Sunday, November 18, 2012

Say it isn't so! (Hostess Cupcakes)

By golly, Hostess Cakes is going out of business.

If you've not heard the recent news... here it is:

The end for Twinkies may just be hours away.
Hostess Brands Inc., the maker of the iconic snack, announced on Wednesday that it will liquidate the entire company if not enough striking employees return to work by Thursday evening.
ABC News: Twinkies Maker Hostess Vows to Liquidate Company if Strikes Persist, November 15, 2012
Nearly 18,500 workers nationwide are out of a job -- including close to 150 at the century-old Cincinnati bakery. That means the end of the line -- for now -- for such iconic bread lines as Wonder and Butternut (a Cincinnati-bred bread for more than 100 years) and those vintage snacks Ding Dongs, Ho Hos, Honey Buns, cream-filled cupcakes and that old standby, Twinkies.
USA Today: At Hostess plant, bittersweet feelings, November 16, 2012
 ...Hostess's latest woes took hold when thousands of employees in its bakers union went on strike Nov. 9 in protest of a court-imposed labor contract that cut wages, commissions, and health care benefits and changed the structure of pension plans in a way that could reduce payouts to retirees.
The strike affected roughly two thirds of Hostess's 36 plants..
Wall Street Journal: Twinkie Maker Hostess to Close, November 16, 2012
Rayburn said he’s hopeful the company will find buyers for its roster of about 30 brands, which include Ho Hos, Dolly Madison, Drake’s and Nature’s Pride snacks. The company books about $2.5 billion in sales per year.
Chillico The Gazette: Hostess store likely to close by month's end, November 16, 2012
"We deeply regret the necessity of today's decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike," Hostess Chief Executive Gregory F. Rayburn said in a statement Friday. The Irving, Texas, company, founded in 1930, runs 565 distribution centers around the country, as well as 33 bakeries and 570 bakery outlets...
LA Times: Twinkies maker Hostess to go out of business, lay off 18,500, November 17, 2012
...An amalgam of brands and businesses, the company has evolved over the years through acquisitions. In the 1960s and 1970s, the company, then called Interstate, bought more than a dozen regional bakeries scattered across the country. A couple of decades later, it paid $330 million for the Continental Baking Company, picking up a portfolio of brands like Wonder and Hostess....
Five years later, the company emerged from Chapter 11 as Hostess Brands, so named after its most prominent division...
DealBook: As Labor Talks Collapse, Hostess Turns Out Lights, November 17, 2012
The company is blaming its decision to shut down on a labor strike by members of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union. But Americans' appetite for junk food has also been waning in recent years. The company has filed for bankruptcy protection twice this decade, the last time in January. 
LA Times: Twinkie, Ding-Dong runs reported as Hostess bakery closes, November 17, 2012
The 82-year-old maker of Hostess CupCakes, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos said yesterday it would fire more than 18,000 employees and go out of business after a weeklong strike by its bakers’ union. Metropoulos, owner of Pabst Brewing Co., said it may bid for Hostess’s ``iconic brands.’’ Flowers, maker of Nature’s Own bread and Tastykake snacks, could pursue some of its rival’s assets to expand its geographic reach and fill existing territory, wrote William Chappell, an analyst with SunTrust Robinson Humphrey.
Washington Post: What’s next for Twinkies maker Hostess Brands?, November 17, 2012
Hostess Twinkies’ CEO tripled his salary to $2.55 million while the company was preparing to go into bankruptcy.
And nine top executives saw massive pay raises, some nearly doubling their salary.
America Blog: Hostess Twinkies CEO tripled salary to $2.5m while preparing to file bankruptcy, November 17, 2012
Their official statement can be found here.

At the time of Hostess's liquidation, these were its brands in the United States:
Wikipedia: Hostess Brands

I'd be a lot sadder if I were in the United States, and were not a Celiac. On a more sentimental level, of course I am very sad about this news. I loved Hostess products while growing up! I remember being poor and thinking the highlight of the month was going to the Hostess/Wonder Bread  Thrift Shop. Fruit Pies *drool*  I remember fondly waking up on Sunday mornings and having Doughnettes at one congregation, and after moving away and going to work - I was enjoying them out of our snack machines...

I haven't had any of their products in many years due to my Celiac. So, you are probably wondering why I'm blogging about this. I'm sort of wondering myself, as reality hits that even though I cannot have this item, I thoroughly MISS these products. And what I felt upon knowing these were all 100% off limits, must be how many loyal customers are feeling right now.

I've been making some "clone" recipes of the products for some time now, due to my food issues.  I found a pie crust recipe that translated well enough to make the fruit pies. I haven't made them in ages. I might this Thanksgiving though...

I've made a clone of the hohos, twinkies and cupcakes. I've missed the doughnettes with a purple passion. I finally found a recipe that will allow me to "clone" those as well. I've got the perfect cake tins for them as well.  Snoballs were ok, but not my favorites. . . I do recall really liking them as a young kid and trading for them during lunch. (Mom, now you know.  It only happened a couple times, I promise. Fruit Roll Ups were more my thing... and we stopped trading when dad got wind and we were worried he had spies everywhere.)

There are a lot of sites popping up now with clone recipes for popular Hostess items. Such as Friday's  Mother Nature News article "Make your own Hostess Treats".   I still have my copy of April 2009's Family Circle article "Homemade Versions: Double Takes". I've made a few of the items and friends who have had the cakes have said they are better than the original. I wouldn't really remember. It's been nigh on 8 or 9 years since I had any of them.  Not So Humble Pie has a recipe for Baked Cake Doughnuts that is a good Doughnette clone, and I found out how to make Gluten Free Cake Flour here. I did find a copycat recipe for the Fruit Pies if you need them. I'm not sure if I would make them the same way gluten free, but it's a start for a great kitchen experiment, no?

I guess I just really wanted to let other Hostess fans know that you are not alone. I will miss it too. I still miss it after all these years.  It's a nice treat once in a while... and for now, they're gone, until the recipes are sold and picked up by other retailers. I'm prayerful that the employees losing their jobs will soon find another place to work, and that G-d will graciously provide for them in these lean times. There is nothing absolutely as scary as being in the position they are currently in right now.

And for Nostalgia's sake:

These were sadly discontinued a long time ago.

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