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Looking for a term that encompasses both cupcakes and muffins


Fat Guy
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Anybody have an idea for a single vocabulary word that means either a cupcake or a muffin, i.e., an individual sized baked good baked in a muffin/cupcake pan?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I heard Muffcake once

frosted muffs?

I like these suggestions but they're probably not good as general-use names unless your clientele has the sort of sense of humor required to appreciate them. :biggrin:

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Back in the 19th century when the GEM pans were introduced, forerunner of the "muffin tin" the cakes whether made as "sponge" cakes, leavened with beaten egg whites or what we know as "muffins" leavened with baking powder or a mixture of baking soda and cream of tartar, were called pattycakes. That was what they were called when I was a child in the 1940s and I never heard the term "cupcake" till years later. "Muffins" were what we now call English Muffins or being in the south, corn muffins. Muffins were not sweet.

My great grandmother (born in 1844, died in 1949 nearly 105) kept journals about cooking and baking and recipes she collected. She often mentioned "pattycakes" when writing about little individually baked cakes, some plain, some filled with custard or jam for afternoon tea and some "breakfast" pattycakes which were usually more substantial and probably like the muffins of today with ground nuts.

Before the Gem pans were invented, small cakes like these were baked in rings placed on a baking sheet and the excess that escaped around the rings had to be trimmed off before the cakes could be iced or frosted or were baked in small cups or ramekins.

My great grandmother had a recipe for "Fairy pattycakes" that noted they were baked in 3 and 4-inch rings and the smaller ones stacked on the larger with a jam filling in between and the entire construction iced and decorated.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I vote for "mini-cake." There are all kinds of discussions out there on the differences - the consensus seems to be that cupcakes are cakes, whereas muffins are breads, so it's the difference between batter and dough - but if the muffins we're talking about are sweet, with or without frosting, I think we can call them cakes → small cakes → mini-cakes.

As Melissa Clark once wrote (2008 NYT), a pastry chef friend of hers, when asked the difference, said, "Nothing. Muffins are just an excuse to eat cake for breakfast." His theory was that Americans are just puritannical about their breakfast choices, and "muffin" sounds healthier.

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I vote for "mini-cake." There are all kinds of discussions out there on the differences - the consensus seems to be that cupcakes are cakes, whereas muffins are breads, so it's the difference between batter and dough - but if the muffins we're talking about are sweet, with or without frosting, I think we can call them cakes → small cakes → mini-cakes.

. . . .

'Mini-cake' is already well-established for scaled-down cakes that are baked in everything but a muffin tin ( a google image search yields masses of hits – https://www.google.dk/search?q=%22mini+cake%22&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=m6xlUZKXBNHWsgbtgIGgBA&biw=1362&bih=640&sei=oqxlUZDLJMXatAb4uYDYDw – and virtually none look like cupcakes/muffins).

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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Hard one, right?

Yeah, it kinda is. Is there a particular reason we need a single word to cover both or is this just a fun brainstorming session?

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I vote for "mini-cake." There are all kinds of discussions out there on the differences - the consensus seems to be that cupcakes are cakes, whereas muffins are breads, so it's the difference between batter and dough - but if the muffins we're talking about are sweet, with or without frosting, I think we can call them cakes → small cakes → mini-cakes.

But muffins are made from batter, not dough. Never seen any remotely stiff muffin "dough"....it's always a wetter, thinner mixture that is most definitely batter in texture.

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Tri2Cook, the context is that a colleague is writing about a product that works for both muffins and cupcakes, and in the copy he doesn't want to keep repeating "muffins and cupcakes." He wants to use one word that means both, and that people will understand. It may not be possible.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Tri2Cook, the context is that a colleague is writing about a product that works for both muffins and cupcakes, and in the copy he doesn't want to keep repeating "muffins and cupcakes." He wants to use one word that means both, and that people will understand. It may not be possible.

Is an acronym an option [e.g. ". . . muffins and cupcakes ('MCCs' in this discussion). . ." ]?

This sounds like a B to B sort of thing, and unless it's for marketing purposes, the term doesn't have to be especially cute/attractive, just compact and comprehensible.

Hand-cake?

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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I think that ended up being the solution. I guess there is no word that exists in English that most people would understand without the need for a definition.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Last evening I consulted with a friend, who is one of the technical writers for Nordic Ware. They consider any "plain" cavity pan a "muffin" pan. The fancier pans are identified as Tea-Cake or Cakelet pans or describe the shape or size of the product.

An example.

He said that there are variations such as "standard" or "jumbo" or "mini" or identifying the number of "muffin" cavities but their customer research has shown that 91% of buyers understand that a "muffin" pan is also a cupcake pan.

He also said that several years ago the company decided to avoid "talking down" to customers and make the descriptions of bakeware as simple as possible and to emphasize the "Made in U.S.A."

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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