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For other uses, see Twinkie (disambiguation).
Hostess twinkies tweaked.jpg
Whole and split Twinkies
Type Snack cake
Place of origin United States
Region or state River Forest, Illinois
Creator James Dewar
Main ingredients Wheat flour, sugar, corn syrup, niacin, water, high fructose corn syrup, shortening, and others
Cookbook:Twinkies  Twinkies

A Twinkie is an American snack cake, marketed as a "Golden Sponge Cake with Creamy Filling." It was formerly made and distributed by Hostess Brands and is again being sold under the Hostess Brands name. The brand is currently owned by private equity firms Apollo Global Management and C. Dean Metropoulos and Company. During bankruptcy proceedings, Twinkie production in the United States ended on November 21, 2012, and resumed after an absence on American store shelves, becoming available again nationwide on July 15, 2013.[1][2] Twinkies are produced in Canada by Saputo Incorporated's Vachon Inc. (at a bakery in Montreal) which owns the Canadian rights to the product and were still available during the absence in the US market.[3][4][full citation needed] Twinkies are also available in Mexican stores, made by Marinela, a subsidiary of Mexican bread company Grupo Bimbo.[5][6] In Egypt, Twinkies are produced under the company Edita. There are also no imports in Egypt from foreign countries of Twinkies. Twinkies are also available in the United Kingdom under the Hostess brand name and sold in Tesco.


Box of Hostess Twinkies by Saputo Incorporated (in production)

Twinkies were invented in Schiller Park, Illinois[7] on April 6, 1930, by James Alexander Dewar, a baker for the Continental Baking Company.[8] Realizing that several machines used to make cream-filled strawberry shortcake sat idle when strawberries were out of season, Dewar conceived a snack cake filled with banana cream, which he dubbed the Twinkie.[9] Ritchy Koph said he came up with the name when he saw a billboard in St. Louis for "Twinkle Toe Shoes".[10] During World War II, bananas were rationed and the company was forced to switch to vanilla cream. This change proved popular, and banana-cream Twinkies were not widely re-introduced. The original flavor was occasionally found in limited-time promotions, but the company used vanilla cream for most Twinkies.[11] In 1988, Fruit and Cream Twinkies were introduced with a strawberry filling swirled into the cream. The product was soon dropped.[12] Vanilla's dominance over banana flavoring would be challenged in 2005, following a month-long promotion of the movie King Kong. Hostess saw its Twinkie sales rise 20 percent during the promotion, and in 2007 restored the banana-cream Twinkie to its snack lineup.[13]

Hostess bankruptcy[edit]

On January 11, 2012,[14] parent company Hostess filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.[10] Twinkie sales for the year ended December 25, 2011, were 36 million packages, down almost 20% from a year earlier.[10] Hostess said customers had migrated to healthier foods.[10] On November 16, 2012 at 7:00am (EST), Hostess officially announced that it "will be winding down operations and has filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking permission to close its business and sell its assets, including its iconic brands and facilities." Bakery operations were suspended at all plants.[15] (The "death" of Twinkies was so traumatic for some that the ironic "11-16-12 NEVER FORGET" became a popular Internet meme.)[16]

Box of Hostess Twinkies by Hostess Brands

On November 19, 2012, Hostess and the Bakers Union agreed to mediation, delaying the shutdown for two days. On November 21, 2012, US Bankruptcy judge Robert Drain approved Hostess' request to shutdown, temporarily ending Twinkie production in the United States.[17]

Return of Twinkies to US market[edit]

On March 12, 2013, it was reported that Twinkies would return to store shelves in May of that year. Twinkies, along with other famed Hostess Brands, were purchased out of bankruptcy by Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co for $410 million.[18][19] Twinkies returned to US shelves on July 15, 2013.[20]

Before Hostess Brands filed for bankruptcy, Twinkies were reduced in size. They now contain 135 calories and have a mass of 38.5 grams, while the original Twinkies contained 150 calories and had a mass of 42.5 grams. The new Twinkies also have a longer shelf life of 45 days, which was also a change made before bankruptcy, compared to the 26 days of the original Twinkies.[21]

Use as an ingredient[edit]

Twinkies have notably been used as a component ingredient in other dishes.

Deep-fried Twinkie[edit]

A deep-fried Twinkie

A deep-fried Twinkie involves freezing the cake, dipping it into batter, and deep-frying it to create a variation on the traditional snack cake. In a story in The New York Times speaking of the Deep Fried Twinkie with its inventor, Christopher Sell, who is originally from Rugby, England, it was described in this way: "Something magical occurs when the pastry hits the hot oil. The creamy white vegetable shortening filling liquefies, impregnating the sponge cake with its luscious vanilla flavour.... The cake itself softens and warms, nearly melting, contrasting with the crisp, deep-fried crust in a buttery and suave way. The pièce de résistance, however, is a ruby-hued berry sauce, adding a tart sophistication to all that airy sugary goodness".[22] The Texas State Fair had introduced the fried Twinkie to great popular acclaim, and the notion spread to other state fairs across the U.S., as well as some establishments that specialize in fried foods.[23] Fried Twinkies are sold throughout the U.S. in fairs as well as ball games, and in various restaurants.

Twinkie wiener sandwich[edit]

A scene from the 1989 film UHF shows the creation of "Weird Al" Yankovic's signature food, the "Twinkie Wiener Sandwich". The snack consists of an overturned Twinkie split open as a makeshift bun, a hot dog, and Easy Cheese put together and dipped in milk before eating. Yankovic has stated that he has switched to using tofu hot dogs since becoming a vegetarian, but still enjoys the occasional Twinkie Wiener Sandwich.[24]

Cakes and pies[edit]

Twinkies can be used in recipes as quick substitute for sponge cake. In 2013, Fox News published a list of best Twinkie recipes, which included a tiramisu and Paula Deen's "Twinkie pie".[25]

Cultural references[edit]

Twinkie defense[edit]

Main article: Twinkie defense

The Twinkie defense is a derogatory term for a criminal defendant's claim that some unusual factor (such as allergies, coffee, nicotine, or sugar) diminished the defendant's responsibility for the alleged crime. The term arose from Herb Caen's description of the trial of Dan White, who was convicted in the fatal shootings of San Francisco mayor George Moscone and city supervisor Harvey Milk in 1978. During the trial, psychiatrist Martin Blinder testified that White had suffered from depression, causing diminished capacity. As an example of this, he mentioned that White, formerly a health food advocate, had begun eating junk food.[9]

Shelf life[edit]

A common urban legend claims that Twinkies have an infinite shelf life/can last unspoiled for a relatively long time of ten, fifty, or one hundred years due to the chemicals used in their production:[26]

In reality, Twinkies are on the shelf for a short time; a company executive told the New York Times in 2000 that the "Twinkie is on the shelf no more than 7 to 10 days."[27] The maximum shelf life was reported to have been 26 days, until improvements made beginning in 2012 increased it to 45 days.[28]

Twinkie diet[edit]

In 2010, Kansas State University professor Mark Haub went on a "convenience store" diet consisting mainly of Twinkies, Oreos, and Doritos in an attempt to demonstrate to his students "that in weight loss, pure calorie counting is what matters most, not the nutritional value of the food". He lost 27 pounds over a two-month period, returning his body mass index (BMI) to within normal range.[29][30] In addition to Twinkies, Haub ate Little Debbie snack cakes, cereals, cookies, brownies, Doritos, Oreos and other kinds of high calorie, low-nutrition foods that are usually found at convenience stores. However, he supplemented this diet daily with a multivitamin, a protein shake and fresh vegetables. Still, Haub ended the ten weeks of snack cake consumption as a healthier person, at least on paper.[31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Parija Kavilanz (July 12, 2013). "'First batch' Twinkies go on sale at Walmart". CNN. Retrieved July 13, 2013. 
  2. ^ Staff and wire reports (July 12, 2013). "Hostess Twinkies make an early return to Southland shelves". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  3. ^ Marotte, Bertrand (November 16, 2012). "As Hostess winds up, who will bite on Twinkies?". The Globe and Mail. 
  4. ^ "Twinkie the Kid Is Alive and Well and Living in Canada". November 16, 2012. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Staff and wire reports (August 21, 2014). "Hostess closing bakery that created the Twinkie". MSN Money. Retrieved August 21, 2014. 
  8. ^ Biemer, John (April 30, 2006). "Homeowner Discovers That Mr. Twinkie Slept There". U-T San Diego. Retrieved June 5, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Belcher, Jerry (June 3, 1985). "Man Who Concocted the Twinkie Dies : James A. Dewar's Treat Is Part of America's Diet and Folklore". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 3, 2011. It was Dewar's inspiration to fill the cakes with a sugar-cream mixture, the formula for which is still a tightly held secret. 
  10. ^ a b c d Ovide, Shira (September 2, 2011). "Great Moments in Twinkies History". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 10, 2011. 
  11. ^ "The History of the Hostess Twinkie". Retrieved August 30, 2011. 
  12. ^ Continental Baking Company (1988). "Fruit and Cream Twinkies commercial". Continental Baking Company. Retrieved March 8, 2011. 
  13. ^ Shepherd, Lauren (June 13, 2007). "Hostess selling banana-creme Twinkies". USA Today. Retrieved August 30, 2011. 
  14. ^ Knipp, Christopher. "City of Saginaw, Michigan; Notice of Chapter 11". Hostess Brands, LLC. Retrieved November 17, 2012. 
  15. ^ Erik_Halvorson, Blynn Austin. "Hostess Brands is closed; HOSTESS BRANDS TO WIND DOWN COMPANY AFTER BCTGM UNION STRIKE CRIPPLES OPERATIONS". Hostess Brands, LLC. Media_Division. Retrieved November 16, 2012. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Twinkie maker Hostess to ‘immediately’ fire 15,000 workers as liquidation approved". Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  18. ^ Chris Isidore (March 13, 2013). "Twinkies due on shelves by summer as $410 million bid OK'd". CNNMoney. 
  19. ^ Mark Lacter (March 12, 2013). "Hooray, Twinkies are coming back". LA Observed. 
  20. ^ "Twinkies, Hostess snacks back in stores today". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 15, 2013. 
  21. ^ Choi, Candace (July 15, 2013). "New Twinkies weigh less, have fewer calories". USA Today. Retrieved July 15, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Fry That Twinkie, But Hold the Chips". The New York Times. May 15, 2002. Retrieved August 30, 2011. 
  23. ^ "New junk food fad: Deep-fried Twinkies". CNN. September 18, 2002. Retrieved August 30, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Midnight Star "Ask Al" Q&As for October/November, 1995". Archived from the original on November 6, 2006. Retrieved October 26, 2006. 
  25. ^ "Best Twinkies recipes". Fox News. June 24, 2013. Retrieved January 29, 2015. 
  26. ^ "Forever Twinkies". Snopes – Urban Legends Reference Pages. May 19, 2011. Retrieved August 30, 2011. 
  27. ^ Kelley, Tina (March 23, 2000). "Twinkie Strike Afflicts Fans With Snack Famine". The New York Times. Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  28. ^ Kim, Susanna (July 9, 2013). "What's New About the Twinkie and Other Hostess Brands Favorites". ABC News. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  29. ^ Park, Madison (November 8, 2010). "Twinkie diet helps nutrition professor lose 27 pounds". CNN. Retrieved August 30, 2011. 
  30. ^ "Exclusive Interview with Prof. Mark Haub". Retrieved March 2, 2013. 
  31. ^

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]