How Much is Inside Cupcakes?

What size slice of a cake does a cupcake represent?

How much is Inside Cupcakes?

Ah cupcakes! The greatest invention since sliced cakes.

How much is inside cupcakes? No one knows.

I used to work at a bakery. Among other items, we made big fancy cakes, and sold slices of them. They had names like Chocolate Decadence, fruit basket, and Chocolate Amazon cake, and we sold 'em for $2.95 a slice.

Today I work at Intel, I'm more likely to be eating cake than making it, and cake bakeries have been replaced by cupcake bakeries. Considering this shift, I pondered the question; what portion of a regular cake does one cupcake represent?

It would be easy to check. All I had to do was to prepare two identical cake mixes, make one mix into a batch of cupcakes, the other into a layer cake.

Then I could use the quanity of cupcakes to slice the cake into a similar number of slices.

The result would be cake slices with the same cake quantity as a single cupcake.

For this experiment, I enlisted my kids. We bought Pillsbury brand strawberry Moist Supreme cake mixes for $1.02, and a $1.58 for "flavor it yourself" frosting base and flavor powders from Duncan Hines. With three eggs and a bit of oil, the total per-cake price of these ingredients hovered very close to $2.95.

My kids are really very good at breaking eggs. In no time, we had the cake layers in the oven and were onto the cupcakes.

When it was time to pour the cupcakes, I was somewhat surprised to find that the batter barely filled 17 cups.

These were by no means overflowing, top-heavy, muffin-top cupcakes. They were kind of pitiful actually, and yet the box claimed to make 24 cupcakes.

What would they look like if I spread this batter among 24 cupcakes? They'd be cupcakes for ants.

With the cake and cupcakes in the oven, we took a break. It was bedtime.

The frostings would have to wait til morning.

The next morning, one of the carefully counted cupcakes was missing from the cooling rack! The kids had no idea what happened to it!

We needed 17 cupcakes, but we only had 16. The experiment was ruined.

We soldiered on, mixing up the two frostings.

Frosting the cake.

And frosing the cupcakes.

Stacy recommended that for the purposes of this experiment, a King's Hawaiian sweet roll stand in for the missing cupcake. He fit right in.

The finished cake looked great, although not as tall as I had imagined.

To match the cupcake yield, I used Excel to set up and print a guide which would allow me to measure and cut 17 equal pieces.

(360°/17 cupcakes = 21° per slice)

Have you ever seen a cake stacked onto a pie chart?

I marked and cut some tiny slices of cake.

Here's one on a small plate.

Please note that the slice, this seventeenth part of a cake, is only 4" long and about as wide as a fork.

So there you have it! A cupcake is equivalent to one seventeenth of a whole cake.

Both contain the same portion of cake, at a cost of 18¢.

The main difference between the two is ease of eating. Some say that cupcakes are finger food, easier to share, easier to eat.

Opinions differ.

The quantity of cake offered no staggering information from this experiment. A cupcake is equivalent to a tiny slice of a cake. A slice with a footprint not much larger than a Dorito.

Case closed.


there was one bit of information unearthed, and it had to do with the frosting.

Preparing the cake, We used the green frosting, every dollup of it. Not so for the cupcakes. We had half of a bowl left over, and there was no way to stack more frosting onto the cupcake tops. Only cakes have the interlayer frosting, as well as the considerable frosting walls along the rounded slice edge.

So, if you want twice as much frosting, choose cake. If you want less, choose cupcakes.

And if you want 24 cupcakes, buy two boxes.