Hostess might be the most recognizable name in snack cakes nationwide, but on Long Island, we always preferred our beloved Drake’s Cakes, a brand that disappeared for a short time, but now is back in all its glory. Here’s the story of those Devil Dogs, Yankee Doodles and other yummy snacks from our collective youth.
We won’t ask you if you remember Ring Dings, Yankee Doodles, Devil Dogs or those sinfully delicious Coffee Cakes. You couldn’t have possibly made it through the decade without being aware of their existence.
Most school cafeterias sold an array of Drake’s items, and parents often sent their kids off to school with a Drake’s cake for desert. And, make no mistake, a foil-covered Ring Ding in one’s lunch box or brown paper sack was a coveted item in the childhood lunch room, a delicacy that other kids were eager to barter for.
The biggest seller in the Drake’s line was always the sinful sounding Devil Dogs, consisting of a hot dog bun shaped devil’s food cake, filled with a layer of creme.
We owe our thanks to a Brooklyn baker named Newman E. Drake, who made quite the name for himself in the late 1800s thanks to his delicious pound cake. He eventually started Drake Bakeries, expanded his line considerably, and continued to own and oversee the company until the early 60s, when it was sold to Borden Foods.
In 1987, Ralston Purina purchased Drake’s, an interesting development since they already owned Hostess. The company would change hands again in the 90s, before winding up again with the same owner as Hostess. Sadly, when Hostess bit the dust, so did Drake’s cakes.
But this story doesn’t have a sad ending! Drake’s was purchased in April of 2013, and Drake’s Cakes returned to store shelves shorty thereafter. The new company states that they are true to the original recipes, and reintroduced the four most popular items, Ring Dings, Coffee Cakes, Yodels, and, of course, Devil Dogs.
Yankee Doodle and Funny Bones fans may still be out of luck, but the rest of us can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing those tasty snacks are back in our lives.
Which Drake’s cakes did you gravitate towards in the 70s? I know there must be many fans of these beloved snacks out there, and I’d love to hear all of your memories in our comments section below.