Is a hot dog a sandwich? Is cereal a soup? The debate over classifying foods could go on for days. But we at the Clog are sure of one thing: A muffin should never be considered a type of cake. We have outlined our argument for this below to stifle any doubts you might have about it.
Firstly, when you think of a cake, you think of a variety of flavors and shapes, but one thing remains consistent across all of them: the presence of frosting or at least some type of glaze. When was the last time you saw a muffin with frosting on it? Never, because muffins never include frosting. Yes, there are some types of cake that don’t have frosting on them, such as angel food cake or coffee cake, but this reasoning doesn’t work the other way. There are no types of muffins that sometimes have frosting on them.
Secondly, muffins have the potential to be savory, while this is not an option available to cakes. Anything that you might be tempted to label as a “savory cake” is probably much more similar to a type of bread than a savory cake. Since muffins can sometimes be considered a small version of bread, they can come in savory varieties. Take, for example, corn muffins or cheddar and zucchini muffins.
The next part of our argument lies in the consistency of the batter. Any cake recipe that you look at instructs you cream together the butter and sugar and beat the batter for a long time, resulting in a smooth and silky consistency. Muffin recipes, on the other hand, often warn against overmixing and instruct you to leave the batter slightly lumpy. This results in a denser baked good. A good way to test this out is to ask yourself if you could pour the batter in an 8-inch circular pan and end up with a birthday cake. If the answer is no, you obviously have a muffin, not a cake.
At the end of the day, the most important factor in this debate is whether or not it is socially acceptable to eat the baked good for breakfast. Don’t get us wrong — we don’t see a problem with eating cake for breakfast. But muffins have always been a baked good that you can eat in the morning without receiving any judgmental stares. This factor alone is enough to end the debate once and for all.
Contact Beatrice Aronson at [email protected].