16 Oct 2010 Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

My new favorite pumpkin recipe, and my new favorite muffin recipe, just in time for your fall weekend baking:  Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin!  Am I your favorite food blogger, or what?!  This recipe is all over the food blogs right now, and I am a bit late-for-the-train in posting it (one of the casualties of the lost camera saga).

This muffin has been likened to the Starbucks Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffins.  I think that’s a fair comparison, but I like this recipe better, for two reasons.  One,  I think the Starbucks muffin cook is heavy handed with the cloves, this recipe has no cloves, and that’s a very good thing.   Two, you can make two dozen of these muffins for the cost of buying just two muffins from Starbucks. Yes.  I said twenty-four muffins.

Unfortunately this recipe makes 24 muffins.  Not that I am opposed to 24 muffins, but I hardly ever need or want that many.  I try to have each muffin recipe make 12 muffins, which is usually more than enough for a home cook. I tried to cut this recipe in half and I tried to cut it down to two-thirds.  Neither attempt worked.  The muffins were dry.  The twenty-four muffin recipe is not dry, so you’ll just have to make them all.  Invite the neighborhood over!  Drop some off at a friend’s house! Have a bake sale!  Give some to the gardener or your child’s teacher! These muffins stay moist for several days.

Start this recipe the night before.  The cream cheese filling needs to sit in the freezer for at least a few hours, and overnight is fine, before baking.  That’s ANOTHER great thing about this recipe. FINALLY, a method that works for inserting a cream cheese layer into a baked goods.  Ohhh, it’s a good day to be stopping by my kitchen!

I have inserted three options for the topping of the muffins.  The fourth option is to not add a topping to the muffin.  These muffins really don’t need a sweet topping. The cream cheese layer, and the muffin itself, are sweet enough.  I found the struesel layer to be just a bit too much.  Imagine me saying that!  Me,  a Sweet Tooth Queen!  I like the idea of sprinkling a few pumpkin seeds on top (the green ones, pepitas), which is what Starbucks does, but I couldn’t find pumpkin seeds the last time I was at the store.  The muffin above has a slight sprinkling of raw sugar on top. I like the little crunch.

So, without any further ado…

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Cream Cheese Filling

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla

Optional Streusel Topping (see notes above):

½ cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup pecans, chopped finely
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Alternate toppings: a sprinkling of green pumpkin seeds (Pepitas) or raw sugar

Pumpkin Muffin Batter:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (or 1 ¼ cups fresh pumpkin puree, drained)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil
½ teaspoon vanilla extract


The night before: Make the cream cheese filling. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla, and blend to combine. Form the mixture into a log on a piece of plastic wrap, wrap it, and freeze it overnight, or at least an hour or two.

Preheat oven to 350 ºF. Line two 12-cup standard muffin tins with paper liners. Set aside.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and spices in a large bowl. In another bowl, lightly beat the pumpkin, eggs, oil and vanilla.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and pour the pumpkin mixture into the well. Mix with a fork just until moistened.

Remove the cream cheese from the freezer, and divide it into 24 slices. (I usually cut the log into 12 pieces then cut each of those pieces in half)

Evenly divide half of the batter among the muffin cups-about one tablespoon of batter in the bottom of each muffin cup. Place 1 slice of the cream cheese filling in the center of each cup.  Top the cream cheese with another tablespoon of batter.  Cover the cream cheese completely.

Sprinkle top of muffins with pumpkin seeds, raw sugar OR this Pecan Streusel. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, pecans, butter and cinnamon. Sprinkle some of the pecan streusel on top of each muffin.

Place muffins in a preheated oven and bake until golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on wire racks.  Muffins should be served at room temperature.  Hot cream cheese is really not very appetizing.

Happy Fall!  Go on, bake a batch of these, enjoy them with your family, friends and neighbors.  Here’s a picture of my grandson enjoying his.  He loves his Grandma’s muffins <3

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3 Responses
  1. jeanne says:

    I gave Danielle one of the pumpkins I grew and she can’t wait to make this recipe because it’s what she orders at Starbucks!!!

  2. Abby says:

    I brought a box of these home…and I ate one…then when I went back for more later that day…they had vanished….as it turned out- my roommate thoroughly enjoyed these.

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