Like Egon Spengler, we're big believers in the power of the Twinkie. That snack cake and its like-minded companions have been with us since childhood, and, thanks to preservatives, they'll be there with the cockroaches until the very end of humanity itself.
But what do people who make their living baking actual cakes think of the stuff? To find out, we enlisted the expertise of François Payard, the man behind the multi-location François Payard Bakery in New York.
The snack cake lineup
Since François grew up in France, this was actually his first encounter with any of the snack cakes we presented. What follows are his honest opinions on six common grocery store items: Twinkies, Ho Hos, Ring Dings, Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies, Entenmann's Iced Honey Buns, and Snackwell's Devil's Food Cookie Cakes. After tasting each one, he ranked it on a scale of 1-10, with one being a scorched cookie and 10 being a (mass-market) creme brulee. Get ready to have your childhood ruined -- or validated! -- by a master pastry chef.
6. Entenmann’s Iced Honey Bun
"This is my least favorite of all of them. It’s terrible. This frosting on the top sticks to my tongue. There’s nothing good about this. It’s mushy, chewy. I don’t even know why people would buy this. It doesn’t even look like a snack. It shouldn’t be so big."
5. Ho Ho
"I think little kids would like this, but I really don’t. It’s the chocolate and oil on the top. But the worst part is that the sugar hasn’t melted in the frosting. You can taste the granulated sugar. It’s not smooth. Maybe some people grow up with it and love it, but this isn’t something I would buy."
4. Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pie
"I don’t really like it. It’s gummy, chewy. And the filling inside -- it’s better than the Ho Ho, but not as good as the Twinkie. There’s a spice in it. What spice is that? It’s not ginger, or it’s not just ginger... it’s like two different spices inside. What I don’t like about this one is there's no texture. Too mushy. But if you’re a kid, or someone who likes something soft, it’s probably fine. Somebody very old would love it because they have no teeth."
"I would've thought this one would be the best, because it had the best presentation. The chocolate is not pleasant. It’s not even chocolate, it’s all fake. And the cake is not that moist. It’s a good snack, but it’s missing filling. That’s not enough to indulge, to get you excited."
"I wish they used the same filling recipe on the Ho Ho to make it better. Look how this melts in your mouth. And it’s less sweet in the middle. Much more smooth. There’s still something funny to it though. I’m not sure what it is, but that’s the problem with these manufactured, mass-volume snacks."
1. Ring Ding
"You know, I would say it’s a very good snack for the afternoon. I think it’s nice, I don’t want any more cream than that, because I want some cake, too. That’s perfect in the middle. I would like it more if it was a little cold. Put it in the refrigerator, so it gets more crunchy, and you get more flavor."