To make muffins and plum cakes you can use traditional 82% fat butter, which is a butter made before the skimming of milk, ideal for cake doughs, or 99% anhydrous liquid butter oil, which has a melting point of 17 ° C, and is therefore liquid at room temperature. In the first case the soft butter is put into the mixing bowl and whipped before adding the sugar, eggs and flour, little by little. In the case of liquid butter, however, the ingredients are added all at once, without whipping. The difference is that in the first case the mixture is lighter with more air and therefore the final product will be more porous, but will tend to dry out quicker, and have a shorter shelf life. The product made with the butter liquid, however, is more compact, but softer and has a longer shelf life.
The balance of the ingredients
Muffins and plum cakes are very similar, but as a rule the proportion of butter in plum cakes goes from 16% to 25%, while in the muffin it is 2 points lower. The plum cake is a 4/4 offspring, which historically consists of 25% of flour, butter, eggs and sugar. Over the years that changed in a thousand variations, with different ratios of the various ingredients. The correct balance of a modern plum cake, in my opinion, is as follows:
• 20% fat
• 12-15% sugar
• 0.8-1% baking powder
• 9-11% eggs
• 20% mixed peel or chocolate
• 33% flour
Muffins, as we said, have less fat and sugar and more liquid and flour. Generally muffins are softer, but being of a smaller size they tend to be dry. To overcome this drawback invert sugar is normally used, because it binds water and increases the shelf life. However, be careful as invert sugar sweetens 1.3 times more compared to 100g of sugar, which is why the latter is reduced by about 30%.
Technical tips for cooking
It is very important to leave the dough to rest in the fridge for 2 to 4 hours before baking, because the butter creates a barrier effect which helps the cake to rise and, on the whole, all the dough will mature better. Be careful however, as if you exceed 4 hours the moisture could dissolve the yeast and the success of the final product may be compromised. In this case you should use a specific baking powder. Ideally, these types of mixtures, should be cooked in a static oven, which help the development of the product. Alternatively a fan oven works well as it keeps the temperature constant. The ideal temperature is about 180-200 ° C in a static oven, and 150-170 ° C in a fan oven. The cooking times will vary according to size, from 35 to 45 minutes for a 380-450 g plum cake and 18-20 minutes for 80 gram muffins.