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Food Fight: Cupcakes vs. Muffins

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.

 

TASTE

Cupcakes:

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!

Muffins:

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.

 

CONSISTENCY

Cupcakes:

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.

Muffins:

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’.

 

WHAT’S WORKING FOR YOU

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. 

Muffins:

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.

 

WHAT’S WORKING AGAINST YOU

Cupcakes:

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).

Muffins:

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

mocha-coconut-frapp-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.

Categories
Cravings

Cinnamon Roll Mardi Gras Cupcakes Are The Perfect Fat Tuesday Snack

Mardis Gras King Cupcakes

It's #FATTUESDAY aka #MardisGras, and what better way to celebrate than to make these easy King Cupcakes with a hidden good luck charm.

Posted by Josh Elkin on Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Today is Tuesday and that means Mardi Gras is happening tonight. Our buddy Josh Elkin is at it again, this time with a sweet entry in to his video recipe arsenal. Elkin created Mardi Gras King Cupcakes made from cinnamon rolls.

First grab a tube of pre-made cinnamon roll dough. Take two pieces and squeeze them together into one ball of dough which you’ll separate into three balls. Butter up a muffin tray and add three balls to each slot.

At this point, you can hide a baby trinket inside one of the muffins for good luck.

Throw your tray in the oven for about 15 minutes at 375 degrees. While the cinnamon roll muffins are baking, head up your frosting/glaze for about 15 seconds.

When your Mardi Gras cupcakes are ready, drizzle a generous amount of glaze on top of each one. Then add your sprinkles.

Just don’t forget which cupcake that baby’s in. He’s a choking hazard.

Check out Elkin’s video above for the complete recipe, in detail.

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Hit-Or-Miss

Listen To This Metal Song On How To Make A Funfetti Birthday Cake

Remember Linzey Rae, the angel with the demon voice who learned us how to make shepherd’s pie? I’m gonna assume you said yes, but if you said no, HERE is a refresher. Now she’s back with a new metal song on how to make birthday cake. It is a real delight provided you like screaming. Which I do. It’s one of the few joys I have left in this life. Right up there with this scalp massager I got from a kiosk at the mall and bossing around the cats when my mom’s not home.

Written by Brittany High, IncredibleThings

Categories
Cravings

How To Make Potato Chip-stuffed Donuts

OBI-Potato-Chip-Donuts

The market for fusing things with donuts have become super saturated in the last couple years. There’s really not much else you can mix with donut batter. However, when it comes to cooking things inside a donut, it’s a whole new frontier.

One of Oh Bite It!‘s newest recipes include a potato chips cooked inside of a frosted donut.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 tubes of crescent dough or dough sheets
  • 4 cups of potato chips
  • 1 cup of vanilla frosting
  • 3″ round cookie/doughnut cutter
  • oil

OBI-Potato-Chip-Donuts-02

First divide the potato chip portions in half, crush one half, and set it aside. Roll out the dough or dough sheets and coat a layer of vanilla frosting and add a layer of the uncrushed chips. Take another piece of rolled-out dough and cover the chips with it.

Gently roll over the dough so that it evens out a bit.

OBI-Potato-Chip-Donuts-03

With the cookie cutter, start cutting out pieces of your potato chip donuts. Heat your oil up to 350 degrees and start frying them until they puff up and turn golden brown. Once they’re done cooking, set them aside to cool.

After the donuts cool down, warm up your frosting and start a nice drizzle going. Then, taking the crushed potato chips from earlier, coat the frosting in a nice layer.

Oh Bite It!, you’ve ruined our New Year’s diet with another awesome recipe.

Photos + Recipe: Oh Bite It!

Categories
Video

How to Identify 16 of America’s Most Essential Donuts [VIDEO]

Donut Cover

You’re standing in line at your local donut shop deciding what to order. No one wants to be that customer who doesn’t know the difference between a cruller and a fritter. Rather than take a stab at your donut of preference, you just play it safe and order a plain, halfheartedly eating it on the morning commute.

In honor of National Doughnut Day, Foodbeast put together a video of some of the most common donuts you’ll find in shops and what they’re called. We know your morning minutes are precious, so we definitely don’t want you wasting them on donut confusion. Sit back and enjoy some intimate shots of donut porn. Hopefully not on an empty stomach:

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Cake Donut

IMG_9724

SHAPE: Round, ring donut

NOTES: Dense, Muffin-type donuts called “Sinkers”.

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Crullers

IMG_9755

SHAPE: Twisted, ridged surface

NOTES: Pronounced “Kruhl-er”. It’s name is derived from Dutch Krullen, or “to curl”.

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Fritters

IMG_9767

SHAPE: Lumpy, circular.

NOTES: Pan-fried cakes made with cornmeal

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Long John

IMG_9773

SHAPE: Long, bar-shaped

NOTES: Filled long johns are sold as “éclairs”.

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Bear Claw

IMG_9780

SHAPE: Rectangular with slices along one side to resemble a bear’s toes.

NOTES: While the bear claw is sometimes considered a donut, it’s common for bear claws to be almond-flavored pastries more similar to fritters in texture.

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Cake Sprinkle

IMG_9792

SHAPE: Round, ring donut

TASTE: Glazed donuts covered in confectionery sprinkles.

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Glazed

IMG_9809

SHAPE: Round, ring donut.

NOTES: Made with sugar, vanilla, salt, cold milk and water.

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Boston Cream

IMG_9819

SHAPE: Round, filled. A mini version of the Boston cream pie.

NOTES: Called a “Boston Cream” when frosted in chocolate, but called a “Bavarian Creme” when dusted with powdered sugar.

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Maple Bar

IMG_9825

SHAPE: Long, bar-shaped.

NOTES: Coated with a maple glaze. Goes great with bacon!

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Twist

IMG_9837

SHAPE: Two pieces of dough twisted together.

NOTES: Twists must be made in opposite directions for optimal texture and tension.

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Roll

IMG_9847

SHAPE: Spiral, circular.

NOTES: Rolled in a cinnamon and sugar mix.

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Chocolate Glaze

IMG_9858

SHAPE: Round, ring donut

NOTES: Glazed donut made with corn syrup, bittersweet chocolate and confectioner’s sugar.

___________

Cinnamon Crumb

IMG_9883

SHAPE: Round, ring donut

NOTES: One of the most underrated donuts. Covered in crunchy, cinnamon-sugar crumbs. Fantastic dipped in coffee.

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Powdered Sugar

IMG_9891

SHAPE: Round, filled

NOTES: Donuts covered in confectioner’s sugar or “snow sugar” that doesn’t melt.

___________

Raspberry Filled

IMG_9908

SHAPE: Round, filled

NOTES: Filled with raspberry jelly.

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Donut Holes

Donut Holes FB

SHAPE: Round balls, the center of ring donuts.

NOTES: Called “Timbits” in Canada

Categories
Recipes

How to Make Doctor Who Inspired Macarons With TARDIS Tea White Chocolate Ganache

Macaron trio_resize

Remember back in March when we talked about those delightfully nerdy fandom teas? Well I found a way to incorporate Cara McGee’s TARDIS blend tea into a Doctor Who inspired macaron. Although I couldn’t get the shells to be that recognizable TARDIS blue I did manage to infuse the TARDIS tea into some cream to create a delicious white chocolate ganache. Think your favorite cuppa in frosting form. British style of course, with cream and sugar because the Doctor wouldn’t have it any other way. These delicate macarons may not save you from the Weeping Angels but they might make you feel timey-wimey. Okay, maybe not but trust me, they were one of the most delicious things I’ve had in all of time and space.

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Macarons with TARDIS White Chocolate Ganache

Makes 36 large shells or 18 sandwiched cookies

 

Blue Macaron Ingredients
adapted from Ms. Humble’s Scatterplot Macarons

  • 120g almond meal
  • 200g powdered sugar
  • 100g egg whites
  • 35g granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 5-7 drops Navy Blue Americolor Food Gel
  • Sifter
  • Food Processor
  • Hand or Stand Mixer
  • Piping bag
  • Large round tip

Directions:
1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat. Make sure to double up on cookie sheets so your macarons don’t cook too quickly during the baking process. If you have a macaron piping template put it under the parchment paper so you can see where to pipe otherwise you’ll have to take the route I took and trace circles all over the parchment paper as a guide. The size is up to you, I made mine fairly large for a macaron which is why this recipe yielded a small amount for me.

2. Weigh out your almond meal, powdered sugar, egg whites and granulated sugar separately using a kitchen scale.

3. Add your almond meal and powdered sugar into a food processor and pulse until both ingredients are well combined.

4. Sift the almond sugar mixture through a sieve or sifter over a large bowl. We’re using a large bowl because you’ll need the room for the meringue later. After your entire mixture has been sifted it’s time to move to the meringue.

5. Place your egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a bowl or in your stand mixer bowl. Using Bravetart’s guide to making macarons set your stand mixer to 4 or “medium” for 3 minutes. The egg whites won’t look super foamy at this point but that’s okay because we’re no where near done with them. Increase the speed to 7 or “medium-high” for an additional 3 minutes. Then turn up the mixer to 8 for another 3 minutes. At this time it’s best to add your coloring so it’s incorporated evenly into the meringue. At this point you should have a stiff meringue, this means that the meringue should stand up on itself so check your whisk and turn it upside down. Is the meringue clinging tight? Can you turn your bowl over your head and not have a head full of meringue? Good, then that’s the perfect consistency! Be careful not to overmix as you’ll end up with a gritty meringue and won’t be able to complete the macaronage stage.

6. Now here’s where things get scary. The macaronage stage is where you mix the meringue in with the dry ingredients. You can’t beat or stir this you have to gently fold the two together. Pour your meringue into your almond sugar mixture. Using a rubber spatula circle the entirety of the bowl then come straight down the middle with your strokes. You want to get the air out of the meringue without over beating it while still incorporating the almond sugar mixture. The consistency you want should be what people describe as “lava-like”. Basically it should flow onto itself and melt back into the mixture after about 20 seconds. This consistency is usually achieved after 60 strokes. Do a consistency check to see if your mixture is flowing like ribbons of lava.

7. Take an piping bag and fit it with a large round tip. Twist the bag near the tip end so your batter doesn’t flow until you’re ready to pipe. Carefully add your batter to the piping back but be careful not to over fill the bag. Make sure all the air is out of the bag by twisting the open end. Take your full piping bag to your cookie sheets and pipe your shells. Don’t pipe in a circle just center the tip in the middle of your circle and squeeze just before the batter reaches the edges of the circle. Release your pressure on the bag to stop the flow of batter and move onto the remaining shells.

8. After all your shells are piped carefully grab your cookie sheets (while also holding the parchment paper in place) and tap the cookie sheets on a table. It’s okay to be a little rough during this part, we want all the remaining air to rise to the top so we can get the smoothest shells possible. After about 4-5 raps on the table your cookies are ready to dry. Leave them out for about 30-60 minutes until the shells are no longer sticky to the touch.

Preheat your oven to 280 degrees. Put a large cookie tray on the top rack of your oven to shield the shells from over browning. Once your oven reaches 280 degrees place your macarons on the lower third rack. Bake for 15-18 minutes pulling the shells out before they get browned. Some recipes say to keep the oven door propped open a crack to release the steam from the cookies but if you doubled up on the cookie sheets you should be fine. After your cookies are done baking let them cool on the cookie sheet until cool. Do not try removing the cookies from the parchment paper until they are completely cool otherwise you risk losing the bottom of your cookie.

TARDIS Tea White Chocolate Ganache Ingredients:

  • 2 heaping Tbsp. TARDIS blend Tea
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 5oz white chocolate pieces

1. Add heavy cream and tea leaves to a medium sauce pan.  Let the cream slowly heat on low. The tea leaves will steep in the cream and turn the cream to a golden brown color.

2. Add your white chocolate to a small bowl. Once your cream begins to bubble it’s time to add it to the white chocolate but you have to remove the loose leaves first. You can use a sieve or tea press for this.

3. Add the warm cream to the white chocolate and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Once the desired consistency has been reached cover and let set in the fridge for 2 hours. When the ganache is chilled it will be easier to spread when you assemble the macarons.

4. Match up your macaron shells up by size in pairs. Grab your chilled ganache and add about a tbsp to one shell and sandwich the cookies together being careful not to crack the fragile shells.

5. Once all the cookies are assembled they need to be chilled for 24 hours to achieve optimal deliciousness. I know, it’s hard especially after all these steps and you can’t even eat one. Trust me, you want that ganache to have time to get all cozy with your macaron shells, it’ll be worth it. After 24 hours, dig in!

Recipe & Photography by Chronicles of a Foodie

Categories
Recipes

How To Make Strawberry Firebomb Cupcakes with Cinnamon Whisky Buttercream

Strawberry Firebomb Cupcakes Cinnamon Whisky Frosting

This recipe comes courtesy of Heather “Cupcakes” Saffer, a previous winner on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars and author of The Dollop Book of Frosting. In addition to the Strawberry Firebomb Cupcakes recipe, Saffer’s new cookbook also includes recipes for Frosted Popcorn with Toffee Honey Frosting, Gingersnap Stout Pie with Gingersnap Stout Frosting and more.

“To really showcase the Monster Jam theme on my episode of Cupcake Wars, I decided to create a fiery Cinnamon Whisky Buttercream to represent the sometimes catastrophic truck fires at monster truck rallies! I really didn’t know much about trucks, but I knew enough about frosting to know that adding a dash of cinnamon and a splash of spicy whisky would leave a lasting impression on the judges. So I whipped cinnamon whisky into this glorious, speckled Cinnamon Whisky Buttercream and dolloped it atop my Strawberry Firebomb Cupcakes to take home the crown!”

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Cinnamon Whisky Buttercream

Yield: Frosts about 1½ dozen cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ tablespoons cinnamon whisky
  • 3¼ cups 10x powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon ground cinnamon

How to Make It

Mix butter at room temperature in stand mixer with paddle until soft, about 3 minutes. Add cinnamon whisky and continue mixing for another minute. Slowly add powdered sugar and continue mixing about 3 minutes. Add salt and cinnamon, and continue mixing until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl to ensure all ingredients are fully incorporated and distributed evenly and mix until light and creamy, another 2 minutes.

Extra Sweets!

Other frosting uses: Strawberry Firebomb Cupcakes (see recipe), vanilla wafer cinnamon whisky sandwiches, dolloped atop a shot of hot cinnamon whisky. 

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Strawberry Firebomb Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • ½ cup milk
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup strawberry purée
  • ½ cup cinnamon whisky

How to Make It

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake or muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer with a paddle attachment, pour in milk and egg whites and mix until blended. In a separate bowl, mix flour, sugar, salt, cayenne pepper, and baking powder. Add butter and continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs. Add half of the milk mixture to the crumbs and beat at medium speed for 60–90 seconds. To the remaining half of the milk mixture, add the strawberry purée and mix with a whisk. Add this to the batter and beat for 30 seconds. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl, then beat for an additional 20 seconds. Add cinnamon whisky and blend. Spoon batter into cupcake tins until ¾ full. Bake for about 20–25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

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Strawberry Flambé Filling

Yield: Approximately 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 cup strawberries, chopped
  • 2 ounces cinnamon whisky

How to Make It

Melt butter with brown sugar in saucepan over medium heat. Add strawberries and continue cooking, about 2 minutes. Add cinnamon whisky and ignite with a lighter or match. Once the flame dies, remove from stove.

Excerpted from The Dollop Book of Frosting Copyright © 2013 by Heather Saffer and published by F+W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Photos Courtesy of Matt Wittmeyer Photography

Categories
Recipes

How to Make Red Velvet Cake Quesadillas

I love this whole take one thing and make it into something else trend: cronuts, crouton cones, ramen burgers, ice cream bread. It’s both playful and more importantly, tasty. So I thought I’d try my hand at a transformation of my own with one of my favorite desserts: cake. And here’s what I wound up with: Red Velvet Cake Quesadillas. It’s like a quesadilla with a “tortilla” made with cake mix and the filling replaced with frosting. Drool. I started with a traditional tortilla recipe, but mainly followed the directions more so than the ingredients.

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 Red Velvet Cake Quesadillas

Red velvet cake-sedillas

Ingredients

  • One box Duncan Hines Decadent Red Velvet Cupcake Mix
  • 1/3c milk, lukewarm
  • 1t oil
  • 4t water
  • 4T butter, softened

Directions

  1. Empty cake mix into large bowl. (Keep the frosting mix for later).
  2. Whisk together oil and milk. And slowly incorporate milk into cake mix until you get a slightly sticky dough (you may not need all of the milk).
  3. Turn dough out onto a surface dusted with flour and knead vigorously for about 2 minutes, adding flour until the dough is no longer sticky.
  4. Return dough to bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and allow to rest for 10 -20 minutes.
  5. Divide dough into 8 balls of equal size, cover them, and let them rest again for about 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile make the frosting: Mix softened butter with electric mixer on high for 1 minute until light and fluffy. Add frosting mix to butter while mixing on low speed. Then add water while mixing. Mix on high for 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  7. Dust a clean pastry board or working surface with flour.
  8. Using a flour dusted rolling pin, roll out each of the 8 pieces of dough from the center out until the tortilla measures a little less than 1/4 inch thick.
  9. Transfer the tortillas to a dry preheated griddle (350 degrees). When a tortilla begins to puff slightly, allow it to cook for 30 seconds, flip it, and cook briefly on the other side.
  10. Let the tortillas cool slightly then spread frosting on four of the tortillas and sandwich them together using the other four. Slice as you would a quesadilla and enjoy.

While my execution left much to be desired, these turned out surprisingly well. It’s a really fun and different way to eat cake. If you’ve got the time (and the tortilla rolling skills), you should definitely give it a go.