The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Difference between muffins and cupcakes?

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cheesehappens's picture
cheesehappens

Difference between muffins and cupcakes?

Batter essentially the same or different?

KansasGirlStuckInMaryland's picture
KansasGirlStuck...

Different.  Cupcakes are mini-cakes and are generally frosted/iced.  Muffins are more of a sweet bread.

cheesehappens's picture
cheesehappens

I was asked that question today and was kind of stumped, even though I owned a bakery specializing in cakes, cookies, etc., for 13 years. I remember substituting one type of recipe for the other, but the person asking the question I think is looking for the answer in the way of a formula I'm unable to provide. Maybe it is just the frosting :)

proth5's picture
proth5

for "old style" muffins and cupcakes.  However, recently days muffins have become more like cupcakes and the distinction has blurred.


The muffin originally was much less sweet and much less enriched than a cupcake.  Also, the batter of a muffing was stirred as little as possible so that there could still be lumbs in the batter so as to not develop gluten, whereas a cupcake would be made with cake flour and blended thoroughly.  Muffins also didn't use the creaming method for preparing the fat - where a cupcake would always have butter and sugar creamed until fluffy.


The shape was also different - a muffin would have a high, domed top where a cupcake would have a much more gently rounded top to accomodate frosting.


I don't have access right now to my old recipes that would more clearly show the difference in the baker's percents and methods.  Sorry.


As I said, though, the muffin that we see today has been changed to make it more cakelike, so the confusion is ineveitable...


Hope this helps.

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

Proth5, that's exactly what I do.  I make something between cupcakes and muffins - something that is not very sweet that has a very light and fluffy texture and I call them cuffins.  I use 3/4 of wheat flour and 1/4 of rice flour for the base.   Then use a lot of chopped fruits to add sweetness to the batter.  I don't frost my cuffins but use a little bit of streusel of margarine/cinnamon/sugar to creat a crispy top, to make it more kids friendly.  I made coconut-apple cuffins today for the staff at little man's school.  Everyone loved it.


Al



cgmeyer2's picture
cgmeyer2

these sound great. i'd love to make them for my grandsons. would you please share the recipe?

thanks, claudia

Nim's picture
Nim

Al, that sounds really good, I have never used rice flour in cakes or muffins. Would you mind sharing the recipe?


 


Nim

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

Cladudia and Nim, I don't really have a recipe.  I am very grandma-like when it comes to cooking, a pinch of this and a drop of that.  Let me see if I can recall what I did with my coconut-apple cuffins... these are all "guestimated" so please play it until you get the desired texture and sweetness that you enjoy.


2 Cup of flour (I used 1-1/2 C of WW and unbleached flour mix; plus 1/2 C regular rice flour)


2 T sugar (if you don't do the streusel or you like your cuffins sweet you may want to increase the amount)


3 tsp baking powder


1/2 tsp salt


Handful of raisins


Handful of chopped walnuts/flax seeds


1 apple, peeled and chopped


1/2 - 1 C freshly grated coconut (or dissicated)


3/4 - 1 C milk or coconut milk


1 tsp coconut extract (or vanilla if you don't have any coconut extract)


1 large egg


1/3 C oil (I used coconut oil)


For the streusel:


1/4 C of grated coconut


1/4 C of cane sugar


Preheat oven to 400F.  Make the streusel by tossing grated coconut and sugar together; set aside.


Mix all flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, raisins, nuts/seed in a large bowl.  Add chopped apples and grated coconut, mix very well.


In medium bowl, beat together egg, oil, extract, and milk.  Add wet ingredients into large bowl of dry ingredients and fold until just moist.  If too dry add a bit oil or milk.  If too wet, sprinkle a handful of rolled oats and fold again until the right consistency.  Spoon batter into a lined or greased muffin tin, fill to 3/4 full for each cup. 


Sprinkle prepared streusel on top of each cup, press coconut down gently.  Bake in oven at 400F for 18 - 20 min.  Use tooth pick test to check for doneness. 


This should give you 12 cuffins. 


Don't be afraid to use different fruits, nuts or seeds.  The purpose of rice flour in this recipe is to create a more cake-like texture.  I find kids like them this way better. 


Have fun and enjoy!


Al


 


cgmeyer2's picture
cgmeyer2

thanks for the recipe. i'll try it & play w/ it. it sounds great


take care, claudia

Nim's picture
Nim

I am definitely trying this...thanks a lot!

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

Have fun and let us know.  Would love to see some pictures if you enjoy them.  Al


HighCarbDiet's picture
HighCarbDiet

Strictly answering your question of whether the batters are the same or different, the answer is "different". 


Muffins are made using the "muffin method".  Essentially, the dry ingredients are mixed in one bowl and the wet ingredients are mixed in another bowl.  The wet is then added to the dry and stirred enough to just combine.


Cupcakes are made using one of the "cake methods" which is generally determined by the kind of fat being used.  Cakes made with butter use the "creaming method".  Cakes made with oil use the "one bowl" or "all-in-one" method.


 

copyu's picture
copyu

A sausage-egg "McMuffin" uses a proper English muffin as a hamburger roll.


A typical 'American' muffin is just a large cupcake made with a heavy European-style cake batter (blueberries or chocolate frostings are options...) 


You could google 'girdle-cakes' or 'griddle-cakes' for more information on what 'muffin' means...THEN you'll enter the whole world of the differences between 'crumpets', 'muffins', 'drop scones', 'Scots cakes', 'pikelets' and so on. It's a mean world out there, where "TERMINOLOGY" is involved.


Cheers,


copyu