Drake’s Cakes

Drakes Cakes

When one thinks of individually packaged snack cakes, the first word that probably comes to mind is “Hostess.” But for those who grew up on the East Coast of the United States, there has always been an equally-loved underdog known as Drake’s Cakes. For those east coasters who have relocated to places where their beloved Devil Dogs and Yodels are no longer available, Hostess snacks are considered a substandard substitute for the treats they hold dear to their heart.

In existence for well over a hundred years, a humble Brooklyn baker named Newman E. Drake first found success selling his pound cake in 1888, which led to the opening of the Drake Bakeries, who were eventually bought by Borden Foods in the late 60s.

Their most familiar concoctions are Devil Dogs, a hot-dog-bun shaped devil’s food cake, with a whipped-cream-like filling; Yankee Doodles, a devil’s food, cream-filled cupcake; Yodels, a chocolate-dipped log of devils food cake and creamy goodness, and the Ring Ding, which was shamelessly copied by Hostess for their Big Wheel product. At one point in history, Hostess and Drake happened to be owned by the same parent company, Purina, and as a result, Hostess was permitted to change the name of their snack to Ding Dongs. Eventually, the companies split again and Hostess was forced to change the name of their chocolate covered snack yet again to King Dons.

Drake’s is still going strong on the East Coast, although it must compete, not only with Hostess, but another local favorite, known as Tastycakes. A brisk mail-order business has also emerged online for those who no longer reside in their marketing area but yearn for these unique treats and have a craving that a mere Twinkie could never satiate.

If you grew up where Drake’s Cakes are sold, and harbor fond memories of finding one of these delicacies in the bottom of your lunchbox, we hope you’ll share your recollections with us in our comments section. Meanwhile, we tip our hats to a snack food underdog, still going strong for well over a century.

32 Responses to “Drake’s Cakes”

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  1. actifzo says:

    you have to give credit to tastycakes……peanut butter candy cakes and butterscotch krimpets are classics in their own right!

  2. ken says:

    Does anyone remember Drakes creme filled cupcakes from the 60’s and maybe 70’s. They were shaped like a pyramid but with a flat top. Chocolate icing all around, chocolate cake and white cream filling.
    They were the absolute best but Drakes discontinued probably in the 70’s. I really miss them.

    • Fred says:

      I remember them and you are absolutely right. To me, they were the flagship of the Drakes line. Closest relative is the ring ding, but the cupcakes were like a cone shape with the top cut off, smaller at the top than the bottom. They had proportionally more cream filling than the ring ding. They are the reason I googled this site, looking for a picture of them.

    • Mike says:

      I remember the cupcakes, but I never cared for them. Devil Dogs were my favorite!! I do remember the TV commercial where they showed the cupcake getting dunked in the chocolate frosting.

    • lucandella says:

      “Drakes Creme Cups”
      Chocolate frosted cupcakes of either devils food or yellow cake shaped like a truncated cone, with creme filling. Discontinued c. 1980.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drake's#Products

      • lucandella says:

        There were two in a package. Covered with dark chocolate. I only had the devils food. I’ve never seen them made with yellow cake. They were my favorite of all commercial cake snacks. They cancelled them, much to my dismay. ;(

      • bill boeckman says:

        Actually, they were called Cream Filled Cups and were the best cakes ever made.

  3. Miriam says:

    Do you remember a ring danish that came in a box with clear see through plastic paperon the front of box, it had almonds, raisins and a glaze frosting on top, that was the best danish I ever had and really miss and wish they bring it back, it reminds me of brooklyn in 1970 when I use to come out of school , there was always one of those in the house and if not I would go downstairs where the store was right on the first level where we live and I would go pray that they had one left.. Those were the days of the best drakes cakes , I love them now, like the yodels are my favorite but they kind of tasted yummier in the foil paper, bring the back please

  4. Does anybody remember Dolly Madison cakes from the 70’s? I think they also had the Peanuts Gang in their advertisements. You can still find Zingers on the market today, but there were many other cakes, that I can’t remember now…

  5. cynthia says:

    I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s and I loved Drake’s Cakes. My favorites have always been Funny Bones, Devil Dogs and Cherry Pies. Recently it has been hard for me to find the cherry pies in my area, I live in Central NJ, and I have had such a craving for them that I went online and ordered 2 boxes from Famous Foods and received them in 3 days. I am disabled and do not get out often and I figure, what the hell for whatever time I have left, let me enjoy my cherry pies. Right? Please Drake’s DO NOT GO OUT OF BUSINESS. PLEASE, I BEG OF YOU! I DON’T HAVE MUCH LEFT IN MY LIFE THAT I ENJOY, SO DON’T TAKE THIS AWAY FROM ME TOO!! THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

    • lucandella says:

      I know what you mean, Cynthia. Since I became an insulin-dependent-diabetic, I make sure that I have sufficient insulin and syringes on hand, just in case I happen upon a case of “Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets”. If I find ‘em, I’m eatin’ ‘em!

  6. @Ken, I have been searching ,too. I think they were Drake Creme Cups. They came in a pack of 2 or three. Nothing better than those treats with an ice cold milk!

  7. Debbie says:

    I grew up w/Drakes in NY. Cannot get in Arkansas where I live. Scalpers are trying to sell now for double & triple prices. I will hold firm, though, and not give in to buying these. Maybe one day they will bake and sell them again and we can buy again at the regular store prices.

  8. Mike says:

    It is such a shame that Drakes has gone out of business, dragged down in the Hostess debacle!! Hopefully some company buys them and gets them back into production!!

  9. Mike says:

    Does anyone remember the little box of Drakes Pretzel Sticks?

  10. rick says:

    anyone remember drake’s individual pound cake o marble pound cake back around 1960 – some with a white icing?

  11. Charles says:

    Drakes is number one. Isn’t everyone aware that Hostess now owns Drake’s and they went out of business a good month ago. We are waiting to see who buys the company so they could start baking again.

  12. Annabelle says:

    I am a blind young woman who is an avid fan of snack cakes, and I’ve always loved snack cakes like Funny Bones, Yodels, and Devil Dogs. It’s sad that the Hostess company had to cease operations, and I wish that didn’t have to happen. It seems I can’t find Drakes Cakes products in stores like Safeway, Albertson’s, and Fred Meyer where I live. I live in Eugene, Oregon, and it would be so much easier for me to find them locally than to have to spend up to $30 for shipping. The last time I had Funny Bones was on Valentine’s Day, about three or four years ago. Man those were so delicious. The only downside was that I had to spend $22.44 to have them shipped to my house! Despite the fact that at the time, four boxes were $15.56, $3.89 each. That came to a grand total of $38! Outrageous!

  13. george costanza wanted to bring ring dings and pepsi to the dinner party on seinfeld,and they both like drakes coffee cake,now hostess bought drakes and it’s out of business.

  14. nuna says:

    Have no fear Lil Debbie is here

    • Me says:

      McKee Foods has committed to go back to the original Drake’s recipes of their snacks, rather than what Hostess was doing with them. They’ll be MUCH better!

  15. Lynn says:

    Sadly, Hostess seems to be gone right now. There’s talk of them being bought by other companies, but it probably won’t be the same anymore…shame, too. I loved their snack cakes. They also used to have danish in cinnamon, cheese and apple and I used to get one of the first two every morning before school.

  16. Alan says:

    I grew up in Brooklyn. Canarsie to be exact, and remember Drakes well. To Ken, Creme Cups were my favorite. They were an inverted cupcake (wider on the bottom than the top) to be the opposite of Hostess cupcakes. They disappeared around 1965 when Drakes started to package in high quantity boxes and move away from individual serving packages. If you remember, Creme Cups came in a package of two, Yankee Doodles in a package of three, and a Ring Ding in a package of one, but it was five inches in diameter ( as well as a Fudgie a Ring Ding style cake made with yellow cake and milk chocolate filling and frosting). I always liked Drakes better than Hostess. Hostess creme was too sweet, and their cake was greasy. Unfortunately, Hostess bought Drakes in 2002 and Drakes has sucked ever since.

  17. Chris Miller says:

    Drakes is now and I believe always has been available here in New York hostess did buy them for a short time but I notice the hostess logo is now off Drake boxes.that leaves me to believe Drake says their own entity again or owned by someone who appreciates the product. I love them and I love my new York heritage. we are also big fans of Entenmanns cakes here. now a question who on the East Coast remembers when yodels and ring dings were covered in white chocolate or as a special product for a limited time. I am resistant to change and I remember throwing many a tantrum during that period when my mother thought it was okay to have those in the cupboard instead. can someone verify this so I know I’m not nuts… well at least not nuts on that subject

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