After several nervous months in withdrawal, I celebrated the return of the Hostess Cupcake. But I was wary.
If the most recent company couldn’t make a go of their business with this perennial favorite, what would the new company do to the product to drive the bottom line? I mean this little cupcake hit the market in 1919 and has been gathering steam since then. From 1988 when 400 million Hostess cupakes were sold until 2011 when Hostess sold over 600 million cupcakes, this product has been a serious cash cupcake. And then the company tanked? Nice job bozos.
So why do I care. Well, I have a Hostess Cupcake jones. If Hostess Cupcakes were alcohol, I’d have to be in a 12 step program. I started mainlining these cupcakes when I was ten and went to work with my dad at something like 7AM. He kept me busy with a Grape pop and a package of Hostess cupcakes (yes, two).
At one of my significant birthdays at which I hosted 60 guests, the cake was a giant Hostess Cupcake.
Need I go on?
So what do I think of this snack cake version of crystal meth? It’s ok. Happy to have them back but…
First of all, all snack food has changed. Mostly for the worse. Honeymaid graham crackers taste like cardboard and smell terrible. Devilsfood cookies are approaching the size of a quarter and are simply disappointing. And don’t even get me started on how badly Keebler Chips suck. The sad stories abound in the cookie aisle. Nutritionists have hounded snack producers to reduce & remove those tasty saturated fats. Whole grain has crowded out good old white flour. The argument? It’s better for you. I don’t get it. This is snack food not my sustenance. If I otherwise balance my diet, I want to eat my share of crap. It’s not to be.
But I’m really getting away from my topic. Let’s take a look at this appealing antichrist to a good healthy breakfast, the new Hostess Cupcake. What of it?
Well, duh, the thing is smaller. I believe this shrinkage is part of a trend that’s been going on for years. But V.x of this Hostess cupcake is most definitely smaller than V.(x-1).
There’s something different here. And it’s different wrong. First, the frosting is like a bad toupée. Instead of a hard almost crackable layer, the icing is a goo. Others might call it chewy. Tasty to the tongue but of inconsequential texture in the mouth. Worse, one was always happy to discover just enough of the icing on each cupcake that had dribbled down the side. This was like bonus. The taste you took before you invested yourself in the sensuous cake-frosting-filling of your first real bite. I counted on that icing foreplay. But it’s gone. Today the icing sits neatly on top of the cupcake with only a taunting hint of its former slovenly hang-over-the-belt abundance.
Now all this might be ok except for one unforgivable: the squiggles. I’m sure there is not a quiz contestant who couldn’t hit the buzzer quickly when asked how many squiggles there are on a Hostess Cupcake. For non-quiz contestants, the answer is 7. Or maybe the answer is now 8. The upgraded mass production of these mass produced cupcakes rolls off the assembly line with a clear hint of 8 squiggles. If for nothing else, that alone has ruined the product.
About the no-expiration-date white custard filling and the permafresh devilsfood cake I have no real pique. They were always pretty artificial and I would argue it’s just the way I like them.
I’ll probably continue to buy and eat these Hostess cupcakes for the simple reason that they are part of my DNA. But I would argue that as those of us who were weaned on the real thing enter our diabetic comas the Hostess cupcake bubble will deflate. Those kids who go to work with dad and get the grape pop and Hostess Cupcake bribe are part of the past.