Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Muffins are Just Ugly Cupcakes

As the name of the post implies, it's all about muffins vs. cupcakes today. The title actually comes from a t-shirt I own that has this neat little graphic of a cupcake and muffin arguing. The cupcake says to the muffin "muffins are just ugly cupcakes" and the muffin replies "cupcakes are haters."

I have to say I agree with both statements. The line between muffin and cupcake has blurred considerably since I was younger. I never liked muffins; they always made me want a cupcake. They were never sweet enough and they were (gasp) healthy: never what a young child wants to hear about a snack. But now, when I go to a coffee shop to buy a muffin, I am greeted with these "ugly" naked cupcakes, which are just about as bad for you (or worse) as real cupcakes without the frosting. Don't get me wrong; I love these new muffins. I think they're great, but it does make me wonder why cupcakes are "haters" and have been put on such high pedestals recently, what with shows like Cupcake Wars and DC Cupcakes. Why not Muffin Wars? Or Muffin Mania?
To add to my confusion, I wanted to make Banana Muffins today, after reading Brown Eyed Baker's Top Ten Muffin List yesterday. So I went to find a good Oatmeal-Banana Muffin Recipe (since I LOVE banana oatmeal) and wouldn't you know it - there's one for Banana Oat "Cupcakes" in one of my cookbooks! The caption reads "these cupcakes are so moist - they don't even need frosting!"

Don't need frosting? Oh, you mean like a muffin? Bananas, oats, honey...cupcake? Lies! Why? You got me swinging. Why not just call it a sweet muffin? No one says your muffin recipe has to be healthy - just because it has butter doesn't mean you have to call it a cupcake.

So now I am curious to see how these turn out. I happen to have these wonderfully overripe bananas anyway, so I may as well put them to good use before they end up in the trash.

The recipe calls for putting cupcake liners in the pan, but I refused to continue the charade that these were cupcakes. Instead I just greased the muffin pans really well, and set about baking these...cupcake-muffins? muffin-cupcakes? Let's go with muffin-cakes.

I'll include the recipe in full at the bottom of the post, but I just wanted to highlight some interesting points. This recipe truly is trying to be a cupcake, but for some reason wants to be a muffin as well.

Creaming butter and sugar? Point Cupcake
Mixing (not beating) in eggs and honey and bananas? Point Muffin
Adding dry ingredients to wet all in one shot? Point Muffin
Mixing until dry ingredients are just barely moistened? Point Muffin
Using cupcake liners? Point Cupcake

Final Tally = Cupcake: 2 Muffin: 3 - So far it's a pretty close game. 

But wait! What is that amazing scent filling my kitchen? It's so banana bread. Not Banana cake, but banana bread.

And look! These adorable little bite-sized treats look just like...well, hmm...that's a good question. Sort of like cupcakes, sort of like muffins - I'll have to go with muffin-cakes.

Whatever they are - they're FAB. Perfectly golden brown and with nice little bits of banana suspended throughout - these are definitely a make-again (and again).

Muffins are indeed just ugly cupcakes, although I think these little guys are rather cute, don't you?

Banana-Oat Muffin-Cakes makes 1 1/2 dozen
from Gifts for Giving

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed bananas
3/4 cup honey
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously (and I mean generously) grease two muffins pans.

2. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, honey, and mashed bananas, stirring well. In another bowl mix together the rest of the ingredients.

3. Stir dry ingredient mixture into wet ingredients; mix only until dry ingredients are just moistened.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for ten minutes in pan then carefully remove from pan and let cool on wire cooling rack.


  1. Haha I love that shirt! That's so cute. These muffins (or cupcakes?) look amazing though!

  2. I suppose there are not muffin shows is because there is no elaborate decorating skills involved. Muffins have enough flavor so they do not require all that. Wonderful treat here, nice choice of flavors.