NO MORE CONFUSION! True Differences Between Cupcakes and Muffins (With Recipes)

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We all love muffins and cupcakes, even if they make us a little more “fluffy.” But who can resist the small bits of joy? However, there is an old issue regarding these two bakery wonders.

Do you know the difference between muffins and cupcakes? You may think you do, so let me ask you something: which one can you eat for breakfast? I got you here!

Most people can’t tell the difference between the two, and even bakers have shared opinions on the subject, so here are the true differences between cupcakes and muffins.

The Ingredients

The first clue one gets when distinguishing the difference is in the recipe itself. Cupcakes, which, by the way, give you a strong clue by their very name — if you bake a cake in a cup, what do you get? A cupcake! Back to the recipe, for both cupcakes and muffins you need flour, butter, eggs, milk, and sugar. But for cupcakes, you are going to use cake flour and butter. Meanwhile, muffins can be made with all-purpose flour or whole-wheat flour and instead of butter, you will use vegetable oil.

The preparation method is another difference: for muffins you can mix all the ingredients together and lightly stir them, which will result in a dense batter. For cupcakes, you need to whisk the ingredients a lot more and add them one by one, to obtain a smooth batter. There are no lumps in this batter, which is also fluffy — another difference from the lumpy, solid muffin batter.

There are also bakers who rely on a general recipe for muffins, and when the amount of ingredients doubles or increases significantly — especially the fat, egg, and sugar ratio — they know they have a cupcake recipe.

Filling and Frosting

There is a strong reason why muffins are acceptable as breakfast, but cupcakes are not: muffins contain less sugar and can be sweet or savory. A muffin can be made with bacon, vegetables, and fruits, and it can contain a filling of nuts, chocolate or fruits. There is no frosting on the muffin.

A cupcake is a cake you can eat in one bite, and it’s always topped with frosting. All cupcakes are sweet, and they never have a filling, as the batter is already sweet enough to do the trick.

One misconception is that if you remove the frosting from a cupcake, it will turn into a muffin. This is simply a myth! Due to all the differences in the consistency, you can’t turn a cupcake into a muffin, nor the other way round. You can also think of it like this: if you pour the batter in a cake tray would you be able to make a cake? If the answer is yes, you have a cupcake; if the answer is no, you have a muffin.

How You Eat Them Also Matters

As cupcakes are miniature cakes and muffins are miniature quick breads, cupcakes are eaten cold. Muffins, on the other hand, can be eaten both hot or cold, depending how you like them.

The takeaway: muffins are small bread-like eats and cupcakes are small one-bite cakes.

If you are still in doubt, here are some recipes for muffins and cupcakes to convince you. Bake them all, enjoy them, and then you will learn the difference!

Delicious Cupcake Recipes to Soothe Your Sweet Tooth

Drunk Chocolate Kahlua Cupcakes

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Chocolate Cupcakes With Raspberry Frosting

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Earl Gray Cupcakes

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Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcake

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Double Chocolate Banana Cupcake

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Sweet and Savory Muffin Recipes to Eat at Breakfast or Brunch

Zucchini and Bacon Muffins

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Peach Yoghurt Muffin

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Chocolate Cherry Muffin

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Orange Hazelnut Muffin

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Feta and Spinach Muffin

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