Cupcake and muffin are often confusing terms. Some confusion also abounds with reference to many other iconic Anglo-American food delicacies (eaten for breakfast, afternoon snack and even between meals!), renown worldwide.
The USA term cupcake dates back to about 1800, when some mums from the state of New York experimented baking cakes for their kids into tea cups. Since then, these cakes have become increasingly popular, with a cupcake-mania which is still all the rage today.
Be careful on how you write it: whilst the cupcake is the cup-baked cake, cup cake indicates those cakes whose ingredients are measured with a cup.
Today, cupcakes are famous worldwide especially thanks to their creative decorations made of either sugar paste or classic frosting (butter and sugar).This is definitely hard to digest for the Mediterranean people, and although they appreciate it, they often opt for alternatives supposed to be less harmful to arteries!
Whilst cupcake is the single-portion dessert par excellence, muffins are apparently suffering a decrease in popularity. English muffins date back to the 11th century. Made of bread and biscuits leftovers, they were prepared and eaten by servants. When noblemen realized how tasty they actually were, muffins became extremely popular in all courts, and were also deemed as a symbol of the national cuisine. Today, the recipe is in someway different, however the dough is stiffer compared to the cupcake. Muffins are perfect for both breakfast and tea-time.
Thus, we can say that the cupcake is an improved version (meaning a well-shaped cake, with no cracks on the surface) of the muffin, the latter being less sweet and more “imprecise”.
Cupcake lovers will surely stop by Magnolia Bakery, located in the Greenwich Village, New York, delighting visitors with about 20000 cupcakes weekly. I hope you are in the nearby…!