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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

Average: 3.7 (6 votes)

Royal Cake Company

by Wiley J. Williams, 2006

The Royal Cake Company, one of the oldest and largest bakeries in the United States, was established in Winston-Salem in 1925 as Easley Cookie Company, with David W. Easley as owner. Gray G. Welch and Henry Hicks bought the company in 1926. With Welch as president and Hicks as secretary-treasurer, the firm became Royal Cake Company in the mid-1930s. By the 1950s, Royal Cake's cream-filled oatmeal cookies (the firm's best seller) and 20 other types of pastries-including chocolate chip cream-filled cookies, banana marshmallow pies, Swiss rolls, brownie rounds, and fruit-filled cereal bars-were available in convenience stores, grocery chains, vending machines, and other venues in all states east of the Mississippi River. In the early 2000s Royal Cake Company, headed by CEO James B. Whitney, had 200 full-time employees and more than $30 million in annual sales.


Update from N.C. Government & Heritage Library staff: 

The Royal Cake Company declared bankruptcy in 2005 and was subsequently purchased by Flowers Foods.  

According to a Flowers Food representative (2/13/2015): "Our
company no longer sells cookies under the Royal brand. However, we do
use the Royal recipe for oatmeal cookies sold under the Southern Home
label, the store brand of BI-LO grocery stores, which are located in NC,
SC, TN, and GA."


Lynn Jessup, "Royal Cake Company: Creme-Filled Creations," Our State 69 (May 2002).

Additional Resources:

"Company Info." FlowersFoods. (accessed September 16, 2014).

Origin - location: 



Hi Patrick,

Thanks for visiting NCpedia and taking a minute to share your connection to this entry.  We like to hear our readers stories and have them share their personal connections to our content and NC history.

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Kelly Agan, Government & Heritage Library


I can't understand why they would even change it...they were the very BEST I wish I could find some. That is how I found this blog..looking to see if there was somewhere online I could purchase them after eating a gosh awful Little Debbie.


Hello, my grandfather, Patrick H. Hicks II, was cofounder of Royal Cake. Unfortunately, the reason the cakes were changed (and they were the best!) was because of the rumor (coming out?) of the cofounder, Gray Welch, as a homosexual. My grandfather was very religious, and sold his half to Welch just to not be associated with his rep. I don't know, but later, Welch sold out to Flowers.


I grew up eating cookies from Royal Cake Co. on Academy St. What was the brand name of the oatmeal cookies back in the sixties? I cannot remember if it was Royal or something else?



My grandfather was co-founder of Royal Cake: Patrick H. Hicks II; along with G. Welch. I grew up eating the oatmeal cookies, and loved them! I went to the bakery with my grandfather and watched them being made. As far as the name, it might have been "Oatmeal Cream Cookies," or something similar, not sure. As an aside, my father is also from Winston; he went to RJ Reynolds High School in the late 40's. His name is Patrick also. Did you perhaps go to school with him?


They were called Royal oatmeal cookies. Unfortunately they were sold to Flowers Bakery and the cookies made by Flowers are not the same. Try Blue Bird brand. They are not exactly the same, but are close and are available at Flowers Outlets. Stay away from Mrs Freshley's, also made by Flowers. The Mrs brand is way to sugary.


Blue Bird is not like the Royal Cake Oatmeal Cookie, it closely resembles Little Debbie and is by far inferior. If someone could get the recipe for the old Royal Cake Oatmeal Cookie they could get rich, it was the best by far.


I agree! ROYAL oatmeal cookies were Delicious, but my very favorite was still would be their Royal Raisin Cakes! I would love to have that old recipe! Please somebody ( Grandson or other relatives), if you have the recipes, please bring them all back, or share them! I would pay, and I'm sure many others would too, to even just have the recipe!! But would prefer to be able to go to the local convenience store or grocery store and purchase a case!!! Thank you! :-)

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