Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Muffin Tops?

We went for a walk in Kensington Market the other day and sat down at one of our favorite cafés. When we were waiting for our Americanos I saw the muffins on display, still sitting in the tins they were baked in, and just couldn't resist getting one. When we were eating it we couldn't help but wonder how do they get them so puffy and big? It seems impossible at home. If you fill the tins right up they don't bake in the center, and if you bake them longer they burn or get dry. So I investigated the issue and found out some interesting facts.

First, most of the muffins you enjoy outside are massive because they are in fact yeasted cakes. Meaning, they have a much more serious leavening agent than the baking powder you normally use in home-baked muffins. Second, as yummy as butter can be, if you want a fluffy muffin, you gotta leave it out. What you want is lots of moisture, and no weight. But the prospect of leaving muffins to rise overnight didn't excite the impulsive baker in me, so I found a way to cheat. The power of baking powder and baking soda, when combined with an active dairy such as yogurt, coupled with the use of fresh fruits or veggies for moisture will do the trick. The resulting recipe is dead easy and pretty quick too. These are carrot muffins, but you could easily substitute shredded zucchini, apple, or fresh blueberries and as long as you keep the measurements the same, yours will be as big as ours!

Recipe: Massive Carrot Muffins

1c all purpose flour
1c whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
2/3c packed brown sugar
1/3c vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1c yogurt
1/4 tsp fresh grated ginger
a teaspoon of orange zest
1 1/4c shredded carrots
(optional: 1/2 c chopped walnuts)

preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a medium bowl, mix the flours with the baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, yogurt, ginger and orange zest. Add the dry ingredients in thirds, mixing until just combined. Finally, fold in the grated carrots (and walnuts).

Grease the muffin tins and scoop the batter in generously, filling them right to the top. Bake in the preheated 350 oven for 30-45 minutes and marvel at how they rise...


  1. these look AMAZING! i've been looking for a healthy carrot muffin recipe for god knows how long... and this one looks good enough to validate me making them :) plus... they're big. big muffins are good.

  2. Thanks for solving the mystery for me! I also always wondered why muffin recipes yielded these small stumpy muffins while muffins in stores and cafes had big tall muffin tops.
    I'll be trying your recipe :)