What’s The Difference? Cupcake vs. Muffin

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

It’s an age-old debate, and one that was stirred up for us again in last week’s post on over-the-top brunch muffins. Once you start loading muffins with things like chocolate and topping them with sugary glazes, it starts getting hard to distinguish it from a cupcake! Where do you draw the line between muffins and cupcakes?

As we mentioned in the post last week, we love a good over-the-top muffin. But to be honest with you, we’d probably nudge it over into the cupcake side of the spectrum.

To us, a muffin is still something that’s relatively healthy. It’s not too sweet, is perhaps made with whole wheat flour, and is more likely to be loaded with fruit than candy. A muffin can also be savory instead of sweet. The texture is usually dryer and slightly denser than their cupcake cousins.

Cupcakes are, well, miniature cakes. They’re sweet by definition, coming in flavors like vanilla, chocolate, and red velvet. A cupcake is tender and rich with eggs and butter. They’re a dessert item, not an everyday breakfast food. And cupcakes always have frosting.

For us, that’s actually the real defining feature: frosting. A drizzle of glaze is one thing, but once you put frosting on a muffin, it’s no longer a muffin in our mind. Hey, you have to draw the line somewhere!

How do you distinguish a cupcake and a muffin? Where do you draw the line?

(Image: Flickr member moriza licensed under Creative Commons)