CUPCAKES and muffins may look the same but they are quite different. Can you tell the difference?

The American muffin is similar to a cupcake in size and cooking methods. It is available in both, sweet and savoury varieties. Banana and blueberry muffins are examples of sweet muffins while the savoury ones are like cheese or corn muffins.

It is also different from the English muffins which is a type of yeast-leavened bread; generally about 10cm in diameter and 3.5cm high.

So how different are cupcakes and muffins?

Generally, cupcakes have lighter texture which is achieved using the creaming method.

The creaming method is used in making batter type cakes where an emulsion of butter, sugar and egg is formed before flour is folded in to form a smooth batter.

They are always sweet with dominant flavours like vanilla, chocolate, lemon and red velvet.

A blend of high ratio cake flour and all-purpose flour is often used. Of course, cupcakes have lots of frosting or they would not be called cupcakes.

Muffins tend to have denser texture where all the ingredients are just lightly blended together.

It is not uncommon to have some bread flour added to all-purpose flour so as to create a nice cracked top. Also, a higher percentage of baking powder is used to assist in creating the peaked top.

Muffins can be sweet or savoury and, generally, does not have any frosting on top.

Jackfruit Muffin


This is a wonderful American muffin recipe with the incorporation of 85% of fresh jackfruit based on the flour weight.

This tropical fruit imparts a unique flavour, great texture and sweet taste to the muffin. In addition, it is rich in dietary fibre, minerals and antioxidants which is claimed to protect us from cancer, ageing and degenerative diseases.

The use of bread flour and baking powder in the recipe helps the muffin to open up and have a nice crack at the top. The addition of dairy whipping cream adds richness and flavour to the muffin as well.

For a medium-sized muffin of about 100g of batter, it should be baked for at least 18 – 20 minutes at around 200 °C. If you are using a convection oven with a strong fan, you should reduce the oven temperature by 10 to 20°C.

Here’s the recipe.

Don Yong is the chairman of the Malaysian Institute of Baking. He is also a master-baker, author and a self-confessed pastry lover.

If you have decided to start baking and do not know where to start, why not attend one of our baking workshops.The baking workshops are conducted by Don Yong. For details, go to

Related recipe:

Jackfruit Muffin. Click here for recipe.

Other articles you may be interested:

Making the perfect cookie

Choosing the right flour for baking

Bread in four easy steps

How to make multigrain bread

What is gluten-free baking?

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