It seems like muffins evolved over the last 20 or 30 years into miniature cakes. They are baked in muffin tins in muffin-shaped paper linings, but they are different. They aren’t like the muffins we ate as children back in the 1950s and 1960s. Those were homemade from scratch, not from a mix and certainly not from a bakery or coffee shop.
Muffins often have fruit baked in them and are thus more of a breakfast food than cupcakes would be. They don’t have icing on top, so that distinguishes them from cupcakes too. The texture and sweetness of modern muffins seems more and more like cupcakes these days.
Back when I grew up, we learned to make muffins in 4-H. They were bread-like, not sweet and cake-like. The old-style muffins benefited from liberal applications of butter then spread with jam or jelly. At times we put apple butter on them. These were the kind of muffins my mother ate as a child in the 1930s and baked for her young family in the 1940s.
Recently in a fit of nostalgia, my sister made some old-fashioned muffins for me. They tasted just as good as I remembered. She used the vintage Household Searchlight Recipe Book (published by Household Magazine) that Mom always used.
(Originally published on the Daily Two Cents website by Virginia Allain)