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© Denzil Green

Twinkies are small, gold-coloured sponge cakes filled with vanilla-flavoured "cream." The cream filling is injected through 3 holes in the top. It's packaged upside down, with the brown top on the bottom.

Up till around the 1960s, Twinkies used actual dairy in the cream filling. Now, the filling is dairy-free.

Since 2007, a banana-flavoured cream has also been available.

Twinkies have been made for decades. Kids still get them in their lunch boxes, and still take time to lick the white cardboard bottom of the packaging.

They are made by Hostess, which in turn is owned by Hostess Brands, the same company that makes Wonder Bread and that sponsored the Howdy Doodie show.

Christopher Sell in Brooklyn, New York is making and selling hot, deep-fried Twinkies (as of 2004.) The Twinkies are dipped in batter and then deep-fried. Some say they are actually quite good.

Foodies see Twinkies as a "trailer-trash" food. But someone's buying them: in 2001, Hostess sold half a billion Twinkies.


Ingredients (as of 2007): Polysorbate 60 [ed.: an emulsifier], wheat flour, bleach, enrichment blend (ferrous sulfate and B vitamins – niacin, thiamine mononitrate, (B1) riboflaven (B2), folic acid), sugar, corn sweeteners, corn syrup (dextrose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup), corn thickeners (cornstarch, modified cornstarch, corn dextrins, corn flour), water, soy (partially hydrogenated vegetable and/or animal shortening, soy lecithin, and soy protein isolate), eggs, cellulose gum, whey, leavenings, baking soda, phosphates (sodium acid pyrophosphate and monocalcium phosphate), salt, mono and diglycerides, natural and artificial flavours, sodium stearoyl lactylate, sodium and calcium caseinate, calcium sulfate, sorbic acid, FD&C yellow no. 5 and red no. 40.

Storage Hints

To freeze, put the packages in a freezer bag first, and freeze for up to 1 month.

History Notes

Twinkies were invented by Jimmy Dewar (1897 - 1985) in 1930 while he was managing a Hostess bakery in Schiller Park, Illinois, 15 miles north of Chicago. At the time, Hostess made "Little Shortcake Fingers" (actually sponge cakes) for sale in strawberry season, which was just 6 weeks of the year. Dewar came up with a way that the special pans used for the "Shortcake Fingers" could be used year round. He took the cakes, split them in half, and filled them with a cream. Looking for a name, he was reputedly inspired by a billboard advertising Twinkle Toe shoes. The rest is lunchbox history.

The starting price was 2 for 5 cents. The flavour of cream-filling was banana up until the Second World War, when Hostess switched to vanilla flavouring owing to a banana shortage. The reintroduction of the banana flavoured was trialled in 2005, and made permanent in 2007. [2]

Literature & Lore

There are many urban myths that have evolved around Twinkies. One is that they have a shelf-life that you can practically measure with carbon dating. The story goes that Twinkies will last for decades, and that the ones in stores now might have been made 10 or 20 years ago. Twinkies actually only have a shelf-life of 25 days. If they always seem to always be on the shelves, it's owing to a ruthlessly efficient distribution system.

It's also a myth that the cake is actually a sea critter related to sponges.


[1] Until the fall of 2009, the company was called "Interstate Bakeries Corporation." Warner, Melanie. Turning Around Twinkies: The Biggest Marketing Challenge in Food Today. CBS Interactive Business Network. 27 January 2010. Retrieved March 2011 from http://www.bnet.com/blog/food-industry/turning-around-twinkies-the-biggest-marketing-challenge-in-food-today/139

[2] Shepherd, Lauren. Hostess selling banana-creme Twinkies. USA Today. 13 June 2007.

Hulchy, Patricia. Deconstructing the Twinkie. The Toronto Star. Toronto, Canada. 15 April 2007.

See also:


Aboukir; Alaska Florida; Angel Food Cake Day; Apple Potato Cake; Baked Alaska; Banbury Cakes; Boston Cream Pie; Boston Favorite Cake; Bundt Cakes; Cake Boards; Cake Flour; Cakes and Ale Day; Cakes; Carrot Cake; Cassatelle di Ricotta; Cheesecake Day; Cheesecake; Chocolate Cake Day; Chocolate Cake; Christmas Cakes; Clafoutis; Coconut Squares; Coffee Cake Day; Coffee Cake; Devil's Food Cake Day; Eccles Cakes; English Madelines; Flan; Galettes; Gâteau St-Honoré; Gâteaux; Genoa Bread; Genoa Cake; Icing & Frosting; Kugelhopf Cakes; Lamingtons; Marzipan Potatoes; Melton Hunt Cake; Muffins; Mustacae; Napolitain Cakes; Parkin Cake; Pasta Margherita; Pasta Paradiso; PET No-Bake Festive Fruitcake; Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Day; Pineapple Upside-Down Cake; Pithiviers; Pound Cake Day; Pound Cake; Queen Elizabeth Cake; Royal Icing; Sheath Cakes; Sheet Cakes; Simnel Cake; Slab Cake; Sly Cakes; Sponge Cakes; Stir-up Sunday; Swiss Roll; Tipsy Parson; Tranche Napolitaine; Twelfth Night Cake; Twinkies; Unrefined Icing Sugar; Upside-Down Cakes; Whirlin Cakes; Wycoller Cake; Yule Log; Zuccotto

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Oulton, Randal. "Twinkies." CooksInfo.com. Published 11 January 2004; revised 18 February 2011. Web. Accessed 03/17/2018. <http://www.cooksinfo.com/twinkies>.

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