Just How Fattening Is That Cupcake?

Empire State Building behind stack of cupcakes

hide captionHow do the Big Apple's gourmet cupcakes stack up, nutritionally? This tower amounts to 2,197 calories and 101 grams of fat. For more, see below.

Mike Pesca, NPR/Food styling by NPR's Robert Smith
Crumbs vs. Magnolia i i

hide captionThe Crumbs vanilla cupcake at left has 780 calories and nearly 36 grams of fat. Magnolia's comparatively dainty version has 389 calories and nearly 19 grams of fat.

Mike Pesca, NPR
Crumbs vs. Magnolia

The Crumbs vanilla cupcake at left has 780 calories and nearly 36 grams of fat. Magnolia's comparatively dainty version has 389 calories and nearly 19 grams of fat.

Mike Pesca, NPR
Crumbs vs. Hostess i i

hide captionWhen is eating a Hostess cupcake going "light"? When you compare it with the Crumbs version (left), which has 542 calories and 25 grams of fat. The original has 181 calories and 6 grams of fat.

Mike Pesca, NPR
Crumbs vs. Hostess

When is eating a Hostess cupcake going "light"? When you compare it with the Crumbs version (left), which has 542 calories and 25 grams of fat. The original has 181 calories and 6 grams of fat.

Mike Pesca, NPR

Charles Stuart Platkin, who is known these days as The Diet Detective, is the son of a Long Island ice cream shop owner. He had the plumpness to prove it, too, until he trimmed down several years ago.

Platkin is not an "I like cupcakes as much as the next guy" type. He believes that people might be more circumspect about them if they had more information about what they are eating.

At the supermarket or at most fast-food chains, nutritional information is accessible to the consumer. But New York's gourmet bakeries serve up an enigma wrapped in a mystery, and stuffed with creamy goodness.

Platkin is out to reveal that mystery, for the edification (and to the likely chagrin) of the calorie-conscious. He has subjected cupcakes from the Magnolia and Crumbs bakeries in New York to nutritional analysis, and the results may weigh on a dieter's mind.

The gourmet bakery cupcakes turned out to be higher in calories and fat than good ol' store-bought Hostess cupcakes. Eating one of Crumbs' masterpieces is, it turns out, equivalent to eating three slices of pizza.

In case you're interested in working that off later, expect to jog six miles, Platkin says. If you think that's bad, be glad you didn't have dinner at Thomas Keller's Per Se restaurant in New York. That indulgence, according to Platkin's calculations, rings in at 2,400 calories and a 30-mile walk of penance.

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