It’s all about crumb.

Yesterday I left off talking about the differences between cakes and muffins. But why talk when I can show? Let’s start with a small wedge of cake, cut cross-wise to reveal what’s under the hood:

We have a few larger holes here, but notice how small and regular most of the rest of them are. Notice also the yellow color and satiny sheen you get from all those extra eggs. You can tell what this is going to feel like in your mouth just by looking at it, can’t you? Very moist and tender and just a little bit crumbly. Now compare that to a muffin:

Here we see a very different thing. Lots of larger holes and a larger average hole size. Add to that a paler color and a crumb that could easily pass for sandwich bread if the brown sugar topping wasn’t so obvious around the edges. There’s no mistaking that this crumb is flour-heavy, and mixed in such a way that it left uneven pockets of leavening here and there. The good news is that there are no long “tunnels”, a telltale sign of overmixing. Though it isn’t cake, it’s still a very fluffy and tender crumb, I can vouch for that fact myself (*burp*). A very well-mixed muffin.

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