What's the difference between a muffin and a cupcake? Sugar content? Delicacy of crumb? The time of day you enjoy it?
Compelling arguments can be made for each of those points, but I say a cupcake absolutely must have frosting, icing, or, in a pinch, a little glaze dribbled on top. Without any such enhancement, a small, individually-wrapped, even rather sweet baked good might be able to squeak by calling itself a muffin. It could absolutely call itself a snack cake, and snack cakes can be eaten whenever, wherever.
That was my reasoning behind these raspberry almond snack cakes I made recently, when I was looking for something to make for breakfast using some raspberries I had on hand. I was originally thinking about raspberry muffins, but when I found this recipe for Raspberry-Yogurt Cake, I thought with a few adjustments, it could make charming little snack cakes. That way I could get away with eating them in the morning.
So I halved the recipe and dropped the batter into the tins. The cakes seemed to need some kind of dressing up, and since I had already decided to skip the glaze, instead I sprinkled some sliced almonds on each one. Into the hot box they went.
Small things are cute, aren't they?
In addition to being cute, they were soft, delicious, and super moist, perfumed with almond extract and dotted with sweet-tart raspberries. The almonds added a perfect crunch.
So what makes a snack cake a snack cake, and not a muffin or a cupcake? According to me, it should be sweeter than a muffin, but you must be able to consume it without lamenting its lack of frosting. It should be simple to throw together--nothing requiring layers or sifting--but slightly more refined than the plain old muffin. And, perhaps most importantly, you must be able to be eat it any time of day: in the morning with coffee, after dinner as a humble dessert, or in the middle of the afternoon, when no one is around to see you eat one, or two.