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Food Fight: Cupcakes vs. Muffins


“Isn’t a cupcake just a muffin with frosting?” It’s a question pondered all too often, and if you’re reading this right now, you’ve probably asked it as well. Or, you just want to watch your faves go head to head in the ultimate smackdown: cupcakes vs. muffins! Okay, maybe it’s not the ultimate smackdown, but it’s definitely a delicious one. Let the games begin.




No matter what that stubborn friend of yours says (“I like cupcakes but I don’t like cake!”), cupcakes are ultimately miniature versions of whole cakes. Hence the name, cupcake.

They’re made with the same ingredients as your everyday cake, bread-based, and are topped with a layer of sweet frosting. And if you’re lucky, there’s filling inside!


Also bread-based, they’re made with the same ingredients as your typical sweet loaf. Often filled with fruits, seeds, nuts, and other goodies, you’ll definitely know you’re eating a muffin rather than a cupcake, as they’re considered the more “healthful” alternative.




Cupcakes are a lot lighter than muffins when it comes to the bread, but when it comes to the bread only. The lightness is a result of the baking difference between muffins and cupcakes: in cupcakes, the butter is creamed with sugar, and the batter is beaten for a longer time than that of a muffin to achieve a fluffier texture.


Even though both cupcakes and muffins use the same ingredients (butter, milk eggs, sugar flour), the texture and consistency of muffins are a bit denser since the batter isn’t beaten as extensively as a cupcakes’.




Cupcakes are a beloved food and pop culture icon, having a strong presence across several media platforms. It’s probable you can name at least three different cupcake-centric reality TV shows off the top of your head. You’re also more likely to double-tap a crazy colorful cupcake on your favorite food porn Instagram handle than a muffin. 


The “healthy” thing. It’s true, a lot of muffins aren’t as healthful as we naively assume, but they’re still a lot better for us than any cupcake would be. Muffins are more likely to be made with more wholesome ingredients such as a whole wheat, oat, or nut flour. There are also a lot more gluten, soy, dairy, and egg free options readily available when it comes to muffin recipes.




The “not healthy” thing. Cupcakes can be very taxing when it comes to the effect they have on the glycemic index. If you’re a baker, it’s insanely easy to overdo the top portion of a cupcake with frosting, candy, sprinkles, drizzle – you name it – in the name of creating a fantastically memorable treat. If you’re a consumer, it’s insanely easy to choose the most decadent cupcake at a bakery in the name of making your tastebuds happy (although, you and/or your tum might feel guilty afterward).


Aah, how to put this…muffins aren’t very…“hip.” Honestly, when’s the last time you laid eyes on a jaw-dropping muffin? You can only go so far when it comes to the toppings and glazes that grace the peak of a muffin, because you’d essentially be crossing over into cupcake territory.


WINNER: Cupcakes


This was a no-brainer. Cupcakes and muffins are both delicious in their own right, and they can surely coexist peacefully and amicably, but if someone tries to tell you a muffin is just a cupcake without frosting, please remove them from your life immediately. Or, simply hand them one of each and demand they eat those words (literally), right then and there. You don’t need that kind of nonsense in your life.

By Molly Shannon

Molly is the original krill queen and co-founder of the Boba Belt. She fancies a mean ramen burger, and a cold glass of nonfat milk.

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