Cupcake Vs. Muffin: Is There a Difference?
Most of us love to tuck into a mouth-watering muffin or cupcakes at any time of the year. They often look so delicious and tempting to eat that they do not last for long. However, not all of us know what the actual difference between a muffin and cupcakes is. The answer can depend on many things such as the amount of frosting that is used on them and even time of the day that you find yourself eating them. Most people have trouble telling the difference between a muffin and a cupcake, and even pastry chefs have divided opinions on this, so below are the real differences between muffin vs cupcake.
What is a Muffin?
A muffin generally refers to a single baked quick bread cake which can be made to be either sweet or savory. The word muffin stems from the French word for soft bread and they are usually heavy and substantial. They are often made using baking powder and will not normally use yeast. There are various types of muffins such as English muffins and American muffins.
What is a Cupcake?
A cupcake is generally a sweet baked cake which is made by creaming together sugar and butter to produce a fluffy soft batter. A cupcake definition needs to mention that they are made from similar ingredients to those used when making other forms of cake-like muffins. Cake molds of various shapes and sizes are used to give you any type of cupcake that you choose. Cupcakes are very often used for special celebrations so they are frosted and decorated to look spectacular.
Differences in Ingredients
Cupcakes are made from sugar, flour, eggs and milk with a leavening agent also being used such as yeast. It is true that for both cupcakes and muffins you will need all of these ingredients but in different amounts. For cupcakes you will need to be using cake flour and butter. The cupcake will then also need to be frosted using butter cream.
Muffins on the other hand use ingredients in greater proportions. There will need to be more flour and less sugar, if any, in a muffin mixture. When making muffins it is possible to replace butter with any type of liquid oil to use as the fat. Most cupcakes require two or more eggs while muffins do not need to be as light. Additional ingredients such as fruit and berries or savory ingredients can be added which often means that the texture of a muffin is much heavier than a cupcake.
Consistency of Muffins vs Cupcakes
Cupcakes should be much lighter than muffins regarding their bready base. This lightness comes from the way sugar and butter is creamed together, and the fact that the cupcake mixture will be beaten for a much longer time in comparison to when making a muffin batter in order to reach a softer texture. Of course, the frosting that you add to your cupcake will give the final cake a bit more weight. While both cupcakes and muffins are made using similar ingredients, the consistency and texture of muffins should be slightly denser. This is due to the fact that the batter will not be as highly beaten as it needs to be when making cupcakes. Muffin batter should be beaten for only a short time and so will still be slightly lumpy. This creates a comparatively denser baked good.
Baking Cupcakes and Muffins
The amount or quantity of batter that you pour into your baking pans will be different for muffin vs cupcakes. Although you can use the same baking equipment to bake them, there is a difference in how you line them. When making cupcakes, you have to ensure that you do not overfill the baking liners, which is the opposite for your muffin mix. Overfilling with muffin mixture allows you to get a crispy muffin edge.
The shape of the pan is more important for muffins if you wish to give them their traditional shape. Some muffin pans have a lip and the case will be shallow to allow a large top to be created when baking so that it will be plump and round.
Filling and Frosting
Cupcakes are usually eaten as a healthy snack, but the fact is that muffins can be savory so often are. A breakfast muffin can be made with cheese, bacon, veggies and of course fruits. But a muffin is more versatile than that and can be eaten at any other time of the day and can include fillings that are only limited by your imagination so it can contain nuts, spices, chocolate or fruits as there is no need to consider using a frosting. However, muffins can have a thin light flavorsome glaze or a lightly sugared coating. A sweet cupcake is always topped off with a thick creamy frosting. Cupcakes are always sweet and usually they do not have a filling because the batter used will be sweet. A cupcake without the frosting will not make it a muffin they are two different types of cake.
Muffins are thought to be a healthier choice as they can contain fruits and vegetables and you can cut the sugar content right out. This is why they are acceptable to be eaten a little more often than you would be eating a cupcake. But it is important to take into account that they are not a healthier choice for the whole time. Both muffins and cupcakes need to be eaten as part of a balanced diet. With cupcakes usually being highly decorated and only bought out for special occasions this is easy to do.
Many of us regularly enjoy both muffins and cupcakes even if sometimes it can be difficult to notice the differences between them. Ultimately you can make both muffins and cupcakes with virtually all the same ingredients at home. However, there are some differences that you need to keep in mind if you are making your own at home if you wish to make the best muffins and cupcakes.
- The Real Difference Between a Cupcake and a Muffin – Spoon University