Contest: Cupcake v. Muffin, Round 1: Toppings

After doing an informal survey of my readers and twitter friends, it appears that there is still life in the controversy of "Which is better? Cupakes or Muffins?" Therefore, I propose a series of challenges, with each round getting a prize.

Cupcakes have been in the public eye for a while. Perhaps too long, as there are those who believe that they are passé. I say good food is never passé, but I also say that muffins are clearly superior to cupcakes. So, let's find out the which is better the semi-scientific way.

Round 1: Toppings. This should be an advantage to the cupcake, because cupcakes are generally synonymous with toppings, but who can say? The challenge is to come up with a recipe for a cupcake or a muffin that is topped. You'll want to consider the flavor and texture balance with the muffin or cupcake itself, how much topping, and so on. A topping is anything that sits on top of the confection and is added after the confection is baked. There should not have to be extraordinary measures taken to ensure that the topping stays. If the judge can't walk across the room without the topping falling off, then it's not really a topping.

The prize for Round 1 is a copy of Shirley Corriher's Bakewise. If the winner already has Bakewise, we can determine a suitable replacement prize.

Okay, get to it. Rules are below.



  1. Create or find a cupcake or muffin recipe that will best fit the challenge of the current round. Submit that recipe as a comment on the rounds' announcement post. You must have claimed your comments with a valid disqus account, so I will be able to contact you if you win.

  2. For any given recipe, it can only be entered once throughout the entire competition. The first person to enter the recipe based on the order that it appears in the comment feed is the person who gets to claim that recipe. Slight variations will not be counted. The judging panel will determine if a recipe is too similar to an older recipe.

  3. A muffin is defined as any hand-held confection assembled primarily via the muffin method: combine dry ingredients, combine wet ingredients, mix together briefly, and bake.

  4. A cupcake is defined as any hand-held confection assembled primarily via any non-muffin cake method, such as the creaming method.

  5. A recipe can be submitted as a link or in the body of a comment. If the recipe is a link, and it changes at some point, the recipe that the judges happened to get is the one that will be judged. If a modification is submitted to a recipe, the modification will only be used if the entry has not been judged up to this point.

  6. Judging will be a panel of entrants lead by Brian J. Geiger (The Food Geek). In the case of a tie, The Food Geek gets an extra vote or two as necessary. Judges may not enter the round that they are judging. The judging panel can change from round to round. Bear in mind that the judges have to make these concoctions, so if it is a particularly complicated or difficult recipe, and we do it poorly, then the results will be judged based on what is made, not what is intended. Needing special equipment aside from a standard-sized muffin tin will be frowned upon.

  7. Each round will be given a certain number of points, based on the importance of the challenge to the overall question of Confection Superiority. Once points are totaled, the winner will be declared. In the case of a tie, muffins win, as The Food Geek prefers muffins.

  8. Friends or family of The Food Geek or the judging panel are welcome to enter, but don't expect special treatment. If I don't get a birthday gift this year because you had a bad recipe, the you should be ashamed of yourself.

  9. Judging will take as long as it takes. I make no promises as to how quickly we can get through the entries.

  10. If there is not enough interest in the contest, I will declare an end to it before judging any particular round. The winner will be based on points up to that round.

  11. If problems are found with the rules, they will be amended in the round during which the problem is found. If that affects a recipe, then the judges will be called upon to make a ruling as to if the recipe gets by under the old rules or has to follow the new.

Updated at 8:30 AM on Monday, February 16 to clarify the challenge for this round.