The same preserved seedless plums that I used for the plum scones that I recently baked were mixed with a tweaked version of a Martha Stewart muffin batter, a recipe I found in her Baking Handbook. Before the plum muffins went into the oven, the tops were sprinkled with a mixture of sugar and cinnamon which partially caramelized leaving a crystalline glaze.
What is the difference between muffins and cupcakes?
A reader once said, cockily, that cupcakes are iced or frosted and muffins aren’t. That’s not the difference, really. A cupcake is a small cake while a muffin is basically a bread. Cakespy has a very good entry about it.
According to our dictionary, a cupcake is defined as “a small cake, the size of an individual portion, baked in a cup-shaped mold,” whereas the muffin is defined as “a small, cup-shaped quick bread, often sweetened.” Strangely, the definitions don’t touch on the subject of frosting, which to many seems to be a defining characteristic of a cupcake. However, they do touch on the subject of sweetness, citing that muffins are “often” sweetened, thus leaving it open to interpretation that they are often but not always sweet, and it does touch on their texture by defining them as a quick bread, which is often more dense than cake
The entry also discusses how the distinction has become blurred in our generation because eating a (traditionally healthy) muffin has become an excuse to eat cake. An experiment was conducted by baking cupcakes and muffins and spreading icing on both. Visually, they looked alike. However, the conclusion remained:
We do believe that there are differences between cupcakes and muffins–to our way of thinking, cupcakes will always be the finer-crumbed, delicate and sweet treat, whereas the muffin is the more dense and hearty option, more likely to have savory flavors or “healthy” stuff added. However, we also believe that the line between the two is blurry in our current age, with more and more sugar and sweet toppings creeping into muffin recipes.
These plum muffins are moderately sweet, dense and not greasy at all. The recipe yields 11 large muffins.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted then cooled
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon white sugar divided
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon divded
- pinch nutmeg
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 3/4 cup skim low-fat milk
- 11 preserved seedless plums roughly chopped and divided into 11 portions
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Brush the cups of a muffin pan with butter or shortening. I used Crisco.
- In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and nutmeg.
- In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla and milk. Pour in the butter. Fold the mixture into the flour mixture just until blended.
- Half-fill the muffin cups with the batter. Add a portion of the chopped plums then spoon more batter to cover the plums. The muffins cups will be almost full.
- Whisk together the remaining 2 tbsps. of sugar and 1/4 tsp of cinnamon and sprinkle evenly on top of the muffins.
- Bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool the muffins in the pan for about 10 minutes then remove them and place on a wire rack.
- The plum muffins are best served warm.