Hostess has gone out of business, so to salute their many years of creating childhood culinary memories, we are blogging the best of their tasty treats. After many hours scouring Ebay, we've tracked down all the greatest morsels they ever sold, and we roped Josh Perilo and Dan Bergstein into re-tasting them and giving them letter grades. Our jump-off point is the classic Hostess Cupcakes. Let's see what our experts think, shall we?
I didn't really eat the vanilla versions of these growing up, so I looked at this as a sort of mutation of the classic chocolate cake. The vanilla cake is actually not the same as the cake on the Twinkie, which I wasn't expecting. I totally thought they'd be the exact same. It's nice to see that Hostess didn't cut corners and use the same cake recipe for both snacks. Above and beyond. Also, the chocolatey frosting is not as "waxy" as I remember. Pleasantly sticky... if that's a thing? The creamy filling was also... creamier than I thought it would be. Certainly not light and fluffy, but exactly what I was hoping for. A very satisfying cupcake experience. A-
Next to the Twinkie, this is the iconic classic Hostess cake. This was a little troubling for me, because I found this pretty disappointing. This was the cupcake of my childhood! The first bite gave me some serious emotional recall, but once that subsided I was left with a seriously dry and not-that-chocolatey snack cake. Even the icing, which I assume is the same recipe used on the vanilla cake, is dry and clay-like. I found myself with dry mouth after only two bites, and even several minutes after finishing it, it still felt like there were cake remnants in the back of my throat. True, these cakes go best with a tall glass of cold milk, but they should be able to stand on their own as well. If it weren't for the childhood memories, these cakes would have scored even lower. C
This is what lunch snacks and college desserts are all about! If you slip a doily under it, you could pass this off as a legit $9 pastry. Icing fans may object to the hard, shell-like sugar frosting, as it is more akin to an M&M casing than cake decoration, but the “bite” is satisfying. The creamy middle is, of course, wonderful. And no matter what your age, when you're done, you just want to rush out to the playground and play kickball (or sit on the playground bench drawing Batman quietly by yourself). A-
Like the vanilla cupcake, but worse because it’s chocolate. The chocolate used in snack cakes has never been perfected. It tastes overeager. It really wants you to know that it’s chocolate. Ease back a bit, snack cake. Stop being so desperate. I know you’re chocolate. I can see that. No need to clog my taste sensors with the food equivalent of screaming, “Look at me! Are you watching! Watch me!” Next time, be more subtle. C-
What's your favorite Hostess snack?