There are two kinds of people, the ones who know the difference between cupcakes and muffins and the others who don’t. If you belong to the former group, well congratulations you are all set, however, if you belong to the latter half of the section, who use the terms muffin and cupcakes interchangeably, then here is your chance at redemption!
You may recognise muffins from cupcakes based on their appearance, but that’s not enough. The major differences between the two lie elsewhere and if you are a big fan of either of them or love both, or are haunted with the question ‘is a cupcake without icing a muffin’ it’s time that you know the differences.
Let’s get you started on this journey!
Some of your friends may have you believe that muffins and cupcakes are more or less the same, and you may start to wonder what is the actual difference between muffin and cupcake, but mark our words, they aren’t the same! It’s true that both muffins and cupcakes are bite-size and satisfy our cravings, but there is a massive difference between the ingredients used and the baking process.
Cupcakes by definition are mini sugary cakes with colorful scrumptious frosting topped with generous doses of sprinkles and chocolate sauces.
Ingredients used to make muffins are akin to those of cupcakes, however, muffins tend to be less sugary and more coarse. They are dome-shaped and are eaten as savories too.
Cupcake, as the name goes, is a smaller version of the cake, which means the ingredients contain eggs, flour, milk, and high amounts of sugar and fats such as butter. This is separate from the ingredients used in the frosting.
Muffins are made from more wholesome ingredients like healthy flour alternatives and vegetable oil instead of butter. The batter includes a dash of seeds and nuts as fillers. Even though, not all muffins are considered healthy, some still contain less sugar than cupcakes.
If you still, for the life of you, cannot figure out the difference between cupcake and muffin and still think it’s a cupcake vs muffin battle, let’s give it another shot.
One of the major differentiators is the batter and the baking process. Cupcakes are mostly mixed using the caking method and in a single bowl, where butter and sugar are mixed first to get a smooth texture. The eggs, milk and flour are added subsequently and beaten continuously to get a lump-free and fluffy batter. This also leaves cupcakes with tighter crumbs than muffins.
Muffins are made using the popular muffin method, where wet and dry ingredients are kept in separate bowls, then the wet ingredients are poured over the dry ones (not the other way round!) to avoid gluten development. Both the ingredients are beaten for a short duration, unlike in the case of cupcakes to get coarse crumbs. Muffins are also eaten as savoury items and they may include cheese, veggies, onions etc.
Cupcakes come with a generous dose of fillings such as chocolates, fruit, cream cheese, jams etc and are topped with colourful frosting and toppings.
Muffins are loaded with dry fruits, seeds, nuts, in their savoury version may include veggies and cheese too.
Cupcakes are beaten for a long time to eliminate lumps and give them a smooth cake-like texture. The crumbs are softer and closely bound together.
Muffins on the other hand are slightly hard and crispy and coarse in texture too. Some of them may include more fillings than cupcakes.
Cupcakes are served cold, or at room temperature, but Muffins can be served hot or cold depending on where it is sweet or savoury.
There is no hard and fast rule about the size of your cupcakes or muffins, it honestly depends on what works for you. When talking about shape, cupcakes are slightly on the flatter side to make room for delicious creamy frosting whereas muffins are made to rise to resemble the dome shape. Use good quality muffin pans to make the best muffins at home.
A good cup of coffee and muffins is usually a great breakfast combination (if you are looking for breakfast ideas English muffins are a healthy option too!). However, if you choose to start and end your day with cupcakes, well who’s to say no to that! (Just don’t end up with a sugar rush).
In conclusion, cupcakes and muffins are different when it comes to ingredients and the making process, however, they are never really at a war with each other, it’s never muffin vs cupcake! You could be a fan of both or neither, it’s really up to you! But the next time someone tells you that a muffin is a cupcake without frosting or asks if; ‘are muffins cake’? We are sure you are well equipped to take on (and win) the debate!
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