Aren’t Muffins Just Cupcakes Without Frosting? Blogathon, the Food Science Edition

Muffins and cupcakes are both dome shaped pastries that are a healthy part of a balanced breakfast. No? That’s just muffins? Not in my apartment. Anyway, they kind of seem like the same thing. But are they? Let us examine the ingredient lists:

Chocolate Chip Muffins:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Chocolate Chip Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk

What we’re looking to compare here are the important structural elements, not the flavor elements, so that’s fat and flour here. The cupcakes have a .444 ratio of fat to flour, and the muffins have a .1666 ratio. That difference gives the cupcakes a much tighter, smaller crumb, making the texture finer, making the cake much more tender. Also, because the cupcakes are made with the creaming method and the flour is added at the last minute, there is not much time for gluten to form, making them more tender, whereas the muffins need gluten to give them their heartier texture.

Conclusion: Muffins are not the same as cupcakes.

This has been Post the Nineteenth of Blogathon

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