Search This Blog


favourite Posts


Lunchbox Snacks of YesterYear: Entenmann's

Growing up in New York, I think Entenmann's products were in my house more than anything.  Perhaps not as a "Lunchbox Snack" but a snack around the house nonetheless.  There was always a long rectangular box of Entenmann's Donuts on the kitchen table, right next to the Coffee Cake or other pastry Mom bought.  

While Drake's Cakes seem to be a local New York/North East favorite, Entenmann's is probably most synonymous with the North Eastern United States.  I always thought Entenmann's was a true "local" snack while I was growing up, and I was sort of disappointed when I found out that my "local secret" wasn't just a local secret and was, in fact, a nationwide brand.  

Thank you for sticking with me this month, as we've gone quite in-depth on something as simple as companies that made our Lunchbox Snack.  Please, if you haven't already, go back and check out my articles on Hostess (HERE), Drake's Cakes (HERE), or Little Debbie (HERE.)  I think they're well worth your time for a decent history lesson and a walk down memory lane of some snacks you can't find on store shelves anymore.  

As far as Entenmann's goes, the Chocolate Donuts have to be my all-time favorite, although, like many of Entenmann's other products, they aren't as good as they once were.  I'll let you in on a secret, the Mini Chocolate Donuts still taste like the good old days.  That said about the donuts, I do have many fond memories of my Uncle coming down for a visit or late nights hanging out with him and my Brother during our summers in Maine, playing cards and snacking on an Ultimate Crumb Cake.    

Before we get into my favorites, let's find out how this New York bakery turned into a national powerhouse.  
Before moving to the United States, William Entenmann spent several years baking under his father's instruction in Stuttgart, Germany.  His first job in America was a factory job baking bread, and when he had saved enough money, he opened Entenmann's Bakery in 1898.  William would sell his baked goods out of a horse-drawn wagon.  This wagon would eventually serve as the iconic logo for the brand as a remembrance of its roots.

Two years later, William's son, William Jr., fell ill with rheumatic fever.  At the family's doctor's suggestion, they moved out to "the country" for some fresh air.  The country happened to be Bay Shore, New York, out on Long Island.  In 2021, it's hard to fathom Bay Shore as "the country," but back in 1900, it most certainly was.  In Bay Shore, Entenmann's Bakery created a large bakery facility that remained in Bay Shore for over 100 years until its closure in 2014.  

Within a few years, William had quickly grown the business to over 30 home delivery routes.  Entenmann's had some fairly famous customers, such as the Morgans and the Vanderbilts as part of the home delivery routes.  As in, the J.P. Morgan's and the one-time wealthiest family in America, The Vanderbilts.  Over the years, other celebrities were fans of the company's baked goods too. Ol' Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra, famously had a standing order for the company's Crumb Coffee Cake to be delivered to his Manhattan apartment.

Years later, William Jr. took over the reins of the business and had his sights set on bigger and better.  At this time, bread was still the central focus of Entenmann's business, and he continued expanding the delivery routes.  

Unfortunately, in 1951, William Jr. passed away and left the bakery to his wife Martha and their sons, Robert, Charles, and William III.  Soon after taking over, the family quickly phased out bread production and focused on pastries and cakes.  Not too long after the renewed focus on pastries and snack cakes, they began supplying grocery stores rather than offering home delivery.  
In 1959, the Entenmann family invented the "see-through" box, using a sheet of clear cellophane plastic in the cardboard to help consumers see the product before purchasing.  This sales tactic is used by many different bakeries today.

In 1961, the company rebuilt the Bay Shore, New York bakery into the largest bakery of its kind on over five acres of land.  During the 1960s, the company expanded with new factories in New Jersey and Connecticut.  

In 1970, the company planned to go national.  Enlisting consultant firm Calle and Company, they reformulated the more decadent New England style baked goods to a lighter product suited for hotter and humid climates.  After successful trial runs in test markets like Miami and Atlanta, national expansion rapidly followed.  
In 1972, they began selling soft Chocolate Chip Cookies.  These cookies were an instant hit nationwide, and Entenmann's has sold over 620 million since then.  

With the national expansion, Entenmann's changed their cake-baking methodologies.  Converting to an "easy bake" style of preparation, this new process allows for an assembly line style of baking under hot lights rather than in an oven.  This baking style results in baked goods without burn marks or other heat signatures on the bottom of the product.  It also allows for factory-style (and much faster) production.

Starting in 1978, Entenmann's would undergo a series of ownership changes.  The business was purchased by Warner-Lambert, a pharmaceutical company.  They held the company until 1982 when they sold the bakery to General Foods.  General Foods merged with Kraft in 1990 to become Kraft General Foods.  This new conglomerate sold off its baking division in 1995 to CPC International, which would later become BestfoodsBestfoods was purchased by mega corporation Unilever in 2000, who quickly sold the company to Canadian supermarket and baked goods company George Weston.  Weston sold off its American companies, including Entenmann's, in 2008, to Mexican conglomerate Grupo Bimbo, where it resides today.  

Bimbo currently holds Entenmanns under a United States subsidiary called "Bimbo Bakeries, USA" alongside companies like Thomas', Boboli, Arnold Breads, and Freihofer's.  

The Bay Shore Factory and Outlet

In March of 2014, Bimbo Bakeries, USA, announced it would be ceasing Entenmann's baking operations at the original Bay Shore, New York location. 

In 2018, the company celebrated its 120th birthday in grand fashion with unique products and packaging. 
Like I did for Hostess, Drake's, and Little Debbie, I'd like to review the current offerings from Entenmann's bakery lineup as of the time of writing.  The following may come in a variety of flavors:


  • Donuts
  • Pop 'Em Donut Holes
  • Snack Size Mini Donuts
  • Softee Donuts

Little Bites Mini Size Cookies and Muffins:

  • Banana Muffins
  • Blueberry Muffins
  • Chocolate Chip Muffins
  • Cookies and Creme Muffins
  • Crumb Cakes
  • Fudge Brownie Muffins
  • Party Cake Muffins
  • Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Soft Baked Party Cookies
  • Strawberry Shortcake Muffins

Loaf Cakes:
  • All Butter Loaf
  • Banana Bread
  • Blueberry Crumb
  • Chocolate Chip Crumb
  • Chocolate Loaf
  • Cranberry Orange Loaf
  • Lemon Loaf
  • Loaf Cake
  • Marble Loaf
  • Pumpkin Loaf
  • Pound Cake

  • Cherry Cheese Danish
  • Cheese Danish
  • Cinnamon Danish
  • Hot Cross Buns
  • Pecan Danish Twist
  • Raspberry Danish Twist

Desert Cakes:
  • Ice Cakes
  • Crunch Cakes

Crumb Cakes:
  • Butter French Crumb
  • Cheese Filled Crumb Cake
  • Crumb Cake
  • Crumb Coffee
  • New York Style Crumb Cake

  • Chocolate Creme Filled Cake
  • Golden Cupcakes
  • Party Creme Filled 

  • Black and White Cookie
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie
  • Gourmet Cookies
  • Rainbow Cookie
  • Sprinkled Cookies

Snack Pies:
  • Apple
  • Cherry
  • Lemon

  • Blueberry
  • Chocolate Chip
  • Corn

Buns and Puffs:
  • Apple Puffs
  • Cinnamon Roll
  • Cinnamon Swirl Buns
  • Cheese Topped Buns
  • Glazed Honey Bun
  • Guava Cheese Puffs
  • Iced Honey Bun
  • Raspberry Creme Puff Mini Multi-Pack

  • Chocolate Chip Brownie Cakes
  • Eclairs
  • Madeline's

Finally, we've reached the "Discontinued Products" section, and there's one item that I've been waiting to talk about.  We'll start with that one first and move on to some other discontinued items you may remember from Yester Year.

The Ultimate Crumb Cake - My family LOVED "The Ultimate" (as we called it.)  Any family gathering or any time friends would visit, we'd get the "The Ultimate."  It had a much thicker crumb layer, a healthy coating of powdered sugar, and a very moist cake.  Unfortunately, right around 2000 or a few years after Unilever took over the company, we noticed that the crumb layer wasn't as thick and the cake wasn't as moist.  Eventually, we stopped paying extra for The Ultimate and just bought the regular crumb cake since it was about the same.  I'm not sure exactly when this was phased out, but the "New York Style" is its replacement, and it doesn't do it justice.

The Walnut Danish Ring - My wife reports that her Dad would bring this home whenever it was on sale or to bring it as a gift when visiting friends and relatives.  This ring-shaped danish was always moist with a white icing drizzle with raisins and walnuts.  Like most of Entenmann's other discontinued products, the danish's quality began declining about the same time as The Ultimate.  It was phased out in 2014, but he had long stopped buying it by then.

Apple Strudel - Who doesn't love an Apple Strudel?  This, to me, other than cost-cutting, doesn't make sense.  I guess compared to the many available products, a large size Apple Strudel wouldn't be high on my list of items to get, but, man, was it tasty.  Like many Entenmann's products, the pastry got thinner over the years, and there seemed to be less apple filling.

Brooklyn Blackout Cake-  This chocolate lover's dream actually came from another local Brooklyn bakery, Ebinger'sEntenmann's acquired Ebingers in the early 1970s and continued baking this cake with their own branding.  The Blackout Cake was basically a chocolate cake with chocolate creme, chocolate icing, and chocolate cookie crumble topping.  

Thank you very much for sticking with me this past month for these in-depth looks at the companies we all loved growing up.  It's something I've always wanted to do and really enjoyed doing.  I've always been fascinated by the "business of the business," so to speak.  Things like how companies change hands and morph throughout the years into what they have become today really interest me.  

In case you missed them, please go back and read my articles on:

I have one last post I would like to make this month comparing the snacks of each company and its direct competitor, but with things happening in real life on this side of the keyboard, I don't know if I'll have the time before the month is out.  Eventually, I'll be adding to the Lunchbox series, but it's come to an end for now.  There may be fewer articles coming out during the month of March, but we'll be back to regular programming here at YesterYear Retro.