BROOKLYN – First the Dodgers and now this?
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 drakescakes.com and click on the address to send your email to Interstate Brands Corporation.
McKee Foods (not Hostess) has added an abomination to the Drakes line of iconic cakes. A “chocolate dipped” Devil Dog. This isn’t “county fair” food.
And get rid of that hideous duck image you’re using. The Duck used to look friendly when I was a child. Now he just looks creepy.
I grew up in Rockland County NY, just north of the City. Drake’s Cakes were always my favorites… the original (large) Ring Dings and Devil Dogs. YUM! I’m almost 65. I left NY when I was 18, lived briefly in FL and CA, but have been in MD about 40 years. I buy Devil Dogs (available here at Walmart and Giant Food). They also sell other items, like Jr-size Ring Dings, but they aren’t the same. They are also, at least at Walmart, now selling a “chocolate dipped” Devil Dog. Must be a Hostess abomination. Drakes would never have done that to an iconic cake. I won’t buy it or try it. Anyway, in all the years I’ve been eating Drake’s cakes, I always called the Duck “Ducky Drake”. Never new his name was “Webster”. Regardless, I don’t like the current duck image, and wish they’d return to an earlier version of him… perhaps from the 60’s? This one looks like a computer generated Duck with sunken dead eyes in a baker’s hat. Gives me the creeps! Like a “Chuckie Duck”. It’s no longer my old Ducky Drake. Very sad!
I grew up in the Bronx and remember yellow yodels too. My favorite was the Swiss Roll. We would get a big one, I think it was a quarter, and eat it at lunch time in slices. A few years ago they came out in a four pack. I was so happy. Then they disappeared again. So sad.
I remember Ring Dings and Ring Ding Jr’s. The Ring Dings were huge and 15cents. That’s why the came out with Jr’s. Old and sloe but still moving.
I see Tom Dugan’s comments above. He knows it all so I hope he rejoins.
My father worked for Dugan’s 1938-1967 in Bay Ridge. Dugan’s controlled significant supermarket shelf space. When Dugan’s went out in ’67, that space was taken over by Entemanns. Although Entemanns did not quite measure up to Dugan in my opinion, they were clever enough to use Dugan’s packaging: bold blue Palmer script against a white background.
To St Albans Kid (above). Founders’ David and Edward Dugan’s grandfather came to US after Revolutionary War from Ireland. Certainly possible he married a German fräulein, though.
Most people I know recall Dugan’s Whole Wheat Muffins…outstanding.
I noticed Jane Evans Hamilton comments and it brought back many memories of the bakery. The Ge Botts Kreamed FriedKake was the best. The name GeBotts came from the German baker that sold the recipe to her father and mine
Related to comment #10 Above, from Andy:
YES! For years, I’ve remembered Yodels with raspberry jelly (wrapped in a red aluminum foil, rather than the blue foil used for the cream ones), and nobody…I mean, nobody…has been able to verify this for me before you! People tell me I’m lying or I dreamed it, but I’ll never forget them; they were the BEST!
I remember the donut called Drakes creme fried cakes there is nothing now that tastes anywhere near as good as they did .They were powdered with either a tiny hole or no hole in them , they had a delicious home made flavor and came a box we would buy a whole box and eat all of them with coffee ice cream. It is too sad to know that I will never taste them again
thank you for these wonderful recollections Gigi…
P.S. 2day is my 64th birthday. Sure wish I had a Devil Dog right about now
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!
i’d like to know if anyone remembers vanilla yodels?
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!
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
I remember Gebott donuts…Framingham, Mass. They were the best donuts ever…,I have searched for a recipe that even approximates what these donuts tasted like…..to no avail…
I also remember when Drake bought them….
There is nothing in this world like one of those donuts. They had confectioners’ sugar and a very exotic type of spice….they were round like today’s donut holes…only big!
Too bad they were a casualty of the merger or acquisition….
thanks for the info. We wrote about them in this post. https://www.brandlandusa.com/2011/03/14/history-of-new-york-company-gebotts-sought/
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.
who bought out Gebotts?
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.
Fyi – Dugan Brothers bakery was NOT an Irish bakery. While there are Irish Dugans, the bakery branch actually came from Germany way back when.
When did funny bones enter the market?
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
The newest info is that Drakes Cakes has been sold by Hostess and Little Debbie is the Buyer.
Great to hear this news..i hope little Debbie will appreciate the brand a bit more..
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
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?
I love the Drakes cookies. All of them, Chocolate Chips,
Oat Meal,and Lemon.
every year my sisters and brother send drake cakes to me in texas for christmas
love draks cakesssssssssssssssss
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… 🙁
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!
I would like to order some Devel Dogs. Do you have a phone number?
do you have a phone number ? I would to order Devil Dogs. thank you.
I remember the vanilla yodels – I believe we called them snodels!
does anyone remember gebotts donuts. no hole with powdered suger
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!
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
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.
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
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
do you still sell wrapped pound cake.
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
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
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.