Cupcake vs. Muffins


A few days ago, my friend Ankit  asked me a question. What is the difference between a cupcake and a muffin? I told him two distinguishing factors between them. Beyond that, I couldn’t really comment. We discussed about this for a while and it made me realize that people need to know the basic difference between the two.

Everybody talks about how they LOVE cupcakes. There has been a sudden boom in the cupcake market (at least in Bombay). From Le Patisserie to LSD, there are a zillion places selling cupcakes. Hell, even I make cupcakes! So, I have taken upon myself this task of telling you guys what are the difference between cupcakes and muffins.


A cupcake as the name suggests is a mini cake. Think of it as a regular sponge cake, but made in small cups. The batter consists of eggs, butter, sugar and flour. The method involved in making cupcakes is called a creaming method. It makes the cake light, rich, sweet and tender. They are made in such a way that they turn out lighter and airier, somewhat like a nice carrier for icing. You can flavor the cake with essence. The idea is to keep it simple. But, I have come across a variety of stuffed cupcakes. These little babies are stuffed with decadent things like peanut butter, lemon meringue, mousse and so on. Plain or stuffed, cupcakes are always frosted. Plain icing, cream cheese or butter cream, the choice is yours. There are endless possibilities. The final product is a delicious little cake with delicate (or rich) frosting.


Let’s talk about the not so small muffin. If people tell you that muffins are healthier than cupcakes, they are lying. Yes, you can make them healthier by adding or removing things in the ingredients. No, they are not ALWAYS a healthy option. Muffins are more like bread or rather quick bread. They are usually made with oil instead of egg. This gives it a more bready consistency. However, I have come across recipes which contain eggs. While making these babies, the muffin method is used. Muffins can be sweet or savoury and without a frosting. Since grains or chocolate chips are added to the batter, they make the muffin heavier and denser than cupcakes. They say these things taste better with coffee. Muffins are heavier and form a meal of sorts. Heard of breakfast muffins? Muffins cannot be baked in a cake tin because the texture is not what you would want in a cake. It will be very sad to bake a muffin cake for a birthday, no?

I hope this clarifies the confusion. If there are any other distinguishing factors that you can think of, do share it in the comments below. Happy baking!


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Very good discussion of the differences between a muffin and a cupcake. I’m glad my discussion of the mixing methods were useful to you. I don’t know about you, but although I love a good cupcake, I am about OVER them–they’re everywhere here, just like in Bombay, apparently! And you’re right, whoever said a muffin was a healthier choice is not necessarily telling the truth! lol

    1. Anisha says:

      I’m glad you liked my post. Your methods were really helpful. 🙂

      1. Glad to hear it; it’s why I do those sorts of posts:) Seems like so many folks are focused on what to make when I think they should focus more on how to make things. 🙂

  2. CS says:

    Would any day prefer a well made muffin to a cupcake, which I feel are overrated.

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