The Anatomy of A Cupcake (Infographic)

When this gourmet cupcake boom took off a couple of years ago, I couldn’t believe it. The cupcakes I’m used to are home-baked, hastily frosted and pocked with thumbprints. And before my family discovered a local cupcake café, the idea of shelling $4 dollar for a lavender lemon verbena cupcake would have made all of us laugh. Now, we do occasionally find each other lingering on the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” (now into it’s 4th season). And I’ve only softened somewhat to the idea of cupcakes-for-purchase, but I’m definitely done holding my breathe for the cupcake bubble to burst.

It’s the ingenious image of the sweet and simple cupcake that propelled the treats into a $6 billion industry. We’ve all made cupcakes a thousand times. The ingredients are familiar, pronounceable items we always have on hand. Their authenticity helps us feel better about buying our kids and ourselves a $4 cupcake over a lot of other fast food snacks. But really, like most anything we eat nowadays, the cupcake represents global effort of laborers and products from places we don’t tend to think about. Check out this new graphic weighing the ingredients of this trendy personal treat:

Food Infographic


    • Though, the price listed ($518 per pound) is silly. The references listed says prices have spiked to $26 per pound, with *one* individual who *claims* he got an offer of $515.

    • Agreed. I have actually posted that a few times now. The infographics are okay but I originally started reading this blog for the financial information and the unique perspective the author gives. To be honest, I’m getting pretty sick of these random posts.

  1. wow.. you have intriguing mind.

    And I would never spend 4.00 or more for a cupcake except (oh well) one time several years ago for my young son as a treat at a museum in NYC…. and it did not even taste good. (never again)

  2. Yes, but like every thing, if done in moderation, it’s ok. Aside from the $4 price tage, if you want to have a cup cake every now and then, it’s not going to kill you.

  3. $4 for a cupcake? What is it made of? Gold? I don’t think so. I cater for all my family’s baking requirements now, from bread, to muffins, cakes and cupcakes it’s all made at home and far better than what you get in the shops.

    This is part of my living the frugal dad mantra.

  4. Wow–two typos in one of the two paragraphs actually written, rather than graphically represented. And the connection between gourmet cupcakes and frugality is a stretch at best.

  5. Baking POWDER should never be used to extinguish a fire…very dangerous!! You have powder mixed up with soda.
    Please update your infographic to baking SODA!

  6. Lucky to live in Tillamook and have Tillamook dairy products… So, Milk and butter are local. Eggs are from the neighbor’s organic chickens, sugar is replaced with stevia from my plants, Sea Salt is distilled out of our bay, frosting is buttercream (local again) and NO food coloring nor vanilla extract anywhere near it… LOL

    So that leaves flour and baking powder, and I’ll deal with that and make them at home 🙂 $4 for a cupcake??? That is more than one day’s full grocery budget for me – no way!

  7. I have restrained myself so far, but I am also way over the infographics. Used to enjoy reading about the Frugal Dad’s family issues with trying to be frugal and help his family understand frugality, but the infographics have taken over the space. I am crying UNCLE!

  8. I love humming bird bakery cupcakes, they are absolutely awesome. I’ve now got recipes for them and have had a go myself and they turn out really well. My family and work friends love them. I LOVE CUPCAKES!
    As ever great pictures on your blog entry

  9. Getting kind of tired of all these infographics Frugal Dad… Bring back the posts that made us all become daily readers, please 🙂

  10. Totally agree with the above posters. Enough. Although I imagine it is increasing traffic and revenue, especially since you encourage people to share the image.

    I’m about one useless inforgraphic away from never returning. That’s for sure.

    • Yeah, I feel the same way. Took this site off my bookmarks after the 4th one in a row and only found this one through lifehacker. I’m sad to see that the blog is still full of these info graphics.

      I’m a big fan of Mr. Money Mustache (; he gets “off topic” from financial advice, but the posts always relate back to lifestyle changes for retiring early/reducing spending. It was a sad attempt by Frugal Dad to mention that cupcakes cost $4 to somehow justify this infographic.

  11. I don’t quite follow the overarching message behind all the factoids–e.g. are we supposed to pause when we bake with vanilla b-c there’s alcohol in it, and a few oddballs have gotten drunk off vanilla extract? And we should think twice about using baking soda b-c it’s used in crack cocaine? I like the politics behind ‘think about the larger picture’ — I’m just not sure what the proposal is here– to bake cupcakes at home rather than buying overpriced retail versions or not to bake them at all because they contain hazardous materials?

  12. Some of these were just dumb. I mean only idiots would drink vanilla extract straight besides you know you can make your own by buying vanilla beans and soaking them in vodka right? Also when you cook the alcohol burns off and is no longer strong enough to cause issues. The cocaine one is pointless drug dealers use a ton of household items in drugs should we stop using nyquil because it’s used to make crystal meth? Also the flour one is just funny because I don’t think that effects the story and is more of an interesting fact also the butter thing in Norway ummm that’s their fault. So not really sure what the lessen is I already would make my own if I wanted one and replace a lot of the ingredients like butter and sugar of healthier versions so it doesn’t turn into an explosive 400 calories cupcake with fake dyes, but that’s just my thought.

  13. I’m going to assume that was supposed to be ‘tongue-in-cheek.’ Incidentally, the’ dangerous’ red dye thing is not conclusively proven and the American Academy of Pediatrics does not have an opinion on it. (Sugar, incidentally, has on numerous trials not proven to make children more hyperactive.)

  14. “A Tennessee woman was arrested for a DUI when her car hopped a curb due to consuming an 8 oz. bottle of vanilla extract”

    That’s hardly fair. The car gets drunk off vanilla extract and SHE goes to jail? I blame Obama, somehow.

  15. WoW!! What a sense of entitlement Americans have? The family fellowship in the kitchen making our favorite cupcakes to now paying 6 bucks to have it done for us? What is next?

    By the way, a lady getting a DUI because of an 8 oz. bottle of vanilla extract? At least it taste better than other 8 oz. bottles of God knows what.

    Thanks Jason.

  16. Ops, you used diffrent sources to put this infograph together, sources that didn’t approve to this particular use. According to ACTA, which replaces SOPA/PIPA you have now comitted a crime and will be sued, put in jail and disconnected from the Internet. Sorry.