breakfast finger food. Perhaps the only issue with Donettes are that they can make a pretty big mess for such little treats. The chocolate frosting can slough off in little fragments, the powdered sugar gets, well everywhere and don’t even try to find all the little crumbs that scatter from the delicious crunch flavored Donettes. These are snack food problems that we just have to learn to accept if we’re going to continue to enjoy these tasty treats and we know we certainly are. One more thing: why can’t Hostess make the crunch Donettes into a full sized doughnut? They do make “Jumbo Donettes,” but these oversized donettes only come in Blueberry and Strawberry flavors. Hostess might as well bring back all of its classic full sized doughnuts that came in plain, cinnamon, powdered sugar and the coveted chocolate frosted.
7. I LQve You
Like the Suzy Q in the Clearwater Revival song, the Hostess Suzy Q is easy to love. Who wouldn’t love generous slices of chocolate cake with cream filling in between? Hostess introduced the Suzy Q in 1961, but like other Hostess snack cakes it disappeared from store shelves in 2012 in the wake of bankruptcy proceedings. Suzy Q’s reappeared in 2013 and things were ok for a few years, but then in 2016 Hostess decided to update the delicious snack cake by reducing the amount of cream filling and generally make the treats less tasty. fans of the treat registered their displeasure on social media, claiming that Hostess had ruined the snack. The company responded to the out cry asking for patience and promising that Suzy Qs would soon be made right. In 2018 a reviewer on the site theimpulsivebuy.com took another look at the snack cake in question. Hostess marketed the revamped cake with the line: “Now even better tasing,” and the company insisted this new version had 50% more cake and 50% more cream filling. Can we trust these numbers? It seems like they are smaller than they used to be regardless of these attempts to say otherwise. The reviewer opined that while the cake was tasty enough there was too much of it and not enough cream filling. The reviewer went on to compare Suzy Qs unfavorably with another classic snack – the Whoopie Pie. A Whoopie Pie is popular treat on the East Coast of the United State and is basically a circular version of the Hostess snack cake.
Hostess owner another well known snack cake company called Dolly Madison. Dolly Madison came out with the Zinger snack cake, but it became part of the Hostess line when the company that bought Hostess in 2013 also acquired the rights to Dolly Madison products. Prior to its association with Hostess, Dolly Madison had been known for its use of the Peanuts characters in its advertising campaigns. The Zinger is slightly squared off Twinkie – like cake with the addition of frosting on top. The come in chocolate, vanilla and raspberry. It’s the raspberry flavor that is interesting, because Hostess didn’t really have a cake like this. A yellow cake with cream filling is covered in a sweet raspberry syrup. It has the added little touch of a dusting of shredded coconut to complete it. The only product even a bit similar would be the raspberry filled jelly donettes it used to make. Sadly, these little gems did not survive the corporate restructuring following the unfortunate bankruptcy in 2012. The chocolate and vanilla Zingers seem too much like variations of Twinkies, Suzy Qs and cupcakes. While these are all delicious cakes, we don’t really need close copies of them do we? Also, since Hostess has dropped most of the mascot advertising the Peanut characters are no longer a part of the Zinger appeal. Hostess could bring back its classic mascots and team them up with the Peanuts for a snack cake marketing extravaganza.
4. Sno Ball Fight
SnoBall’s are a bit of an oddball among the Hostess snack cake ensemble. These cakes were introduced after the Second World War when Americans were freed from the restrictions imposed on treats because of sugar and flour rationing. The original version of Sno Balls had shredded coconut sprinkled on top of marshmallow frosting with a chocolate cake at its core. They lacked the cream filling, which wasn’t added until 1950. The combination of marshmallow and coconut gives Sno Balls a kind of retro or art deco feel that no other Hostess snack cake has. A little bit later the coconut of one cake in a package of 2 was colored pink. Eventually, Hostess realized it made more sense to color the cakes the same so both Sno Balls were colored pink. Over the years Hostess has sold Sno Balls in many different colors that often celebrate particular holidays or seasons such as green for St. Patrick’s Day, orange for Halloween and green – also for Halloween, white for Winter and lavender for Spring. There were also blue Sno Balls put out as part of a promotional campaign for the movie Monsters vs. Aliens. These odd little cakes have had their share of attention in popular culture with appearances in a wide range of television shows and movies including Cheers, X-Files, Gilmore Girls, Con Air, The Hot Chick and Zombieland. It’s probably their relative uniqueness, as far as snack cakes go, that have made Hostess Sno Balls a long time favorite for many.
3. San Francisco Treat
A bakery in San Francisco, California came up with Ho Hos in 1920. This delicious Hostess snack cake is similar to Little Debbie’s Swiss Roll snack cake. These cakes are a cylinder shaped chocolate cake based on a spiral design with cream filling and a chocolate coating. Compared to other snack cakes HoHos aren’t too bad in calorie department with a relatively modest 120 per roll. In the 1970s Hostess introduced a mascot for the tasty snack cake called Happy Ho Ho. Happy wore an outfit reminiscent of Robin Hood’s costume complete with a feather in his hat. Like Big Wheels/Ding Dongs/King Dons, Ho His used come wrapped in foil to protect the delicate chocolate coating. In 1989 Hostess created a version of Ho Hos with nuts covering the outside of the cakes. These cakes were part of a promotion to find “the country’s nuttiest laugh.” According to voters the winner was then superstar stand up comedian and actor, Eddie Murphy. Other Ho Ho variations were introduced in 2003 and 2004; both offered caramel filling in addition to the standard cream filling. The 2003 variant was probably a bit of overkill with its extra chocolate in addition to the caramel. Hostess lovers have also been able to get seasonal flavors like peppermint Ho Hos during the Christmas season. However, like most variations of cakes, cookies and candies, these caramel Ho Hos don’t seem to be worthy of the effort. Ho Hos, like many Hostess snack cakes, are pretty perfect as they’ve always been and weren’t in any need of “improvement.”
2. You Say Ring Ding I Say Ding Dong
If you grew up on the East Coast of the United States before the 1990s you probably grew up knowing about Hostess Big Wheels. You might have described the snack as being similar to a Drake’s Ring Ding. Big Wheels were called Ding Dongs (to represent the sound of a door bell ringing) in other parts of the country. On the East Coast Hostess wanted to avoid confusion with its competitor so it changed the name. A legal controversy between Hostess and Drakes ensued over the similarities of the names of the competing snack cakes. Hostess responded by coming up with a compromise name for its snack cake: King Dons which came complete with a King mascot shaped like a – Don? The King Don name and mascot seems like a particularly uninspired choice that smells like branding by committee. The uninspired name and mascot didn’t last very long as Hostess decided it was going to use the name Ding Dong everywhere. The snack cake itself is a simple but delicious treat: a round chocolate cake that resembles a hockey puck with a creamy filling. The cake is covered in a layer of what Hostess calls a “chocolate glaze.” The snack cake formerly known as a Big Wheel used to be wrapped in foil and had a mascot called Chief Big wheel. The chief, however, has gone the way of most of the Hostess mascots. Even through the controversies with other snack cakes from other brands and the name changes fans of Hostess have remained loyal to the Ding Dong for long time.
1. Twinkies are for the Kid
A baker named James Dewar who was working for the Continental Baking Company invented the Twinkie in 1930. Dewar was inspired by the fact that some of the machines used to make strawberry short cake were left idea when strawberries were out of season. He came up with a snack cake filled with banana cream. He named his new cake the Twinkie. At least one person has suggested that Dewar came up with the name after seeing a billboard with the phrase “Twinkle Toe Shoes.” When bananas were rationed during the Second World War so the company switched to a vanilla cream filling. From then on the Twinkie was described as “a golden sponge cake with creamy filling.” The banana cream filled Twinkie was brought back in earnest in 2005 as part of a promotion for the movie King Kong. They proved to be so popular that Hostess put them back into its snack cake line. There have been a number of other Twinkie variations including Chocolate and strawberry. If you know Twinkies than you probably know that the official mascot of the snack cake is Twinkie the Kid. This enthusiastic snack cake character who wears a hat, kerchief and boots was introduced in 1971. He was taken off Hostess packaging between 1988 and 1990. The Twinkie garnered some strange publicity in 1978 when Dan White murdered San Fransisco’s Mayor George Moscone and city Supervisor Harvey Milk. White’s attorney tried to argue that his client suffered from a diminished capacity because his switch to junk food like Twinkies has exacerbated his depression. Hostess cakes, including the beloved Twinkie, was absent from store shelves for a while after the company filed for bankruptcy, but thankfully, Twinkie the Kid rode again in 2013.