Who can tell? What sets them apart? Is it the paper wrapper? No, sometimes muffins have papers. Is is the flavor? No they can both be sweet or savory. Is it the texture? No, both can be light and fluffy or dense. Is it the ingredients? Nope, pretty standard to have butter, sugar, eggs, flour, etc. I think it comes down to frosting.
Many a time I’ve put a muffin in a paper cup and called it a cupcake when my kids were smaller. But now they ask “where’s the frosting?” I can still get away with making a healthy muffin (bran, fruit etc) in a cupcake paper and putting a bit of “frosting” such as cream cheese or plain fresh whipped cream. However…a new cookbook arrived at my house for review: Southern Living’s Big Book of Cupcakes by Jan Moon. And things will change.
My kids have poured over it page by page looking at beautiful cupcakes. When I get a new cookbook, I start marking pages of recipes that look interesting and may try. My kids have marked more than half the book and it won’t even close now. I’m in trouble….
My mother-in-law is visiting and we happen to be celebrating her birthday, so it’s time to try the new cookbook. After much deliberation, my mother-in-law chooses Lemon Ice Box. Not only do these have a lovely whipped cream frosting, but also a filling. I’ve never ventured into filled cupcakes. Now we’re ruined. This is definitely not a muffin.
The cupcakes took a bit of time, which was fine for another rainy weekend day. My kids enjoyed helping the licking the beaters. Funny thing was that I forgot the shortening. I don’t ever buy shortening, so I guess I just glanced over when I read the instructions. I didn’t even realize I fogot until I put the cupcakes in the oven. Oops. It didn’t matter. The cupcakes were great – moist and fluffy and tasty. It made me question why the recipe had it to begin with. Hmmm….
You’ll be reading more about this book and cupcakes from me soon, I’m sure.
Pros – there are many…appealing photos, yummy recipes, innovative ingredients and flavors (did I mention maple bacon?) Really a bible for cupcake followers.
Cons – not many so far. Although like many baking and cake books, there are some hard to find decorations (which if course you can substitute). I question the use of shortening and butter.