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Cupcakes vs Muffins

If you live in India (especially any city which is not a Tier 1 city), you didn’t have cupcakes or muffins growing up, did you? Naturally, you’re here because you don’t know what’s the difference between the two. Trust me, I didn’t either. I though muffins = cupcake – frosting. But that was a long time ago. Ever since I started selling, and more importantly teaching, I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, “THEY ARE NOT THE SAME!” My biggest pet peeve? People selling cupcake batter baked into medium sized “cupcakes” and selling them without frosting as “muffins”. It’s not really their fault though, we’re not really well exposed to either of them. On top of that, baking supply stores in India usually just sell all liners as cupcake liners- big, medium or small. Heck, we don’t even get good big sized muffin pans, all we get are oddly sized pans which are too big for cupcakes and too small for muffins. Anyway, rant’s over, time for the real deal. Here we go- Okay, Really, What Is the Difference Between a Cupcake and a Muffin?

Ratio of ingredients –

Both usually contain flour, eggs, butter, sugar and milk. However, muffins sometimes replace all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour, oat flour or even various nut flours. Muffins can also be filled with a variety of tasty mix-ins, such as dried fruits, nuts or chocolate chips. Cupcakes might have funfetti/ crushed cookies and other flavouring extracts though. In addition, muffins may replace butter with a liquid form of fat, such as vegetable oil. Muffins also often have buttermilk as a base. The amount of butter and sugar is higher in cupcakes than in muffins.

Ratio of Ingredients Differs

Batter consistency-

The mixing process and the consistency of the batter differentiates cupcakes and muffins. Cupcakes are made by creaming the butter and sugar together to create a smooth, fluffy batter. Cupcake batter is beaten significantly longer than muffin batter; this creates a uniformness of air bubbles throughout the cupcake. Muffin batter, on the other hand, is beaten briefly and remains relatively lumpy and much thicker. This makes for a more dense baked good.

Size and appearance –

Cupcakes come in different sizes, so do muffins. Generally speaking, muffins are larger. (We all know where I stand about mini cupcakes, you mean mini version of cupcakes, which are already a smaller version of cakes? Honestly? Where does it end with you people? *Insert Kevin Malone’s face from The Office)

Muffins tend to dome more and rise higher compared to cupcakes, where we prefer a flat top to make icing easier.


Cupcakes& Muffins for Different Occasions

Occasion –

a cupcake is a small cake and a muffin is a small quick bread. Cupcakes are small cakes that feature a topping of whipped icing sugar, a candy garnish, or another decorative element. A muffin is an individual-sized quick bread that rises using baking soda or baking powder instead of yeast. If you can’t pour the the batter into a 8-in. circular pan and make a birthday cake, then you have yourself a muffin. So while cupcakes are for celebrations and gifting, muffins are for breakfasts and snacks ( I think of them as a treat-ish breakfast, don’t attack me).


Cupcakes are topped with creamy, delicious frosting. Instead, muffins may have a sugared top or a very thin glaze. Usually, the fillings inside the muffins add enough excitement to the baked good, so there might not be anything on top.

So that sort of explains what they say, right? Cupcakes are muffins that believed in miracles!

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August 23, 2022

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