11 Differences Between Muffin And Cupcakes

Last Updated on January 2, 2023 by Claire

Muffins and Cupcakes are small, individual-sized baked goods that have different textures, flavors, and methods of preparation. Muffins and cupcakes may seem similar at first glance, but there are a few key differences between them.

In this article, we’ll explore the variations in ingredients, preparation, and presentation that distinguish muffins from cupcakes. Whether you’re a baking enthusiast or just looking to expand your culinary knowledge, this is the perfect resource for you.

Differences between muffin and cupcakes

What are Cupcakes? 

Cupcakes are miniature cakes that often have frosting, candies, or other decorations on top. Some cupcakes have a sweet filling like icing, jam, or compote in the middle. These individual treats can be made with regular cake batter, the only distinction between these bite-sized sweets and conventional cake batter is their size. Cupcakes are made in small cups in specific pans, as opposed to normal cakes, which are baked in a large pan.

The term “cupcake” refers to the practice of creating miniature cakes in cups and evolved in the United States in the 19th century—see Lillian Darnell.

Types of cupcakes

Cupcakes are a popular dessert around the world and come in a wide variety of flavors, toppings, and decorations. Here are some of the different types of cupcakes that you might encounter:  

a. Chocolate  cupcakes

These cupcakes often have chocolate frosting on top and are made with cocoa powder or chocolate chips. They have a typical flavor that both kids and adults love.

b. Vanilla cupcakes

These cupcakes are made with vanilla extract and are often paired with a variety of frostings, such as buttercream, cream cheese, or chocolate.

c. Red velvet cupcakes

 These cupcakes are made with cocoa powder and are typically tinted red with food coloring. They are topped with a creamy white frosting, often made with cream cheese.

d. Lemon cupcakes

Lemon cupcakes are made with lemon juice and zest and are often topped with a lemon buttercream frosting.

e. Carrot cupcakes

These cupcakes are made with grated carrots, spices, and sometimes nuts. They are often topped with cream cheese frosting.

f. Marble cupcakesaa

These cupcakes are made by swirling together two different flavors of batter, such as chocolate and vanilla, to create a marbled effect.

g. Filled cupcakes

These cupcakes have a surprise filling inside, such as jam, or fruit, or a creamy filling like pastry cream or chocolate ganache.

h. Mini cupcakes

These cupcakes are smaller in size than regular cupcakes and are often served at parties or events where people want to sample a variety of flavors.

i. Gluten-free cupcakes

These cupcakes are made with alternative flours, such as almond or coconut flour, to make them suitable for people with gluten sensitivities

What are Muffins?

Muffins are small, individual-sized baked goods that are leavened with baking soda or baking powder rather than yeast. Unlike cupcakes, muffins are often sweeter and have a denser substance. To prepare muffins, the batter is spooned into a muffin pan that contains multiple cup-shaped indentations.

Muffins can be consumed as a breakfast item, a side dish, or a snack depending on the additional components.

Ingredients often added to muffins include chocolate chips, dried fruit, oats, and nuts (for extra protein and another source of healthy fats—The Nutrition SourceHarvard).

Types of Muffins

Among the many varieties of muffins, here are some of the most well-liked:

  1. Apple-Cinnamon Muffins

Apple-cinnamon muffins have a strong apple taste due to the use of apple cider and diced apples, with a delicious cinnamon-sugar topping.

  1. Berrylicious Blueberry Muffins

These muffins are packed with fresh blueberries, with a swirl of blueberry jam inside, and are sprinkled with sugar on top for a crisp taste.

  1. Cornbread Muffins

These tasty corn muffins go great with chili or your preferred stew because they are packed with corn flavor.

  1. Banana Muffins

Banana muffins are prepared from mashed bananas and can be topped with streusel or nuts and spiced with cinnamon or nutmeg.

  1. Triple Chocolate Chunk Muffins

The dough for these chocolate muffins includes dark chocolate, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips. 

Differences between muffin and cupcakes

Cake and muffins are both baked goods that are enjoyed by people all around the world. However, some key differences between the two set them apart. Here are ten differences between cake and muffins:

1. Frosting

The main difference between cupcakes and muffins is how much frosting is used.

Cupcakes often have a sweet, creamy topping, whereas muffins do not. For instance, cream cheese frosting, which is thicker and less sweet than the buttercream frosting frequently used on other cupcakes, is frequently used to top red velvet cupcakes. Instead of thick icing made of sugar, muffins may have a delicate glaze or a crumb topping made of brown sugar and cinnamon. 

2. Ingredients

Compared to most cupcake recipes, muffin recipes usually require less sugar. Whole-wheat flour is frequently used in muffins in place of cake flour or all-purpose flour, while applesauce is frequently used in place of vegetable oil.

Cupcakes, on the other hand, often contain additional sweeteners like vanilla extract, which is common in many cake recipes 

3. Production

The exact process used to make regular cakes—creaming butter and sugar—is frequently used to make cupcakes. To utilize this technique, bakers first mix the butter and sugar until they are well combined. Then, they add the remaining wet and dry ingredients and continue to mix the batter until it becomes light and fluffy.

Muffins are typically made by mixing the dry and wet ingredients separately before combining them, which results in a thicker and less smooth batter compared to other baked goods.

4. Texture

The texture of cupcakes is lighter and fluffier than that of muffins. The consistency of muffin batter is denser and more like bread than that of cupcake batter, which is soft and silky.

5. Decoration

Cupcakes are often more ornately decorated than muffins, as they can be adorned with sprinkles, candies, and decorative paper liners or frosting designs for special occasions and events. In contrast, muffins are typically plain and do not typically include any decorations or garnishes.

Cupcakes are typically considered a dessert, while muffins can be served as a dessert, side dish, or appetizer depending on the flavor.

6. Flavor

Cupcakes are a type of dessert that is usually sweet or fruity in flavor. Some popular flavors of cupcakes include chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, chocolate chip, and peanut butter.

Muffins, on the other hand, can be either sweet or savory. For example, blueberry muffins are a common sweet muffin, while cornbread muffins are a well-known savory choice.

7. Nutritional value

Cakes and muffins come in a variety of nutritional values. Cake has 10% fewer carbohydrates, 29% fewer calories, and 101% less fat than muffins. In contrast, cake includes 44% more water, 71% more protein, and 36% more nutritional fiber per serving than a muffin.

8. Baking time

Cakes and muffins also have different baking times. Cakes usually take longer to bake, as they are usually larger and require more time to cook through. Muffins, on the other hand, can be baked in just 20-30 minutes

9. Shape and size

Compared to muffins, which are often larger and more erratic in shape, cupcakes are smaller and more uniform in size. Cupcakes have a flatter top compared to muffins, which have a more rounded, mushroom-like shape that extends beyond the edges of the muffin tin. Cupcakes have a flat apex and are smooth.

10. Occasions

Cakes are often associated with special occasions, such as birthdays and weddings, while muffins are more commonly eaten as a quick breakfast or snack.

11. Portion size

There are several serving sizes for muffins and cupcakes. Typically, cupcakes are served in individual portions, whereas muffins are sometimes offered in larger serving sizes.


Muffins and cupcakes may have a similar appearance, but they differ in their ingredients, baking methods, flavor, and nutrition. Muffins are made with whole grains and fruit and have a denser, moister texture, while cupcakes are made with a sweeter, lighter batter and are topped with frosting. While both treats can be enjoyed in moderation, it’s important to take their nutritional value into account when choosing which to have.