Hostess Is Closing, so Let’s Rank Their Products

Source: Ezra Wolfe

If you click over to right now, you’ll be greeted with a terrible message that begins: “Hostess Brands is Closed.” Straight to the point, no delicious filler.

When I was a kid, there was a Hostess Outlet in Poughkeepsie, New York, where they’d send all of the slightly mangled cakes: orange cupcakes with terrible icing jobs, under-coconutted Snoballs, smashed Suzy Q’s. They were all in a huge grated bin, like t-shirts at a Hanes outlet.  We were allowed to pick out one treat; I always went with the twin-pack of orange cupcakes, since they were so hard to find in regular stores.

Hostess treats were important to me as a kid. We weren’t dirt poor, but Hostess always signified when we were doing alright. They meant things would be good for another week. I’m sad to see them go.

In their honor, let’s rank them. Jump for tasty goodness.

I decided to separate “Hostess Cakes” from “Hostess Brands.” Otherwise, I’m slipping in Drake’s coffee cakes and Yodels right at the top, which wouldn’t be fair to people who’ve never experienced their deliciousness. And we’ll only do a top five, since I got other stuff to do today.

5. SnoBalls– Good, not great. Cake was always too dry. Maybe that’s because I’ve only ever eaten one from an outlet, and it was right on the cusp of expiration.

4. Twinkies- Overrated due to their market saturation. Also, this terrified me as a child:

3. Ho-Hos– Yodels’ weak cousin, the one people always say looks like you, but you just don’t see it. Bizarro Yodels.

2. Suzy Q’s– If the Hostess Outlet lacked the orange cupcakes, they became the go-to. I was not as worried about the grammars then.

1. The aforementioned orange cupcakes– So deliciously fake orangey. So rare.

People may also make a case for the Baseball cupcakes (vanilla on vanilla, with red stitching), which I understand. Probably #6.


  • Liz Johnstone

    This is all wrong. For one thing, I’ve never even seen these orange cupcakes. For another, the straight up Hostess Cupcake is delicious. Also, I’d move up Ho-Hos.

  • Jason Heid

    Brad posted this list without seeking the advise and consent of the full D Magazine staff. I also have never in my life heard of these orange cupcakes. And where are the Ding Dongs?

  • BradfordPearson

    I smell competing lists in the comments.

  • hungry

    yeah, no ding-dongs? is he communist?? and twinkies at #4? seriously? those things could survive a nuclear war (or so i;m told)

    • BradfordPearson

      If I wanted something that could survive a nuclear war I would’ve picked Twinkies. But I based my choices on deliciousness, not their ability to withstand a wall of plutonium. Priorities!

  • hungry

    yeah, no ding-dongs? is he communist?? and twinkies at #4? seriously? those things could survive a nuclear war (or so i;m told)

  • Michael

    middle school me would definitely miss fruit pies the most.

    • BradfordPearson

      I purposefully didn’t include the fruit pies. If so, they’d probably – collectively – slide in between those orange cakes and the Q’s.

  • Liz Johnstone

    Hilarious. I can attest to Michael’s fruit pie problem.

  • WFi

    Ding Dongs are clearly superior to all those other products and I’m about to run out and buy multiple boxes. Dammit.

  • Storied man

    Jason, You’re obviously to young know about the orange cupcakes. Just thinking of them makes me cringe however. Now the fruit pies, that’s different story. But in my day we collected empty pop bottles thrown to the roadside as we walked to the store to get our fix of Hostess goodness. That’s when recycling was still a kid’s business. An outlet store would have been a goldmine to us. Our big score was when we caught the Hostess delivery man outside the store because he lived in our neighborhood and sometimes cut us a deal. thanks for the memories.

  • Jason Heid

    I don’t think it’s an age thing, because I’m older than Brad by a number of years. I figured it might be a regional matter, but since some Texans seem to know of these orange cupcakes, maybe it’s just a result of my more general indifference about food.

  • Michael

    It’s nice that we’re all ignoring the fact that Little Debbie is vastly superior.

    Very respectful.

  • mandinka

    Ding Dongs! Chocolate cupcakes! They can’t be beat. Orange cupcakes? Never seen them. The baseball ones sound intriguing.

  • nmw

    I was a little indifferent to the announcement of no more twinkies and ho-hos. Until I came to work this morning and a co-worker informed me that Drakes was a Hostess brand. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! I live on the west coast now so I rarely have them, but grew up on Ring Dings (personal favorites), Yodels and Coffee Cake Jr. Thank you for acknowledging their superiority. Also a blast from home with the stewie’s photo

    • BradfordPearson

      Stew Leonard’s was the original Central Market basically, right? A little more kitschy, but a precursor for sure.

  • TLS

    Ring Dings with the foil wrapper. Sometimes the foil was silver and sometimes it was pink. Nevermind the clothes, the Ring Ding is King.

  • Karen

    I never did like any Hostess product. However, I am saddened for the many thousands of people who are now unemployed.

  • Jeff Hayden

    Yeah dude, where are the Ding Dongs? Nothing better than a frozen Ding Dong (no jokes please). But like that song from The Wizard of Oz says, “Witch the Ding Dong is dead”.

  • Kk.

    Orange cupcakes are probably a Yankee thing, not an age thing.
    Ding Dongs are #One. Snowballs are gross.

  • Jeff Hayden

    Here is a list of my least favorite Hostess snacks:

    Knock Knocks
    Sno Balls in Hell
    Vegetable Pies
    Inside-out Zingers
    Decaffeinated Coffee Cakes
    Larry Q’s
    Donette Holes
    Yellow Sno Balls

  • Bill Scarbrough

    Twinkies-but you have to add more filling. Take a can of Reddi-Whip and filler’ up!!!

  • Bill Scarbrough

    Ding Dongs and Twinkies, but you have to add more filling. Take a can of Reddi-Whip and filler’ up!!!

  • Oldman

    If you haven’t had a Hostess Orange cupcake then you flirt with being a junk food poseur. The Hostess cupcake is all about the artificial orange flavor – a little slice of heaven that lasts and lasts.

    I bought ten packages of Orange greatness today at the third Tom Thumb I had to go to for $1.00/package with my reward card. The problem with them is that I can’t write an ode or poem to my sugary little love since nothing rhymes with orange.

  • michael

    The Drakes cakes versions were best I will forever morn the loss of Devil Dogs,Yodels and Coffee Cakes. I agree with you about the orange cupcakes it was like hitting the jackpot when you could find them. So sad to see a part of my childhood fade away.

  • Michael J. Mooney

    SnoBalls should be nowhere near this list. Even people who claim to like them can’t find good things to say about them. I agree that these baseball cupcakes do sound intriguing though.

  • DanKollerPeople

    Nobody bakes a cake as tasty as a Tastykake.

  • Ileen Cuccaro

    I loved the orange Cupcakes they were the same as the chocolate with the squiggle but yellow cake and orange icing with of course the squiggle