I was doing some cake research for the book that I’m finishing up, Fat and Sassy. I found the greatest Food Timeline site, with more information on cake history than one could ever want. It was interesting to see this and realize that in three years, Hostess Cupcakes will be 100 years old!
Hostess cupcakes: one of America’s most popular edible icons
According to the records of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Hostess brand cake products were introduced to the American Public January 3, 1919. Record here:
“Word Mark HOSTESS Goods and Services IC 030. US 046. G & S: BREAD, BISCUITS, AND CAKES. FIRST USE: 19190103. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19190103 Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING Serial Number 71115132 Filing Date January 11, 1919 Current Filing Basis 1A Original Filing Basis 1A Registration Number 0126368 Registration Date August 19, 1919 Owner (REGISTRANT) WARD, WILLIAM B. INDIVIDUAL UNITED STATES BELT LINE, NEAR GENESEE STREET BUFFALO NEW YORK .(LAST LISTED OWNER) INTERSTATE BAKERIES CORPORATION CORPORATION DELAWARE 12 E. ARMOUR BLVD. KANSAS CITY MISSOURI” 64111
“In 1919, World War I ended, prohibition was about to begin and women were ready to vote. It was also the year that Hostess introduced its first snack cake — the cupcake. The Hostess Cupcake, which celebrates its 70th birthday Wednesday, has come a long way since its inception. It always has been made of devil’s food cake, but the first cupcake lacked the creme filling and the white loop-de-loop icing on top. During the 1920s, cupcakes were hand-iced in either chocolate or vanilla. For a while in the 1940s, they were available with malted milk icing. Orange cupcakes with orange icing, which are still available, also were introduced in the 1940s. But it wasn’t until 1947 that the cupcakes began to develop into the cupcake of today after D.R. ”Doc” Rice was given the task of redesigning it. Rice was hired by the company in September 1923 at the age of 17 as a cake dumper. A cake dumper did just that — dumped baked cakes onto a table, he said. ”I wanted to go to business college,” Rice said Tuesday. ”The hours at the bakery worked with my schedule. I usually started around midnight and worked for nine hours, six days a week.” By the time he enlisted in the Army, Rice had been regional supervisor of five bakeries. When he returned after the war, he went to work in the production department of Continental Baking Co. at its headquarters in New York. ”I began working in the experimental bakery,” Rice said. ”More ingredients were available, and the dough was improved. The icing was also improved by using pure chocolate to make it. ”Just when we were ready to go to the plants with the cupcake, a machine which would automatically put the creme filling into Twinkies, which had been introduced in 1930, was perfected,” he said. Before a machine was designed, the filling was pumped into the Twinkies by hand. ”We weren’t sure we were going to fill cupcakes. But since the machine was ready, the cupcakes were also filled,” he said. The new cupcakes had an improved cake mix, purer chocolate icing, creme filling and a straight white line of icing. They were introduced in Detroit, the home of the creme-filled cupcake. ”The white line was received well, but didn’t do the new cupcakes justice,” he said. ”It needed something that would catch the eye and let the buyer know it was quality.” After a couple of weeks, the white loop-de-loop icing began appearing on the cupcakes. Rice noted that the perfect cupcake should have exactly seven loops. ”We began selling 25 percent more new cupcakes than the regular ones,” he said. ”Eventually the regular cupcakes were discontinued.” Since the cupcakes were going to have creme filling, the prices had to be increased, Rice said. ”The wholesale price jumped from 8 cents to 10 cents and the retail prices went from 10 cents to 12 cents.” Although he retired in 1972, Rice continues to work as a consultant for many companies, even outside the country.”
—“And By The Way …Hostess Cupcake celebrates 70th birthday,” C.E. EVANS,United Press International, May 10, 1989.