Delicious exponents of pastry! And nowadays it is widespread to confuse both.  Yes, they are baked products and look similar, but muffins and cupcakes present primary differences, both in external aspect and especially in the batter (preparation process).

Have a closer look at the Difference between Muffin and Cupcake

Muffins and Cupcakes might look very similar. They have flour, butter, eggs, sugar and milk. Although there are some particularities about each one:

  • The ingredients

Muffins, usually have all-purpose flour, but sometimes this ingredient is replaced by other different sorts of powder. Also, they have vegetable oil instead of butter.

Cupcakes, in contrast, have a higher content of sugar and butter than muffins.

  • The batter

In muffins, it is lumpy, because of a shorter beating and mixing process. (This allows for a more dense consistency when baked). The batter of it is more like bread.

In cakes, the batter is smooth and spongy, thanks to the mixing process because the sugar and butter are creamed together, and also beaten for longer. (As a result, the batter of the Cupcake presents bubbles throughout its mass). The mixture, in a cake, is similar to a cake.

  • The taste

They can be savoury, while cupcakes not.

  • The Aspect

Perhaps the most prominent difference between them. Muffins may have a thin sugared glaze on top, but not the typic thick frosting as cakes have. (Because they usually have fruits, nuts or chocolate inside, there is no imperative of having a pompous coating).  A quite peculiar aspect in their shape is that the top is larger than the bottom.

Cupcakes have beautiful and delicious frosting on top, and some can be swirl or even confetti.

Some history

The word cupcake appears, in its very early beginning, in the book “Seventy-five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats,” by Elisa Leslie. It dates from 1828, but even earlier, the term was around in another book.

From the very beginning, cakes people baked them in individual moulds or small cups, from where they took their name. But this was even before muffin moulds were available.

Also, it is important to mention that the term cupcake refers to a small sized cake, that for its preparation, they measured the ingredients in cups.

On the other hand, muffins, from the beginning were baked in a homemade style and were intended to be like a small bread for a meal. But over time, they became more popular and a better, and even a healthier substitute for other pastries.

Fun facts about Muffins and Cupcakes

  • Cupcakes have been pastry pieces for a very long time, while muffins began to gain a reputation as cafes started to develop.
  • They are not necessarily the healthiest option compared to cakes.
  • You can see cakes particularly on special occasions or events like birthdays, anniversary celebration, etc. especially when it is difficult to cut and serve a regular cake.
  • They are good alternatives for breakfast or to accompany a cup of coffee, whenever you want.

And now, some Healthy Recipes!

  • Muffins
Blueberry Muffins
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins

These ones are an excellent choice for your breakfast! They are low fat, low calorie and free of gluten. With nothing else but natural ingredients, what makes it even more appetising. You can store them in in the refrigerator to keep them fresh. 

Servings: 12 muffins
Calories: 125 kcal
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour or gluten-free flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter or coconut oil melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 egg whites at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla creme stevia
  • 3/4 cup nonfat milk
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh blueberries divided (about 1 pint)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and lightly coat 12 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, egg whites, and vanilla. Stir in the Greek yoghurt, mixing until no large lumps remain. Mix in the honey and stevia. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, and stirring just until incorporated. (For best results, combine the flour mixture in 4 equal parts.) Gently fold in 1 cup of blueberries.

  3. Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups, and gently press the remaining blueberries into the tops. Bake at 350°F for 19-22 minutes or until the tops are firm to the touch. Cool in the muffin cups for 10 minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack.

Recipe Notes

For the gluten-free flour: 1 cup (120g) millet flour, ½ cup brown rice flour, ½ cup tapioca flour, and 1 ½ teaspoons xanthan gum. Most store-bought blends will work as well. 

You may substitute the whole wheat pastry flour, the whole wheat flour, or all-purpose flour with white whole wheat flour.

You may also substitute pure maple syrup with honey.

If you prefer to substitute additional honey for the vanilla creme stevia, you'll need to add six more tablespoons of honey and reduce the milk by the same amount, or less.

You can replace nonfat milk with any milk.

Fresh blueberries are best because they have better flavour and don’t bleed when incorporating them into the batter. However, if you only have frozen, then reserve one tablespoon of flour, and toss the frozen blueberries with that just before folding into the batter. They will still bleed some and turn the batter greyish.


  • Cupcakes
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
35 mins

These ones are ideal for chocolate lovers! Apart from being healthy, they are delicious relatively easy to make. You may store them in the refrigerator to keep their freshness.

Servings: 12 cupcakes
Calories: 135 kcal
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup nonfat milk
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder For the frosting
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk For the frosting
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract For the frosting
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla creme stevia For the frosting
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners, and coat the liners with cooking spray.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, stir together the butter or coconut oil, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in the Greek yoghurt, stirring until no large lumps remain. Stir in the pure maple syrup. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, and stirring just until incorporated. Combine the flour mixture in three parts. 

  3. Divide the batter between the paper liners. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes or until the centres feel firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

  4. For the frosting, add the cocoa to a small bowl, and make a well in the centre. Pour in the milk, vanilla, and vanilla creme stevia. Stir until thoroughly combined. Spread on top of the cooled cakes.

Recipe Notes

You may substitute the syrup for milk for a sweeter cupcake. Add more vanilla creme stevia to make the frosting sweeter. 

Try not use different cocoa powder for other substitutes will make the cakes bitter.

For the gluten-free flour: ½ cup millet flour, two tablespoons tapioca flour, two tablespoons brown rice flour, and ½ teaspoon xanthan gum. 

Maple syrup is a good substitute form honey, as well.

You must measure the cocoa powder correctly. It is vital for the taste of the cupcake. 


Conclusion: Cupcakes and muffins are different. But which one is better, it is up to you!

Finally, among the differences between muffins and cupcakes, we can mention the ingredients, the batter, the taste and the aspect. Biscuits are made using a bread recipe. Thus, they are like small sized bread, unlike they have more sugar and butter. On the other hand, cakes are like small sized cakes and are made using a recipe of desserts. The world of pastry offers a vast number of exquisite examples that are worth to try!

Healthy Pastry with Muffins and Cupcakes. Recipes!
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