The dog days of summer are rolling hot this year. It’s normally been a balmy 90+ outdoors for me this year, while California has been a fry-an-egg-on-your-hood 109+ some days. For what it’s worth, summer is actually my favorite season. Cicadas hailing in bearably warm evening hours, the sounds of kids doing cannonballs, the smell of fresh cut grass. The way that East Coast states have sun until almost 10pm. Extended family time without school and lukewarm, lazy cheeseburgers with knock-off Kraft singles, store brand buns and ketchup.
As an newly old man, I have plenty of summer memories, plenty of remembered birthday cakes, plenty of times I had vanilla ice cream and Betty Crocker box cake from a glass baking dish. There’s always been a certain amount of melancholy involved. With a July birthday, smack dab in the middle of family vacation time and school being out, I’ve never had huge parties or big expectations. Sometimes, the biggest things come in small, unexpected packages. Sometimes you’re trying to be efficient and buy $25 in face wash for your oil-inflected skin. And then sometimes you round a corner and yo, Hostess Birthday Cupcakes. It took like .5 seconds before I grabbed the pack and said LET’S. GO.
These are described as frosted yellow cake with creamy filling, and it isn’t wrong. Inside the pack were two Funfetti, Twinkie-esque yellow sponge cakes dotted with rainbow sprinkles(the Funfetti part!), and that signature thin white Hostess cupcake swirl atop a frosting cap permanently adhered to the cake via a subset of snack demonology and the power of sugar.
The sponge is non-descript: it’s a sweet cake and its odd Twinkie-like or Twinkie-perfect formula is light and airy in the best way a high fructose corn syrup cake can be. The cream is fun-fair sweet and the iced topping? The stuff of legends. I’m like 99% sure this is a Twinkie, just shaped like a cupcake. Why remake something if you could reshape something?
Bitten all together, the dense, fondant-lite icing takes the cake and dominates other flavors. The sprinkles make a good texture change in an otherwise, one note soft cake and creme affair. If these are Twinkies, I enjoy them more than the eponymous snack cake. The change in gear the Funfetti sprinkles add are a little, tiny bit of crunch, but in the overall product are little bits of sugar inside of a sugar rush of a cake.
This might be the first and last time I have a pair of these, because Jesus they’re small, but dense and absolutely PACKED with sugar. They feel like a blood sugar surge in an adorable baby blue tray.
Friends, if you can eat a ball of sugar, hats off to you, but at my age, it seems like old boy can’t hang anymore.
Found at Walgreens.