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Apr 17, 2012 10:56 AM

Muffin recipe

I love muffins and I am looking for a new recipe that produces a really nice fluffy muffin. My guidelines:
1. not savory
2. not bran or fruit (although lemon is okay)
3. good with or without topping
4. no nuts

Obviously fairly broad otherwise (maybe :)
Thanks for any thoughts.


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    1. How's a muffin different from a cupcake?

      13 Replies
      1. re: paulj

        I found this:
        The quick-and-dirty answer on this is that cupcakes have frosting, whereas muffins do not. However, in researching, I found an excellent formulaic definition of the difference courtesy of Diana's Desserts: 'A basic formula for muffins is 2 cups flour, 2-4 tablespoons sugar, 2½ teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 egg, ¼ cup oil, shortening or butter and 1 cup milk. When the fat, sugar and egg ratio in a recipe reaches double or more than this, you have reached the cake level.

        Read more:

        1. re: katkoehler

          I'm trying to understand what that means with the ratio of the three items fat, sugar and egg. Does it mean the ratio of the combination of the three to flour doubles? Or does it mean double the amount of each of the three? Does it mean the ratio of fat: sugar: egg doubles which doesn't make sense.

          I really like this response from the comments section:

          "If you throw a cupcake against a wall you get a sound like "pouf"; if you throw a muffin against a wall you get a sound like "thud" !

          I think a muffin is different from a cupcake like a quick bread is different from a cake. There are shades of gray but weight/density makes the difference. Maybe that's what the definition above is saying--when wet ingredients are a higher proportion to dry, that makes a muffin--but that would include all wet from bananas to milk/sour cream/buttermilk/etc.

          1. re: chowser


            I cobbled together this:

            A) The only way to measure these ratios is by weight. Once you understand that a bread is a five-to-three ratio, you can do five ounces of bread and three ounces of water, or 20 ounces flour and 12 ounces of water, or 500 grams of flour, 300 of water. Any way you mix these ratios, the bread will come out the same, because your ratios are exact.
            Some basic measurements that might also help as you begin to incorporate ratios in your recipes:

            A large egg is two ounces
            A stick of butter is four ounces
            A cup of water, cream or milk eight ounces
            A cup of flour can measure from four-to-six ounces, so be sure to measure

            B) Muffin ratio is as follows:
            2 parts flour
            2 parts liquid
            1 part egg
            1 part butter

            C) a sample recipe would be:


            All these recipes are made by combining the dry ingredients and the
            wet ingredients separately, then combining the two and stirring just to

            8 ouncess flour
            4 ounces sugar
            1 teaspoon salt
            2 teaspoons baking powder
            8 ounces milk
            4 ounces eggs (2 large eggs)
            4 ounces butter (1 stick), melted

            1. re: katkoehler

              I understand ratios. I don't understand exactly what this meant:

              "When the fat, sugar and egg ratio in a recipe reaches double or more than this, you have reached the cake level."

              Does it mean the combination of the three has to be double in relationship to the flour? It doesn't say that. It almost sounds like it means in relationship to each other which doesn't make sense. That sentence itself is very unclear; ratios make perfect sense to me, as a mathematician.

              1. re: chowser

                How does Rhulman distinguish between the two (Ratios)?

                Some cookbooks distinguish between a muffin method (combine wet, dry, the two) and cake method (cream butter and sugar, add flour, other liquid). The cake method is supposed to produce a finer, more uniform crumb, while the holes in the muffin method vary more in size. Either method can be used for either product. For example, crazy/wacky cake uses the muffin method.

                Harold McGee (Keys to Good Cooking) talks about flour and eggs providing structure, fat and sugar tenderness. An ideal with cake is to maximize the fat and sugar, without compromising structure.

                1. re: paulj

                  I don't know how Ruhlman distinguishes between the two. I do want to read his book and have it on my long list of books to get--since it's not at the library. It would make sense to say something about doubling the ratio of liquids (meaning eggs, sugar, milk/etc, butter) to flour but to list just the liquids and talk about doubling the ratio of the three ingredients didn't make sense.

                  Yes, there are cakes made w/ the muffin method and there are muffins made with the cake method and there are definitely shades of gray between the two. Sure, an angel food cake isn't a muffin. A dense, heavy quick bread like muffin isn't a cake. But, what about a carrot muffin? I still think the top makes the difference--cupcakes don't have that crunchy top that muffins do.

        2. re: paulj

          Yeah, that's a good question since "fluffy" and muffin aren't two words I'd put together but "fluffy" and cupcakes do. Muffins have that good crunchy top...until you cover it overnight and then you lose it.

          1. re: chowser

            I guess when I say fluffy it is more about it not being really dense and small. Probably wrong terminology on my part.

            1. re: katkoehler

              I think the fluffiest products are ones that beat butter and sugar until they turn lighter. Sorry your thread was hijacked to a discussion on the difference between the cupcakes and muffins but that's what happens when food geeks talk. The Best Recipe blueberry muffin is a fluffy muffin as is the donut muffin blue room posted below. Both, though, start with melted butter, so I could be wrong in my theory.


              1. re: chowser

                Part of why I raised the question of the difference is that, as I see it, the more you push the 'fluffy', the closer it is to being a cake.

                1. re: paulj

                  It's a good question when you get to the fluffy donuts. If I baked either the blueberry muffin recipe above, or the donut muffin in a large pan, I'd call them cakes, not quick breads.

                  1. re: chowser

                    Reminds me of a pilot episode for geek cooking challenge on CC - make the largest donut. Both sides ended up baking a cake donut in a mold. One side used an industrial oven, the sort used to cure epoxy. The biggest challenge was calculating baking time for something 6ft in diameter. One side planed on deep frying theirs (after baking), but had an oil leak in their dumpster, and the safety guys scrubbed that step.

                    1. re: paulj

                      I saw that and thought, that just can't taste good. A lot of creativity, though.

        3. Almost forgot Doughnut Muffins -- many recipes online. They're wonderful, the recipe I use is here

          1. I like the recipe in the better Homes and Gardens, the red and white checked cookbook. But, it's in the other room... and I don't feel like going after it. You can google it. It's pretty basic. I sometimes up the richness with a bit of cream or even do a sour cream variation. But usually, it's as is, with the exception of using the flour I have on hand. Lots of times it's a white whole wheat flour. I like to add nutmeg and/or cardamom, too.

            1. i do a nice maple muffin (that you can optionally top with granola).

              also have a nice quinoa flake muffin

              lemon muffin with a cream swirl

              sweet potato with candied pecan topping

              honey muffin

              ..i have recipes if any of these intrigue...

              7 Replies
              1. re: Emme

                I would love the lemon muffin with a cream swirl, if you could post it. Thanks!

                1. re: chowser

                  No prob.

                  Caramelized Lemon Muffins with a Cream Cheese Swirl

                  Lemon Muffin Batter
                  120 g cake flour
                  120 g cups all-purpose flour (sometimes I sub in a little toasted wheat germ for some of the AP flour)
                  1 tbsp baking powder
                  1 tsp baking soda
                  1/2 tsp salt
                  150 g sugar
                  1 scant cup buttermilk
                  2 eggs
                  3 tbsp browned butter, melted
                  2 tbsp vegetable oil
                  zest of 1 lemon
                  1 lemon (or more to make 1/2 cup juice (or less if you prefer))
                  Simple Syrup

                  Cream Cheese Swirl (you may not need it all...)
                  3 oz cream cheese, super softened
                  3.2 oz sugar
                  1 medium or large egg
                  1 tsp vanilla
                  1/2 - 1 tsp lemon juice

                  Streusel (Optional - could also sprinkle tops with turbinado sugar)
                  70 g all-purpose flour
                  65-75 g light brown sugar
                  1-2 tbsp unsalted butter

                  Preheat oven to 375 F. Cut lemon(s) in half. Brush cut surface with syrup. Roast til caramelized (usually take me 15-20 min). Squeeze juice and make sure you have 1/2 cup, or less if you prefer.

                  Turn oven up to 400 F.

                  Mix flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar in one bowl.
                  Whisk together eggs, buttermilk, butter and oil in another.
                  Add lemon zest and juice to dry. Then add dry to wet, mixing just until blended.
                  Spread amongst muffin tins, lined and/or sprayed.

                  Whisk cream cheese til smooth. Add sugar, whisk til smooth. Add egg, vanilla and lemon. Dollop as much as you like over lemon batter.

                  If using streusel, combine flour and sugar, then rub in butter, as needed to make coarse crumbs that just hold together when clumped. Sprinkle over muffins, as desired.

                  Put muffins into oven, immediately drop temperature to 350 F. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until done. Let cool for a few minutes, and remove... Eat.

                    1. re: chowser

                      after posting last night, you inspired me to caramelize some lemons today...

                2. re: Emme

                  Would love the honey and the quinoa flake muffin recipes if possible.

                  1. re: katkoehler

                    will post once home in front of my recipes :)

                    1. re: katkoehler

                      Quinoa Flake Muffins

                      85 g quinoa flakes
                      210 g all-purpose flour
                      60 g cake flour
                      35 g almond meal
                      35 g toasted wheat germ
                      95 g sugar
                      70 g turbinado sugar, or sugar in the raw
                      4 tsp baking powder
                      3/4 tsp baking soda
                      (optional cinnamon or cardamom)
                      1 1/4 cup ricotta
                      1 tbsp vanilla (or use almond extract)
                      1/3 cup browned butter, melted
                      1/3 cup + an extra splash vegetable oil (or hazelnut, sesame or peanut oil)
                      2 eggs, separated

                      Preheat oven to 400 F.

                      Mix all dry except quinoa flakes. Make a well, put in ricotta, vanilla, butter, oil and yolks. Draw into center and mix lightly. Beat egg whites till firm, but not dry. Fold quinoa flakes, then egg whites into batter, just until incorporated. Portion in muffin cups. Put in oven and drop temp to 350. Bake til clean. 15-25 minutes (i don't have the proper time noted... sorry)

                      Honey Muffins (I do a vegan version of these when necessary...)
                      (recipe is only for 4...)

                      40 g Butter (or Earth Balance)
                      60 g Powdered Sugar
                      35 g Honey
                      50 g Plain Yogurt (use soy if you prefer)
                      1 ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
                      45 g Flour
                      60 g Almond Meal
                      3/4 tsp. Baking Powder
                      ¼ tsp. Baking Soda
                      ¼ tsp. Salt

                      Beat butter with powdered sugar til light. Add honey, then yogurt, vanilla.
                      Mix dry. Add to wet.
                      Portion into 4 muffin molds and put in a 375F oven and drop temp to 350 F. Bake for 15-20 min.
                      Let cool and top with lemon glaze (I just do a simple powdered sugar, lemon juice, almond milk and vanilla).
                      [If they're too sweet, drop back the sugar...]