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New Owner: Drake's Cakes Also Returning Soon

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 7:21am

NEW YORK (AP) -- Twinkies aren't the only cakes getting ready for a comeback — so are Drake's cakes, which include Devil Dogs, Funny Bones and Yodels.

After Hostess Brands Inc. went out of business last year, the company sold off its brands in chunks to a variety of buyers. Many of the most famous cakes — such as Twinkies, CupCakes and Donettes — were purchased by a pair of investment firms that say they plan to have them back on shelves by July 15.

Drake's cakes, meanwhile, were snapped up by longtime Hostess rival McKee Foods, which makes Little Debbie snacks. McKee said in an email Monday that Drake's cakes should be back by "late summer/early fall." The company says it will start with a selection of Drake's products and see whether to bring back more products after that.

It did not say which products it will roll out first or whether all Drake's cakes would eventually return to shelves.

Notably, McKee Foods has gone head-to-head with Hostess on a variety of products. Its "Cloud Cakes" for example, bear a striking resemblance to Twinkies. And now it owns Drake's Devil Dogs and Yodels, which look a lot like its Little Debbie Devil Cremes and Swiss Rolls, respectively. But McKee says it isn't necessarily phasing out products that seem similar to each other.

"Similar is just that — similar, not the same," McKee spokesman Mike Gloekler wrote in an email.

Gloekler said McKee Foods is using its own baking plants to make Drake's cakes but that no changes will be made to the recipes to streamline production. He said the company will make Drake's "exactly to the recipes we received in the acquisition."

Little Debbie cakes tend to be less expensive than Hostess cakes. But Gloekker declined to say detail the pricing plan for the relaunch of Drake's.

A spokesman for Flowers Foods, Keith Hancock, said the company is still waiting for final approval from the Department of Justice for its purchase of Wonder and other breads. Flowers already makes a variety of bread brands, including Nature's Own and Cobblestone Mill, as well as snack cakes such as Tastykake and Mrs. Freshley's.

Pending that approval, Keith Hancock said Flowers is hopeful it will have Wonder back on shelves in the second half of this year.

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