Rating the Snack Cakes

Why didn’t anyone tell me?

The other day, at the supermarket, my son and I were surveying the snack cake aisle, looking for a delicious dessert treat for the week. As I’ve mentioned many times before, I have a weakness, nay an addiction, to snack cakes.

(Please note that when I say “snack cake” I mean Hostess or Drakes snack cakes – not those low-rent Little Debbie knock-offs. )

I’ve always loved snack cakes. Case in point: as a child, my parents were dismayed by my lack of skills or interests, so they “gave” me a hobby. I was conscripted into being a coin collector. In truth, being a coin collector isn’t as glamorous as it sounds. Basically, people from my extended family would bring me back foreign coins whenever they traveled overseas. I would briefly inspect the coin and then throw it into a little plastic McDonaldland trashcan bank in my closet. That was the extent of my hobby. One day, when I was around eleven years old, I took the entire collection to a local bank in an attempt to turn it into real money. I guess the exchange rate between the Bahamian quarter and the US dollar wasn’t very strong in the early ’80s, because I recall getting about $2.50 for the entire trashcan. I promptly biked over to the local Kwik-e-Mart and spent the haul on a Suzie-Q, a Chocolate Cow and two games of Ms. Pac-Man. Best money I ever spent!

So where was I? Oh yes, the supermarket. So we’re going through the snack cake options and I see this disturbing note on the Drakes box:

“Drakes by Hostess”

WHAT? I’m outraged. Globalization has gone too far this time. You know, I don’t get too worked up about cloning or GMOs, about international monetary fund policy or off-shore tax shenanigans in the Cayman Islands. But this is completely unacceptable. Hostess and Drakes are mortal enemies! And now the noble Drakes duck has to live with a Hostess logo under him?

So, in memory of a free and independent Drakes, today I present to you …Rating the Snack Cakes!


Twinkies: always dependable, it’s the golden cake with the creamy filling. It’s a little sticky on the fingers, but quite light and tasty. Twinkie the Kid is one cool cowboy, too. 8 (out of 10)

Chocodiles: The holy grail of snack cakes, the Chocodile (and its pimped out mascot Chauncy) is now only available west of the Rockies. It’s a chocolate-covered Twinkie and it’s spectacular. Why are we denied this sublime pleasure on the East Coast? 10

Suzie-Qs: Great song, great snack, the Suzie Q is hardcore. It’s a big rectangular chocolate cake with tons of creamy filling. In my high school people used to separate the halves and try to get the Q to stick to the ceiling in the cafeteria. 8

Ding Dongs: round chocolate coated chocolate cake with creamy filling. The combination of chocolate cake and chocolate coating is heavenly. 8

Cupcakes: poorly designed. The chocolate top often separates from the too-dry cake. And the golden version is a travesty. 5

Ho Hos: a sophisticated treat with an unsophisticated name, the Ho Ho is a fancy swirled cake and cream combination covered in chocolate. Best saved for dinner parties or holidays. 8

Donettes: the powered version is as bad as the chocolate version is good. Either way, there are better donut options in the world (e.g. glazed pop ‘ems). 6

Sno Balls: creepy and dry with a terrible mouthfeel. Only eat when desperate! 3

Fruit Pies: Fruit Pie the Magician is a cool mascot and the pie is pretty good, but I prefer the two mini pies (Drakes style) over the one big pie.  As far as flavor preference goes you’re talking cherry, apple, blueberry.  6

Mini-Muffins: When did they invent this travesty? Are parents supposed to think that this is a healthy option? Absurd. 3

Glazed Honey Bun: my preferred breakfast in school, it’s a sticky mess but it’s well worth it. And it’s even better warm. 8


Devil Dog: inexplicably popular, the Devil Dog is sahara-level dry. It sticks to the roof of your mouth, too. 4

Yankee/Sunny Doodles: chocolate and yellow cupcakes, sans icing. Cupcakes just aren’t that great, come to think of it. 4

Ring Dings: these are really just Ding Dongs, but they’re also known as King Dongs (awkward!), King Dons, and Big Wheels, each with it’s own mascot – the Indian Chief Big Wheel and King Don himself. 8

Yodels: Yodels are the same as Ho Hos, with a European-style name, making it even more sophisticated. These are for fancy dinner parties with the boss or country-club friends. 8

Funny Bones: I love Funny Bones. Once again the marriage of Chocolate and Peanut Butter rocks my world. I’d probably opt for this bad boy on death row, it’s so good. 10

Coffee Cake Junior: more of a breakfast treat, the coffee cake was a mature way to start your day. It’s a little dry, but it has a nice flavor and it’s a change from the chocolate-cream combination. 6

Fruit Pies: it’s just a personal preference, but as mentioned above, I like the two mini-pies over the one big pie. Fruit pies are good for when you’re dieting, obviously, because they’re made with fruit. 6

I’m speechless. Here I was all outraged over Hostess owning Drakes and yet it’s clear that Hostess has always owned Drakes, at least metaphorically. Better selection, better taste and better mascots (except for the Chief. I loved that guy.) And if it wasn’t for Funny Bones, Drakes wouldn’t even be in the running.


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