May 24, 2010

Best, easiest almond cup cakes ever

What is the difference between cupcakes and muffins? I have not the faintest clue.

Ten years ago when I stepped foot in a nearby Walmart for the first time I encountered muffins, which looked like the cupcake’s chunkier older sibling. I did not for a moment suspect that the difference in name equated to the difference in taste. After all, coriander was cilantro, okra was American for ladyfinger and lady fingers were Italian dessert not to mention brinjal was eggplant! So who could blame me when I decided to get the 12-pack of muffins anticipating the delicious, subtly flavored cupcakes that the local bakeries sell back home.

It is to be noted that I was forewarned by him of the huge difference in taste. I, of little faith, did not want to believe him. To me, it was a slice of home and I had to have it.

Ten years to that fateful day I haven’t gone near a muffin for money or love. A cupcake is another matter altogether. I will eat it any day of the week, if I can just manage to find them in a country obsessed with mass production of everything including baked goods.
Was it any wonder then that when I chanced upon a cupcake recipe, it was from a French chef? Yes, one of the most venerable and exalted of French chef’s in America, Jacque Peppin. Regular readers of this blog will remember my paean to him when I posted his Tibetan Skillet Bread. If you thought the bread was easy, wait till you try these almond cup cakes which Jacque’s calls mini almond cakes.

The recipe is simple, with just five ingredients and a splash of vanilla, I added to simulate that home like taste. It all comes together in the time it takes to preheat the oven and best of all, no fancy baking equipment. A food processor is all you need.

Here’s a video of him making the aforementioned mini cakes.

In theme with the simple to make cupcakes, this post will also be short and simple. Without further ado, here’s the recipe.

Makes: 4 cupcakes*

1/4 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup AP Flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 egg
2 tbsp melted butter
Splash of vanilla (my addition and optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with liners.
Grind the almonds to a fine powder. Add the flour, sugar and baking powder. Give it a whirr to mix.
Add the melted butter, egg and splash of vanilla. Mix till everything is incorporated, about a minute.
Divide equally in the muffin cups and bake for 12-15 minutes till a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Cool and serve with fruits, ice cream or just eat them plain.

*Measurements can be doubled, tripled or quadrupled to make 8, 12 or 16 muffins.

A research into difference between cupcakes and muffins came up with these views on an internet forum. The most interesting post was this:

If you threw a cupcake against a wall, you would hear something of a “poof”! If you threw a muffin, you would hear a “thud!”

Sounds good to me (no pun intended).

The delicious cupcakes are being shipped to the Versatile Vegetarian Kitchen's weekly bake off event.


  1. Really really easy cupcake recipe , and it is a good visual treat as the pictures are great as always.

    A reply is overdue and i know you will excuse me Jaya.

  2. LOL at the inference you reached :P

    I think cupcakes are made with cake flour, or AP flour with a mini cake in mind, while muffins are healthier with less butter?

    Plus, cupcakes are frosted and muffins are not!

    But I can see why this is so easy!

  3. This is the most easy recipe of cupcakes I have seen...looks gud...

  4. Almond cupcakes sound yumm!!!

  5. wow..really easy one..bookmarked this..thanks for the recipe dear!

  6. Wonderfuly raised Almond cakes, so yummy. I love the taste Almonds.God one Jaya.

    I love the idea of frying refrigerated roti like Batura!! Sounds easy and tasty too. Must try. Even frying Tortillas make a great snack sprinkled with some chilli pd or Chaat masala!:))

  7. I was laughing at 'If you throw a cupcake at wall...' very funny. Your recipe is perfect for small families to try it out. Thanks for the entry.

  8. Great post!! The cupcakes look wonderful.

  9. I heard a cupcake had frosting and a muffin didn't, in American, that is. We only knew cupcakes, didn't we?

  10. @Sra: you are right. we didn't know cupcakes with frosting but here it cupcakes with frosting and muffins without.

  11. The cupcakes do look so good Jaya! I think a little vanilla is needed if you are using eggs. A quick and hence a must try recipe. :-)

  12. Even I have no clue about the difference btw them. For me , as long as it tastes good and is soft and moist, cupcakes or muffins , I'll gobble them down :)

    This one is so easy and I am so tempted to give them a try right away!

  13. Jaya,
    GK is still on and I am glad you are willing to host it despite your tight schedule. Rules have been altered and you should be posting the announcement during the month you are hosting so you will be posting the recipe in the first week of August.
    Thank you again and shoot me an email if you have any more questions.

  14. first time here, luv ur space :)

  15. LOL at the "poof" and "thud"...and your Muffin does SOUND good :-)

  16. hey, thanks for visiting and your compliment. I must say i too adore this man. I met him once for a work event--he could not have been kinder. I am glad to find your blog as well.

  17. hey i love facelift you've given your blog!

    I made these cupcakes last night, with one teeny change - I put in some chopped almond -chocolate bar I had lying in the fridge - and they were awesome! Thanks, it is easy to make so I let my daughter do the mixing and she was thrilled to bits at turning a baker!

  18. Jaya

    The theme is optional but would love to have both the entries

  19. @Aqua: I was thinking how to add chocolate to this recipe. Thanks for the idea and glad your daughter loved making these.

    @Bong Mom: Working on it right away.

  20. Raining almonds and cupcakes/ muffins? Naw, more like "thudding" and "poofing"! LOL

    I haven't seen muffins here, just giant cupcakes in the guise of muffins! :)

    IMO, the essential difference between cupcakes and muffins is in the method of making them.
    Cupcakes are essentially cakes in "cups", ie small cupcakes. Here the butter and sugar is usually creamed and there's a lot of beating/ mixing that gives them their soft texture.
    Muffins, on the other hand, are quick breads where the dry ingredients are mixed with the wet ingredients. Over mixing is not desired here, as this would produce chewy and rubbery muffins.

  21. Aparna, that is a close up of a regular sized cupcake. :)
    Thanks for the clarification on cupcaks and muffins. I think I will call mine a hybrid.

  22. Lovely cup cakes.would like to grab them....
    Thanks for sharing...
    Do drop in sometime


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