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A cream filling between two layers of cake inspired a yummy holiday — say hello to National Devil Dog Day, which pays homage to the namesake food item from Drake’s Foods, each year on April 27. This day also honors the Marine Corps service members who initially earned the nickname ‘Devil Dogs’.
History of National Devil Dog Day
These delicious cream-filled treats apparently got their name from the Marine Corps, although these origins cannot be verified. Apparently, the Germans dubbed the U.S. Marines as ‘Devil Dogs’ during the First World War, for their absolute persistence and determination under fire. This phrase gained immense popularity, appearing on a U.S. recruiting poster, in poems and songs, in movies, and even as sports-team names. This nickname also inspired a cake, which is where our story begins.
Howard Leslie Sobel used to keep Devil Dogs cakes in his cupboard, a practice his grandson Sean Alexander Sobel greatly enjoyed. He would look forward to finding them in his grandfather’s cupboard, taking out one for each of them to eat together. This treasured practice soon spawned a family tradition and inspired Sean to found National Devil Dog Day to honor his grandfather’s memory.
Hostess Brands, the American baked goods company, owned Drake’s, which originally came up with the concept for Devil Dogs cakes. They went bankrupt in 2012 and were purchased by another snack food and granola manufacturer, McKee Foods Corporation, the very next year. This company reintroduced multiple top-selling products, including Ring Dings, Yankee Doodles, and the Devil Dogs cakes.
National Devil Dog Day timeline
German soldiers begin calling the U.S. Marines 'Devil Dogs' for their very canine-like tenacity and ferociousness.
American baked goods brand Drake’s are the first to start making the cakes.
Sean Alexander Sobel establishes a special day to celebrate this devilish treat.
National Devil Dog Day is officially created and America starts celebrating this holiday.
National Devil Dog Day FAQs
Do they still make Devil Dogs?
Drake Baking Company is now owned by McKee Foods, and they make snacks such as Devil Dogs, Funny Bones, Coffee Cakes, Ring Dings, and Yodels.
How did Drake's Devil Dogs get their name?
Two pieces of elongated devil’s food cakes with a gooey marshmallow center gave this dessert its name.
How long do Devil Dogs last?
These cakes have a shelf life of two to three weeks.
National Devil Dog Day Activities
Eat a Devil Dog
We know, we know, this one is slightly obvious, but we believe a person hasn't lived if they have not had a taste of this little dessert. Grab one from your local store or order one online (if they don't sell these where you live) and bite into the cakey goodness.
Read up on the Devil Dogs
Not the cake — although you could do that too — we mean the history of the Marines in World War I. You can browse books such as “Through the Wheat: The U.S. Marines in World War I,” or “The Devil Dogs at Belleau Wood: U.S. Marines in World War I.”
Make your own Devil Dog cake
Multiple cooking websites and blogs have their variations of the Devil Dog recipe, which has been refined over the years. Pick your favorite recipe and head on over to the kitchen to whip up your own scrumptious bone-shaped cake filled with fluffy marshmallow frosting.
Fun Facts About National Devil Dog Day
The only thing the Devil Dogs share is their name
There is little to no evidence that the Devil Dogs were military-spawned, unlike food items like energy bars or the McRib.
The rise of hydrogenated oil
The spoilage of butter or lard in cream-filled delights spawned the development of hydrogenated oil, which kept shelf items edible for longer periods.
There's a new Devil Dog in the market
Drake's introduced a spinoff of the original Devil Dog cakes after 91 long years — it's called the Fudge Dipped Devil Dogs.
It’s a true celebration!
In a funny coincidence, the new spinoff of the Devil Dog cake was put out the same year that Sean Alexander Sobel created National Devil Dog Day, in 2017.
The memories grow the customer base
The company making Devil Dogs believes nostalgia and a taste for their childhood drives this snack’s sales, which is why they mainly market it to adults.
Why We Love National Devil Dog Day
We learn about the Corps and their bravery
The delicacy was created to honor the Devil Dogs, and we think this day is the perfect way to pay homage to both the cake and the Marines. It provides us an opportunity to honor those people whose brave actions gave them their name. Plus, we believe the fact that they share this day with their namesake cake adds a certain sweetness to the occasion, no pun intended.
We see the evolution of food innovation
Who would have thought putting two devil food cakes together and using a cream filling would culminate in a lip-smacking dessert? Not only do we learn about the flourishing of similar baked delights created during the 1920s, but we also get a chance to learn more about other innovations that came about due to this trend.
We get to eat cake!
We love any excuse to eat cake and when we learn there is a whole day dedicated to one of our favorite desserts, well, we get very excited! So what are you waiting for? Go out there and sample as many variations of this cake as you can find.
National Devil Dog Day dates