I was looking through Martha Stewart's new book of Cupcakes and marveled at all the different varieties of cupcakes she and her talented staff have come up with... though some of them were reminiscent of other cupcakes I've seen before. You know what they say.. imitation is a form of flattery.
But it wasn't long till I came across recipes such as Blackberry-Cornmeal, Streusel, Zucchini-Spice, and Sweet Potato Cupcakes. I don't know about you, but these sound like muffins to me.
Which led me to the question... What's the difference between cupcakes and muffins?
As it turns out...virtually nothing. I read somewhere online that the difference was that cupcakes have icing/frosting and muffins don't. While true instinctively... that's not all of it since there are plenty of muffins out there with icing or glaze on them.
Traditional muffins are made via the Muffin Method, which is essentially separating the dry ingredients with the wet and incorporating them together with as little mixing as possible. The make up of a muffin are dryer and less rich than that of a cake.
Muffins that are higher in fat are mixed using the Creaming Method, which refers to the mixing of the fat and sugar. This is the same method used when making cakes.
So... with enough fat and sugar.. you can call almost anything a cupcake.
Resources: Gisslen, Wayne. PROFESSIONAL BAKING; Stewart, Martha. CUPCAKES