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Hostess CupCake is a brand of snack cake formerly produced and distributed by Hostess Brands and currently owned by private equity firms Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co. Its most common form is a chocolate cupcake with chocolate icing and vanilla creme filling, with eight distinctive white squiggles across the top. However, other flavors have been available at times. It has been claimed to be the first commercially produced cupcake, and has become an iconic American brand.
The Hostess CupCake was first sold on May 11, 1919. According to author Andrew F. Smith, it was the first commercially produced cupcake, originally produced by the Taggart Bakery as the Chocolate Cup Cake. Hostess has also claimed that it was "the first snack cake ever introduced to the market." In 2004, rival Tastykake disputed this claim, claiming that Tastykake introduced the first snack cake.
Originally, two cupcakes were sold for five cents. Different flavors were offered during the early years, including cupcakes topped with vanilla or malted milk flavored icing. During the 1940s, an orange flavored cupcake was developed, with orange cake and icing. But until 1950, the Hostess CupCake did not have any filling or the white squiggly line across the top.
In 1947, D.R. "Doc" Rice, who started his career at Hostess in 1938 with a job that entailed dumping baked cakes on a table, was given the task of developing the Hostess CupCake further. These developments culminated in an updated cupcake in 1950. A white line consisting of squiggles was added to the top in order to distinguish the Hostess CupCake from other brands. The vanilla creme filling was also added. Rice got the idea for using a creme filling when a new machine for injecting filling into Hostess Twinkies became available. Improvements were also made to the cake mix and the chocolate icing in 1950. According to Rice, the updated cupcakes were first produced and test marketed in Detroit.
Other flavors of Hostess cupcake that have been available at times have been a golden vanilla and strawberry.
In 1988, 400 million Hostess Cupcakes were sold. As of 2011[update] Hostess sells over 600 million CupCakes each year. Although Hostess Brands entered into bankruptcy protection in 2012, the company planned to continue making CupCakes and other snack cakes such as Twinkies and Sno Balls. These plans have been derailed by the company's liquidation and announcement that they are going out of business on November 16, 2012.
Hostess Cupcakes are sold as Pinguinos (Penguins) in Mexico by local company Marinela (the pastries division of the breadmaking Bimbo brand).
The cakes were produced from a batter which includes flour, sugar, cocoa and water. It is baked in trays for 17 minutes in a 70-foot (21 m) conveyor oven that can turn out 11,000 cupcakes an hour. After cooling, the cakes are injected through the top with the vanilla creme, then taken by conveyor to be covered on top by chocolate icing. After a special machine lays white icing in the signature squiggle the cakes are cooled then wrapped.
Hostess CupCakes were marketed for a time by the animated character of Captain Cupcake, who was a companion in commercials to Twinkie the Kid and Fruit Pie the Magician. One marketing slogan that was used was "You get a big delight in every bite." In the early 1990s, a commercial featuring a shark aired. The commercial begins with a shark swimming through the ocean until something near the surface catches his attention. He thinks a Hostess CupCake is at the surface. As he swims closer, the CupCake turns out to be a woman sitting in an inner tube. The shark bumps the lady into the air, then says, "Hey! Where's the cream filling?" as the woman falls into the ocean. In 1998, a commercial featuring a doll aired. In 2000, a commercial featuring a rhinoceros aired. The commercial begins with the grasslands of Africa and a rhinoceros is grazing until something gets his attention. He thinks it's a Hostess CupCake. The rhino gets ready to charge, and the CupCake turns out to be a spare tire on the front of a safari jeep. Tourists are viewing the grassland just as the rhino charges. The tourists scream as the rhino charges at the jeep. The rhino says, "Hey! Where's the cream filling?" as the jeep is seen stuck on his horn. In 2002, a commercial featuring Dracula aired. The commercial begins in Transylvania, where Dracula is getting ready to bit a woman's neck and suck her blood until something catches his attention. He turns into a bat and flies out the window. He thinks he sees a Hostess CupCake. But as flies closer, the Cupcake turns out to be a neon hotel sign. He crashes into the sign and turns back into Dracula. He faints after he says, "Hey! Where's the cream filling?" In 2004, a commercial featuring a dragon aired. The commercial begins with a knight guarding a castle. Then, a green dragon is seen flying through the clouds until he sees a Hostess Cupcake, but when he flies toward it, the Hostess CupCake turns out to be Rapunzel in her tower. The dragon and Rapunzel crash through the tower and the dragon says, "Hey! Where's the cream filling?"
- "Inventor Honored on Birthday of Hostess CupCake". Daily Union. May 11, 1989. p. 4. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
- Smith, A.F. (2011). Fast Food and Junk Food: An Encyclopedia of What We Love to Eat. ABC-CLIO. p. 181. ISBN 978-0-313-39393-8.
- "Hostess Cupcake Marks 70th Birthday". The Vindicator. May 10, 1989. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
- Volland, V. (May 11, 1989). "The Hostess Cupcake Turns Sweet 70". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
- DeWolf, R. (May 14, 1989). "Hostess Cupcake Claim Crumbles Before Tastykake". Boca Raton News. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
- "Hostess CupCake". Hostess Brands. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
- "Stuffed". Unwrapped. Food Network. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
- Smith, A. "Twinkies will keep coming despite bankruptcy". CNN. Retrieved 2012-02-20.