The Cupcake vs. Muffin Debate

This weekend, I made some cupcakes, which I will post on later, but, it got the wheels in my head spinning out of control over what the difference is between a muffin and a cupcake.  As I was searching the internet for pumpkin and apple flavored things, I came across many muffins and cupcakes and asked myself, what is the difference?  Why can I eat one for breakfast, and other for dessert?  They are both little individual cups of deliciousness.  Both have sugar, both can have fruit or nuts or chocolate.  So, I searched the internet for answers and I came across this post on that summarizes their search across the internet with the best answers from bloggers across the blogosphere to the age-old Cupcake vs. Muffin Debate.

The simple difference that I can see is cupcakes have frosting, and sometimes filling, and muffins don’t.  But, is there more to it?  Here is what the internet says:

  1. “Cupcakes have the butter and sugar creamed together before adding other ingredients one at a time. Muffins throw everything in at once and mix together.”
  2. “Muffins are much denser than cupcakes which are light and airy.”
  3. “Cupcakes are cakes while muffins are quick breads. Any recipe for a cake can be used to make cupcakes; the same is not true for muffins.”
  4. “The preparation is different: For muffins, the dry and wet ingredients are mixed separately and then put together. Cupcakes are usually made with the creaming method.”
  5. “…Muffins have oil (and usually fruit) while cupcakes have sugar and butter.”
  6. “Here’s the real answer; when your wife was younger, you called her cupcake. When she got older with a double chin, you called her muffin. In short, muffins tend to overflow the cup shape, sort of like a double chin.”

Clearly, #6 is the correct answer, but I think that at the end of the day, there is a very fine line between the two.  But, if you really want an answer, a cupcake is a cake and a muffin is quick bread.  And I still am holding on to the distinction that cupcakes have frosting and muffins don’t.  You can say what you want, but, if you ask me, if you plop some frosting on top, it becomes a cupcake.  The end.

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