My Muffcakes Bring All The Boys To The Yard


Sometimes you are given a challenge so great, so wondrous, that you can do nothing but throw all caution to the wind, grasp it by its metaphorical horns, pull it close, look it in the eye and say, “you’re mine, beeatch”. If you’d like to smack it on the arse at this point as well you have every right to, because a challenge is a challenge, a chance to show the world who’s boss of this kitchen; and today, friends, today that boss is me and four other worthy competitors.

It’s the Muffcake Challenge.

“How did this start and what’s a muffcake?!” I hear you cry, throwing your hands in the air and waving them around like you just don’t care. Good question. A muffcake is everything and nothing all at once. Is it a muffin? Is it a cupcake? It is both, and it’s also entirely up to you how you tackle this muffalicious amalgamation. I made a little video to smack this point home, so view on for my interpretation of muffcakes. Please excuse my dishevelled appearance, I’ve been unwell all week and am now tackling a rather unpleasant case of food poisoning! Hurrah!

We need to start at the beginning. To reach muffcake nirvana one must first define a muffin and a cupcake. What’s the difference? Let us turn to Webster’s dictionary for a thorough definition:
cup·cake noun – a small cake baked in a cuplike mold
muf·fin noun – a quick bread made of batter containing egg and baked in a pan having cuplike molds

So a muffin, then, is more bread-like than a cupcake, which is a miniature cake. In addition to that, a cupcake is always smaller than a muffin and usually sweet but not savoury, whereas a muffin can be both. In my mind, muffins are a more rustic affair – they don’t have to be aesthetically pleasing to be appreciated for their inner beauty – but cupcakes must always be presented with a certain decorum. You would frost a cupcake but not necessarily a muffin… though I have seen frosted muffins, so perhaps this one is up to your own personal taste.

Crouching Muffin, Hidden Cupcake…

So how did I achieve these muffcakes of glory? Well, where any good cake starts: with a good recipe. Whenever I have to bake cupcakes I like to turn to the people who brought the word into my vocabulary, not with a whimper, but with an almighty bang, slap and smack on the rear: The Hummingbird Bakery.

I first discovered them last Christmas when Brother & I bopped on down to Portobello Road and he purchased a Red Velvet Cupcake for me from their store. I took a bite and it was as if my tastebuds had exploded, sending fireworks up through my brain into the delicious sensor. I was a Cupcake Convert, worshipping at the temple of Hummingbird. When Momma Lee bought me their cookbook that Christmas I went cupcake mad, making as much of it as I could. The Red Velvet page, in particular, is rather sticky, with red blobs of food colouring all over it. But I wanted to do something different this time, I wanted a real contrast, and I also wanted something appropriately named, so I turned to their Black Bottom Cupcakes.

The Black Bottom Cupcake is a thing of beauty. With a chocolate sponge base and a chocolate-chip-studded cheesecake filling (which turned into a topping on my miniature cupcakes) it is pure creamy deliciousness. It’s good enough on its own, let alone in a muffcake creation.

On the other side of the muffcake equation, I needed a muffin recipe, so I turned to the ever trusty Joy of Baking and chose their Chocolate Chip Muffins. I wanted a white canvas on which to display my Black Bottoms, so this seemed the best choice to me. In retrospect I could’ve gone for something with a little colour, but this was a good first attempt.

And so to the making. I decided that in order to find the best way to achieve muffcake glory I had to make three variations. One muffcake where neither the cupcake nor the muffin batters were baked; one where the cupcake was baked and the muffin batter unbaked; one where both batters were baked separately, then the muffcake hollowed out, creating a muffcake hole, and the cupcake inserted.

It was pretty simple when I had it straight in my head, really. And so to the results:

The unbaked batter muffcakes were the least successful. Not only did the cupcake not rise (really making the muffcake a black bottomed one), but the cupcake case was also flattened under the weight of the muffin. It was, however, quite moist.

The baked cupcake unbaked muffin muffcake was more successful, with the only real problem being that it was difficult to make sure the cupcake was in the centre of the muffcake, as placing the muffin batter on top of the cooked cupcake caused it to shift in the muffin case. The solution here would probably be to find some way of keeping the cupcake in place whilst assembling the muffcake. Further experimentation needed!

The baked cupcake baked muffin muffcake was the most successful, but not as cohesive as the baked cupcake unbaked muffin muffcake. It did, however, have the added bonus of hollowing out muffcake holes with a melon baller, which was great fun. Even more fun when I dubbed them muffcake holes.

The only thing left then was to stick a Gingerbread Wo/Man cocktail stick in the top and declare these muffcakes claimed in the name of Feeder Lady. So I did. Had I more time I would also have frosted my cupcakes so that you had a muffcake with inner-frosted cupcake, but that just means I can have a whole new project for another day.

So that was my take on it. See how my Muffcake Comrades tackled their muffcakes over at their beautiful blogs and remember, muffcakes come in all shapes and sizes, so send them some love:
Annelies from La Vie en Route
Mariko from The Little Foodie
Angi from Rice & Wheat
Linda from Salty Seattle

How would you tackle your muffcakes? Drop a comment and let me know! Until next time then, peace, love and muffcakes.

Jax x

27 Responses to “My Muffcakes Bring All The Boys To The Yard”

  1. Barbara | VinoLuciStyle Says:

    Considering who you are in cahoots with, I am happy to see that muffcakes are not X-Rated fare at all (not thinking of anyone in particular @saltyseattle). Fun to watch but still struggling with this phrase ‘baked cupcake unbaked muffin muffcake’ – that’s a bit of a tongue twister now isn’t it?

  2. sippitysup Says:

    This boy is happy to follow you you into the yard. But I have to say it’s taken me several years to get that song out of my head. If I started chanting about anything of mine being better than yours… you are in big trouble. GREG

  3. Kim at Life as a Foodie Says:

    Haha. Gotta love Barbara’s comment. I have a seriously dirty mind so muffcakes just sounds so wrong to me. And it makes me think of Betty White’s muffin skit on Saturday Night Live. Too fun.

    Right now all I am doing is figuring out how in the heck to even make this. I see it but I still don’t get it.

    Pass me the coffee pot please. I think I need more.

  4. Brian @ A Thought For Food Says:

    Talking about muffcakes gets me all hot and bothered! It looks wonderful!

  5. angi Says:

    LOVE IT!! I can’t believe you made three versions, you teacher’s pet you. I think my favorite phrase of this post might be “muffcake holes”… oh dear, did I just say that? Happy new year to you, Jackie!

  6. robynski Says:

    In keeping with Barbara’s comment I must say that’s not much of a muff, or maybe a brazilian. ;o)

    I’m loving the concept, I await the other results. Muffcake! It’s time has come.

  7. Corny “Muffcakes” with Honey-Chili Frosting and Candied Corn / rice and wheat Says:

    […] to mean: – Mariko aka The Little Foodie – Linda aka Salty Seattle – Jackie aka I Am a Feeder – Annelies aka La Vie en […]

  8. zenchef Says:

    It makes me want to shoot: “WAITERRRRR!! There’s a muffin in my cupcake!!”

    err.. or is it?…

    “There’s a CUPCAKE in my muffin!”

    I’m still confused.

  9. Ken?hungry rabbit Says:

    Yup, muffcake muffin cupcake batter will get you tongue tied, but that muffcake hole will get all the boys to your yard. Cheers to 2011!

  10. Christine Says:

    Cool! So this is muffcake.. I thought it was something rated R hahahaha.

  11. Wei-Wei Says:

    I think I’d just make my muffins non-rustically and top them with frosting. Hmm… but would you be able to tell the difference between that and a cupcake? I dunno, actually. Merry Christmas, and happy 2011 soon :D

  12. Amanda @ BakingWithoutABox Says:

    Yes, I had a dirty mind when I read Muffcakes. And it makes it worse that you have a video with that cutie pie little accent. But I loved your interpretation! Awesome job. Had to re-tweet it.

  13. Sommer J Says:

    Mmm they are sexy! Love all 3 variations.

    Merry Christmas!

  14. Monet Says:

    Gosh girl…you are too darn adorable and creative. I have NO CLUE how I would tackle this (probably because I’m operating on little sleep). And like Amanda said…your accent is adorable. I can’t wait to meet you in person :-) I hope you have a wonderful week, my friend. Many blessings as the new year approaches. Thank you for sharing this sweetness!

  15. MuffCakes: Hoecakes with Spun Sugar and a Cherry on Top | Salty Seattle Says:

    […] a trois muffcakes post, of course it was such a winning word that two other lovelies (Jackie from I am a Feeder and Annelies from La Vie en Route)  decided to turn our ménage into a right orgy, so here we are, […]

  16. saltyseattle Says:

    Muff mistress- i am kneeling in front of you waiting for your command. what pearls of wisdom i gleaned when i dove directly into your muffy madness. lovely, love.

  17. Mariko Says:

    You’ve one upped the muffcakes. A muff in a cake?
    THREE of them?
    I want a taste. Do I have to choose?

    Your video is giving me the giggles. Plus you have the cutest voice. Girl, you kiss your mother with that mouth?

  18. Roxan Says:

    Cute, I love the idea of muffcakes! I wish I could try one, they look great! I would totally eat one for breakfast, and then one later after dinner, since they are both muffin and cupcake they work for both! It’s like the mullet of baked goods.

  19. Lyndsay ~ The Kitchen Witch Says:

    The chocolate in that looks so incredibly delicious I can hardly stand it!

    Want. Muffcakes.

    (nice to meet you ;)

  20. Reeni Says:

    I saw your pictures on Flickr and I was like ????? What a cute idea! I wasn’t thinking anything dirty until I saw some of these comments! Save one for me!

  21. Ethan Says:

    Muffcakes sound so much better with your accent. See you in the yard snouffle!

  22. IslandEAT Says:

    Jax, I am still blushing at my own interpretation of “muffcake”, when I encountered this term. Well, it was your country-woman Nigella who coined the term, “gastro-porn”, after all….

    All things bright and beautiful…I say! Rather!!



  23. IslandEAT Says:

    Hi, Jax. I had never come across a “muffcake” until this morning, and I am still blushing from my interpretation of this neologism. So imagine my surprise at the discovery….

    Anyway, between this and those two cookbooks on Island Vittles Theresa didn’t want (you know what I am talking about), I totally “get” the expression coined by your country woman Nigella “gastro-porn”.

    I do admire your creativity in exploring all the nooks-and-crannies and permutations of the “muffcake”. Well done! Rather!!



  24. sophia Says:

    Okay so I’m not so much into cakes, but I adore muffins, so I think I would LOVe a muffcake. Esp when it’s got such a cute name, and open to all sorts of creativity! And I want to learn how to pronounce a “muffcake” like you do. all cute and elegant and proper at the same time. ;-)

  25. justcooknyc Says:

    this is pretty funny. i liked the blooper hidden at the end of the video.

  26. Milla Says:

    Jolly good and delicious sounding – yum! What an inspiration to get into the kitchen.

    Loving the film credits – go Momma Lee!!


  27. Jackie Says:

    Thanks guys – glad you’re all enjoying my Muffcakes, make sure you send some love out to the rest of the Muff Mafia, too!

    Mariko – Momma Lee was loving the muffcakery ;)

    Lyndsay – nice to meet you too! Thanks for dropping by the blog!

    Jax x

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