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Days of Drake’s Cake Numbered?

November 21st, 2008 · 33 Comments

By Garland Pollard

BROOKLYN – First the Dodgers and now this?Drake’s DevilDogs

If you grew up in Brooklyn or the Northeast, you know of Drake’s and their Yodels, Funny Bones, Coffee Cakes, Yankee Doodles and Ring Dings.

This week, we found that a package of Drake’s Devil Dogs were sold with the Drake’s duck on the box. But just below it, they have added the Hostess logo. The complete package now says Drake’s by Hostess. Recently, Hostess also added its name to the Merita Sweet Sixteen doughnut packages, also a bad idea. Unluckily for Merita, the Merita name disappeared. So now they are Hostess Sweet Sixteen. And that makes us worried for the future of Drake’s, which is owned by Interstate Bakeries Corporation (Ticker is IBCIQ.PK for their common stock) , which is in receivership. We hope that they know that one of their chief assets is their intellectual property, and not just Twinkies and Hostess, but Drake’s and Merita, among many others.

Please keep the Drake’s name

Hostess products are different than Drake’s, and confusing the two is not helpful. Hostess is very middle America, with its Twinkies, Ho Hos and Cupcakes. Drake’s is urban. In fact, Drake’s products are less sweet than Hostess, and have a more European taste. For instance, a Devil Dog is perfect with coffee.Twinkies are not.

We did a bit of digging on the history of Drake’s. The name appears in an old photo of a horse-pulled delivery cart in Arthur Schwartz’ seminal book, New York Food. Then, the company was called Drake’s Cake, and was made by Drake Brothers Co. at 1006 Wallabout Market, Brooklyn. The official site www.drakescakes.com says that the company was started by Newman E. Drake who baked his first pound cake in Brooklyn in 1888 and sold them by the slice.

We guess that Interstate Brands, because its general office is in Kansas City, doesn’t have a good sense of them as a New York icon, and have misunderstood the importance of Yodels, and its Brooklyn heritage. If the Hostess name needs to be on the box, it should be hidden, or on the back. Being on the front does not help it, and instead confuses the customer.

While looking at the Drake’s history, we researched other Brooklyn and Queens bakery brands. Cake brands associated with Brooklyn (and neighboring suburbs) include:

  • Entenmanns started off as a delivery company and began selling to supermarkets after World War II and became a national brand.
  • Cushman’s was a city-wide bakery known for its deliveries. Online at recipelink.com, a number of people are searching for the recipe for their marigold cupcakes. Apparently these cupcakes were shaped like a pyramid with the top lopped off. Roadfood.com says that Cushman’s competed with another bakery, Dugan’s.
  • Dugan’s was an Irish bakery, and a competitor to Krug’s.
  • Pechter’s (Pector’s) was also a bakery brand. Today, there is Pechter’s Rye. It is in New Jersey, but we assume it was the same company.
  • Ebinger’s had retail stores in Brooklyn and Queens, and had a main bakery in Flatbus on Bedford Avenue. It was German, with German accented clerks, and closed apprently in 1972. S0me of its recipes are online (at Uncle Phaedrus Consulting Decective and Finder of Lost Recipes) including their Blackout Cake, Orange Cappucino Pudding Cake and Ebinger’s Orange Glazed Layer Cake with Orange Butter Filling.

Any help readers could give us in sorting out these brands would be VERY helpful. Meanwhile, if you think Drake’s needs to stay Drake’s, go to the page called www.drakescakes.com and click on the address to send your email to Interstate Brands Corporation.

Tags: Grocery

33 responses so far ↓

  • 1 David Rogoff // Nov 25, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Thanks for the info. It’s bad enough they don’t sell Drakes outside the East Coast, but it would be tragic not to be able to get Yodels when I visit NYC!

    Speaking of local brands, having gone to college in Troy, I can’t forget the wonderful Freihofers ( http://freihofers.gwbakeries.com ) chocolate chip cookies! Similar to the Drakes/Hostess comparison, these were much, much better than the similar looking Entenmanns which are available nation-wide.

  • 2 CAROL DAVIS // Jan 2, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    PLEASE START SELLING FUNNY BONES IN VIRGINIA I LIVE IN VIRGININA FROM BROOKLYN AND NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT YOUR FUNNY BONES THEY ARE SO GOOD

  • 3 Chris Marchant // Sep 27, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Does anyone remember when Ring Dings were the size of the regular coffee cake? Before they became Ring Ding “juniors” and hence, have dropped the “junior’” since it has no siblings. Thanks

  • 4 john cirelli // Oct 18, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    do you still sell wrapped pound cake.

  • 5 Tom Dugan // Oct 22, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    dugan’s ruled! sorry, i just don’t see the internet support for the others that i see for dugan’s. my grand-dad’s company was one of the most innovative of it’s time. they didn’t just make cakes – they impacted families, one doughnut at a time …..hehehehe

  • 6 Beatrice Muniz // Nov 28, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    i been looking for swiss rolls and i heard u are not making them anymore i was so upset my family and myself love tem we hope u start making them again and soon

  • 7 bob // Dec 7, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    does anyone remeber the name of the Drake cake that was square with chocolate cake with a cream filling insde. It was like the Hostess SuzieQ but better.

  • 8 nutballgazette // Dec 11, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Chris Marchant–I do remember the days of the Ring Ding and Jr.
    .John–I have not seen the coffee cake but I live in Florida..It is hard to find Drakes here But i did find some Ring Dings today, The only Drakes product I see all the time is Devil Dogs and Funny Bones,
    Yodels and Ring dings are much better than Ho-Hos and Ding Dongs even though they are all made by the same Company

  • 9 Entenmann’s Cakes Walk Right Into Hostess | BrandlandUSA // Dec 29, 2009 at 7:47 am

    [...] associate fruit pies and chocolate cupcakes with Entenmann’s. Hostess, however, also owns the Drake’s brand, and it can position take that brand up against Entenmann’s if it liked. Drake’s is a [...]

  • 10 Andy // Feb 9, 2010 at 11:25 am

    If you really loved the great Drake products, and can remember back to the mid 60′s, they had vanilla Yodels, as well as jelly Yodels, and variations on some of the other mainstay items.I would love to find some info on these lost products..no one I speak to seems to remember them!

  • 11 michael menezes // Mar 15, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    does anyone remember gebotts donuts. no hole with powdered suger

  • 12 Amy // Mar 30, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    I remember the vanilla yodels – I believe we called them snodels!

  • 13 Ronald Lenczewski // Oct 20, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    do you have a phone number ? I would to order Devil Dogs. thank you.

  • 14 Ronald Lenczewski // Oct 20, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    I would like to order some Devel Dogs. Do you have a phone number?

  • 15 Evan Hammerman // Nov 9, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    I remember the Drake’s Apple Pies. You got two square little pies in the package. The flavoring and mouth-feel was far superior to the Hostess Apple Pie, even back then!

  • 16 Liz Gribbon McCullough // Nov 14, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    My father was the commercial artist in NYC who created the original Drake’s duck logo. Please don’t take him off the box. I wish we could get Drake’s cakes in south Texas… :(
    Liz

  • 17 em // Dec 22, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    every year my sisters and brother send drake cakes to me in texas for christmas
    love draks cakesssssssssssssssss

  • 18 George Goodman // Jan 8, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    I love the Drakes cookies. All of them, Chocolate Chips,
    Oat Meal,and Lemon.

  • 19 Bob Brodeur // Mar 17, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    In the late 50′s and the 60′s Drakes made my favorite powdered donut. It had a very unique cake taste. The doughnut was heavy and there was a small hole in the middle. Does anyone remember this donut, or am I really the oldest Drake donut junkie left?

  • 20 jacki // Mar 23, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    when i was considering a move from nyc to sarasota florida i checked out whether they had restaurants that knew what steamers were and carried them. they did have a few places that do. i however didn’t realize that they didn’t carry ring dings or yodels tho they do carry devil dogs. altho i chose to move i do miss my sweet treats

  • 21 Anonymous // Oct 5, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    The newest info is that Drakes Cakes has been sold by Hostess and Little Debbie is the Buyer.

  • 22 Garland Pollard // Oct 5, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    Great to hear this news..i hope little Debbie will appreciate the brand a bit more..

  • 23 Toni // Feb 26, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    I’ve tried the devil dogs not to long ago, and I have to tell you they dont taste the same. They left out an important ingredient that keep them moist and chocolately. They need to bring that taste back. Still there is no other like them

  • 24 Julie // Feb 27, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    When did funny bones enter the market?

  • 25 St. Albans kid // Apr 30, 2012 at 3:04 am

    Fyi – Dugan Brothers bakery was NOT an Irish bakery. While there are Irish Dugans, the bakery branch actually came from Germany way back when.

  • 26 Mary // Aug 20, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Michael I remember all of the Gebott’s cakes and cookies. the donuts the stuffed full of cream cakes they were delicious My mother worked there for years in Brighton MA large factory smelled fabulos We (sister and little brother) would walk down to meet my mother at the end of her shift and if we were early and lucky she’d bring us into the factory and we would stuff the cream into the cake until it almost exploded Awsome we even met Mr Gebott one afternoon and he was very friendly and funny the donuts and chocolate cakes were the best.

  • 27 Mary // Aug 20, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    who bought out Gebotts?

  • 28 Jane Evans Hamilton // Sep 28, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    My father owned Gebotts in Brighton, MA and
    the company was sold in the 1950′s to Drakes.

    My father was Granville Evans and his partner
    was Russell Goldsberry.

    The frydkakes were wonderful and the devil dogs
    were great. At Christmas time they made large, delicious fruitcakes.

  • 29 Candice Dault // Jun 29, 2013 at 10:49 am

    I am a direct descendant of R. H. Gebott. Miles was one of his younger brothers, who founded Gebott’s Kreamed Frydkakes. Any info about this Company is of interest to me. best regards, Candice Dault

  • 30 Judi Peterson // Jul 15, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    I see that Drakes Swiss Rolls have been off the shelves for a long time. They were the only Drakes products I really loved – why were they taken off. Not many companies make swiss rolls, and if they do, they’re cheap. Please consider reinstating the Swiss Roll. I could only get them back east & I live in CO, so I used to buy like 20 boxes of them when I returned to NJ. Please, please reconsider the Swiss Roll!

  • 31 joe voccia // Jan 2, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    i’d like to know if anyone remembers vanilla yodels?

  • 32 Mark Karger // Jan 25, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    I grew up on Drakes Cakes in Bklyn, but I live in So Cal now and they have no idea what a Devil Dog is – was. I’ve dragged more Blackout cakes from Ebingers across these United States than I care to remember. Now I’m visiting in Fla and this place sucks as much as Ca. And Judi P – Little Debbie Swiss Rolls are pretty damn good. Try it – you’ll like it!

  • 33 Mark Karger // Jan 25, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    P.S. 2day is my 64th birthday. Sure wish I had a Devil Dog right about now

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