Monday, October 18, 2010

Raspberry almond snack cakes

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.

19 comments:

  1. Ah a fellow muffin/cupcake philosopher. I've never quite managed to work out the difference between the two. A snack cake however is a new breed I've yet to encounter, and they do look perfect. I sure could eat two when no one was looking :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love that you're calling it a snack cake! Very Hostess-fab of you. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Looks yummy, is that crumble topping mixed in too? I grew up with two almond trees in my backyard and have a great fondness for all things almondy...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your snack cakes turned out really cute! You're right, I like anything small. Portion control, you know. I think a snack cake should have some crumble on top, almost like a coffee cake, but not as big a slice to make it a full-fledge coffee cake. As for cupcakes, I think they're different from a muffin because cupcakes have a frosting topping and nothing inside while muffins don't have frosting and often has something like dried fruits or nuts in the batter. Or we can call them all gooooood.

    ReplyDelete
  5. shaz: glad I could introduce you to the snack cake! It's a lovely breed.

    Erin: Ha! Thanks.

    foodhoe: no, no crumble topping but what a great idea!

    Ben: I wholly agree with your assessment of muffin v. cupcake--you're totally right, cupcakes should NEVER have bits of anything in them--just smooth lovely cake!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Definitely....cupcakes have frosting! So your "snack cake" is really a muffin. :)

    I love little mini mouthfuls like these. And raspberry and almond together...divine.

    ReplyDelete
  7. These snack cakes or cross between a muffin and a cupcake look mighty tasty. You are right, easy to eat for breakfast or any other part of the day. These snack cakes are sophisticated and have a simple elegance too. As always, nice!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Mmm, raspberries and almonds! That's a pairing I can never get enough of.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Love topping my muffins - er, snack cakes - with sliced almonds. I learned my muffin/cupcake lesson as a child, when, at the bakery my mom sometimes took us to after school, I asked for a poppyseed muffin and the salesguy told me in no uncertain terms that this was a cupcake, because it had frosting. Cream cheese frosting. What were we talking about?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Barbara: I agree, raspberries and almonds are made for each other!

    Velva: I love a cake that is appropriate any time of day.

    CJ: Agreed.

    camille: Were you off in a little cream cheese frosting daydream there?? Me too!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I think your taxonomy works...I have a recipe for chocolate "muffins", and while they lack frosting they are all but impossible to pass off as breakfast fare. Snack cakes? Definitely, since eating one cries out for a cup of coffee, tea, or maybe even dessert wine.

    ReplyDelete
  12. it's so pretty! i love the look that raspberries give to baked goods, and the sliced almonds imply subtle elegance. very nice muffin/cupcake snackers. :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Whatever you choose to call it, it looks absolutely delicious! Hand one over here daaaaahling!
    *kisses* HH

    ReplyDelete
  14. Jary: I'd like the recipe for those chocolate snack cakes, please!

    grace: Agreed about the almonds, they really dress anything up!

    HH: Thanks, lady!

    ReplyDelete
  15. These are so pretty! And the texture looks wonderfully moist. Raspberries & Almonds . .divine :)
    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Loving all these flavors in portable form. :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Grapefruit: Thanks, and thank YOU for stopping by!

    oneordinaryday: I love a portable snack!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I could live with those rules... They look so good, by the way, I want one (or a few)!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Connie: thanks, give them a try!

    ReplyDelete