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More calorie surprises - "mini indulgence" red velvet cupcake at Claimjumpers

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Old 07-21-2010, 11:07 AM   #1
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Default More calorie surprises - "mini indulgence" red velvet cupcake at Claimjumpers

So, had a bit of an eye opener last night at Claimjumpers. I know it's not some bastion of healthy eating (I had no real illusions), but they've recently started putting their nutritional info on the table (I am in San Diego - maybe it's a CA thing?)

First off - their menu, it's just a calorie nightmare. I was pleasantly surprised to see my usual order (small portion of the BBQ chicken salad without dressing and cheese bread) was only 350 calories. With one bite of cheese bread, and the tine method for dressing, I am probably well under 500 calories for a restaurant meal - winner! And it's tasty.

BUT - I was sad and horrified to see what I thought was a VERY REASONABLY sized dessert - the mini indulgence red velvet cupcake was 800 calories. It is a small cupcake. In my head, I figured it was 300-400 calories (comparing it to a big muffin from Starbucks). I also mentally compared it to the little desserts from PF Chang's (they've had their nutritional info posted for years) and are around 200 calories.

I didn't order one last night (and never will again), but I have ordered them in the past thinking - oh it's so small, I had a small dinner, this will fit into my calorie range for the day.

800 calories for a small cupcake, my god.

Claim Jumper Red Velvet Cupcake
PER SERVING (1 cupcake): 796 calories, ~35.5g fat, 537mg sodium, 112g carbs, 1g fiber, sugars n.a., 7g protein

It is no wonder we have an obesity epidemic. There are a LOT of people who HATE to cook and they go out to eat 2-3 nights (or more a week). Who would think a chicken pot pie would have 2K+ calories or a little "mini indulgence" cupcake would have 800 calories? If you aren't vigilant and careful at EVERY RESTAURANT MEAL you can easily eat so much.

And I know, it's everyone's responsibility to be informed, but some places just refused to post their info until recently. How can any person guess that a little cupcake could be 800 calories? I thought I was pretty calorie-savvy, but it was a shocker to me.
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:14 AM   #2
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You know, having been (mentally and ineffectually) counting calories since I was about five, I don't often find myself surprised and I am usually pretty spot on with guessing, even in restaurants where I assume everything is on the high side but that TOTALLY would've gotten by me. I never would have guessed 800 calories for a SMALL cupcake. YIKES. You're right, this is why we're fat. Even people who are pretty well-versed in calorie counting can be fooled.
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:18 AM   #3
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I bet half of that is in the icing--cream cheese + sugar is just killer. Icing is like lard or butter--no one would pile 2 inches of butter on a piece of bread, but 2 inches of icing on a cupcake seems normal.
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:30 AM   #4
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That's crazy!
Cupcakes are one of my weaknesses these days, I just love making and decorating them and my chocolate orange frosting is the stuff cravings are made of. Even my massive muffin-sized ones I wouldn't have estimated at that high.
That said, I'm really impressed at restaurants printing nutritional info in the menus. I've never seen it done (I'm UK rather than US) but I know if I was at a restaurant that did, I'd probably be very shocked and definitely make a healthier choice if I could.
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:31 AM   #5
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Beware the cupcakes! Frosting is a killer.

It's too bad because, while I have never remotely been a fan of cake, I do love cupcakes. But I try to eat only the relatively healthy ones I make for myself.
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:37 AM   #6
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It doesn't seem fair that a restaurant would serve a dessert with that many calories. It would only take a few tweaks of a recipe to make it lower in fat and calories. Why should a small sized dessert have more calories than the entree?

I wish they posted calories on menus in Philadelphia. I'm starting to wonder what I really ate for dinner last night.
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:45 AM   #7
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Paradise Bakery & Cafe has a brownie like that. Their cream cheese brownie has almost 1,200 calories. That is more calories than is in a piece of Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory. It's just unconscionable that they would create a dessert like that.
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:46 AM   #8
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Glory, I wouldn't have guessed 800 calories for the cupcake either. But it reinforces my rule of thumb that ANY food in a restaurant is double the calories that it would be prepared at home. Including steamed broccoli and chicken breast!

Making restaurant meals a once-in-a-while treat instead of a weekly or semi-weekly occurrence (or OMG, daily) is one of the most significant things we can do to help our weight loss and maintenance. As you point out, it's so, so hard to make reasonable choices in most restaurants. Even armed with nutritional information, a good eye for portions, and the lifetime experience of calorie counting, we still end up eating more calories than we would at home.
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:48 AM   #9
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I might have guessed 800 cals for that, but only because there is a local bakery near me that makes mini red velvet cupcakes that are full of icing and are around 800 cals. When I first saw their nutritional info I was absolutely stunned.

It is the icing and the butter, there is not much way to quantify that from the outside unless you know everything that went into it. Even those of us who are pretty good at the calorie counting thing are surprised.

I do like restaurants posting nutritional information and ingredients. It keeps all of accountable.
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Old 07-21-2010, 12:00 PM   #10
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Off topic, but I think it is so great that they put calories on menus in California. I hope that soon becomes the standard across North America.
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Old 07-21-2010, 12:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motivated chickie View Post
It doesn't seem fair that a restaurant would serve a dessert with that many calories. It would only take a few tweaks of a recipe to make it lower in fat and calories. Why should a small sized dessert have more calories than the entree?

I wish they posted calories on menus in Philadelphia. I'm starting to wonder what I really ate for dinner last night.
Oh heavens - this was a "good" choice for Claimjumpers. Do they have them in Philadelphia? The chain is known for outrageous portion sizes. They have desserts with 2000 calories (meant to be shared, but still).

When I worked at Microsoft, we would take out of country visitors to Claimjumpers, as an illustration of American excess. The menu is HUGE, the portions are HUGE, it's almost satire.

And the reasons restaurants do it - because they could get away with it. The only thing restaurants care about is getting you to come back, they deliberately make their food far tastier than anything you can make at home because they use more fat, salt, sugar, butter than any normal person would EVER use at home.

They got away with it, because the info wasn't widely available. Who would guess, who would know?

I think that the posting of nutritional info WILL CREATE a shift. Even a non dieter might balk at a 2000 calorie pot pie, once they KNOW how many calories it has.
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Old 07-21-2010, 12:19 PM   #12
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Hmmmmm....makes me wonder now about the little cupcakes I bake my boyfriend every year for his birthday. I got an awesome recipe for carrot cake that is the best I have ever tasted. But the frosting called for a pound of powdered sugar, like a stick of butter and a whole package of cream cheese. Plus the cakes themselves had a lot of oil.

I mean, I knew that this things were sinful, but I guess I just never thought that each would be 800 calories. Considering I would eat two or three of those a day....OOPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Funny how things change when you become aware.
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Old 07-21-2010, 12:21 PM   #13
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that's crazy. I need to regularly check out the menus before I go out and not even look at the menu while there. It's just not worth ruining your whole day for one little indulgence! I'm getting used to not eating out as much, and it's really not that bad!
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Old 07-21-2010, 12:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glory87 View Post
800 calories for a small cupcake.

Claim Jumper Red Velvet Cupcake
PER SERVING (1 cupcake): 796 calories, ~35.5g fat, 537mg sodium, 112g carbs, 1g fiber, sugars n.a., 7g protein
holy mackerel!

i love cupcakes. huge weakness. in fact, i have to get out of this thread asap. even reading about them can make me twitchy. strong sugar addict/binge addict. still too early to talk about these things at length.

but before i go, i have been thinking that it would be so wonderful if someone who was well funded (since it would be potentially a big market risk) would try to open restaurants (that would be in lots of places, not just in certain large cities) that used whole, natural, organic when possible, ingredients, with reasonable nutrition profiles (calories, fat, sodium, carbs, and have vitamins and nutrients, etc) and posted all their information.

it may be more expensive to do this, and might be more expensive to eat there, but it would be worth it. and if over time it took off then the demand might actually lower the prices eventually.

that would be a really good thing.
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Old 07-21-2010, 01:29 PM   #15
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As far as the cream cheese goes, I don't know about in the states, but here there's light cream cheese and even extra light cream cheese in some shops. I always buy the light stuff at least, and that's what goes in to any cheesecake or frostings or main meals. If there's cream cheese in the frosting, I never add butter, just sugar and flavour or colours.
And my carrot cake is apparently better than the local baker's, which we've bought for years!
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