No-Longer-Relevant Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Several months late is better than never, no?  I mean, what’s less seasonal more unexpected than bringing two dozen pumpkin cream cheese muffins to your ex-boyfriend’s little brother’s girlfriend’s neighbor’s uncle’s Superbowl party?  Yah, nothing.  Thought so.  Live a little!

I am not a decisive person.  Sometimes, when I don’t know what to eat for lunch, I’ll think about it for three hours, starved, until I realize I’ll never make a decision, and make the same thing I ate for breakfast, which is either swiss cheese broiled atop an English muffin or creamy peanut butter spread atop an English muffin.  (If you think that’s not enough food, don’t worry, I always wash down my mini-meals with seven or eight servings of fruit.)  So, yeah, when I wanted to bake something pumpkin-y, it only took me four days of incessant googling, cookbook-scavenging, and harassing my husband—oh, yeah, we got married by the way—via gchat, text message, e-mail, phone, and eye contact with questions very much like these:

  • “Boo, should I make pumpkin bread or pumpkin muffins?”
  • “Boo, should I make healthy pumpkin muffins or cream cheese ones?”
  • “Ryry, should I bake at all?  I don’t know, I could read instead.”
  • “Boo, do you even like pumpkin?”
  • What shouuuuld I brake tonsils?   (That’s iPhone for “what should I bake tonight?”)
  • “Maybe I’ll go to my second yoga class ever, I’m so stressed, you know?”
  • “What are you in the mood for?”
  • “Will you bring them to your office so we don’t eat all of whatever it is I may or may not bake?”
  • “That’s cool that you got a promotion… um, but what should I bake?”
  • “Can you buy me flour on your way home?”

Anyway, I finally, finally, finally settled upon a well-rated pumpkin muffin recipe with cream cheese filling that I found online.   I have this memory of, freshman year of college, eating 1/4 of such a muffin.  Then the security guard at Canter Film Center saw me and was all like, “you can’t eat in here, put it away” and that was that.

I made only a few changes to the original recipe, mostly cutting out some of the fat.  I subbed more than half the oil with applesauce, and used reduced fat cream cheese (Neuchâtel cheese) for the filling instead of regular cream cheese.  I added lemon zest, vanilla, and powdered sugar to brighten up the filling, so I guess using reduced fat cream cheese was kinda pointless in the end.  Just replacing fat with sugar, but I would have added the sugar to the full-fat frosting anyway, so whatever.  I mean, they’re muffins.

Anyway, these are very good, and they keep pretty well in an air-tight container.  We stored them in a Tupperware  inside of our new bread box.  They are lovely with a glass of milk.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

for the muffins:

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cloves

4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

4 eggs

2 cups canned pumpkin puree

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

chopped walnuts, pecans, or pumpkin seeds + decorators’ sugar, optional

for the cream cheese filling:

8 ounces Neuchâtel cheese

zest of one small lemon

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a freezer-safe bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, add the Neuchâtel cheese, lemon zest, and vanilla, and mix until combined.  Add in confectioners’ sugar and mix until well-combined.  It doesn’t have to be frosting-y, just well mixed and kinda fluffy.
  3. Cover the cheese mixture and freeze it while you work on the muffins.
  4. In a large bowl add all the dry ingredients and whisk together until combined.
  5. In another large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, combined the wet ingredients.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet.  If necessary, do so in batches.  Until well-combined… I did this with my stand mixer.
  7. Pour the muffin batter into the paper-lined muffin tins, filling each mold about 2/3 full.
  8. Remove the cheese filling from the freezer.  Using a tablespoon ice cream scoop to easily transfer uniformly sized dollops of filling from the bowl to the muffin.  Then press down on the filling with the back of a spoon until it has basically disappeared.  You’ll get the hang of this after a couple of muffins.  It’s kinda just like magic.  (And if doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t actually matter.)
  9. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with chopped walnuts, pecans, or pumpkin seeds, if you’d like.  I also sprinkled mine with decorator’s coarse sugar crystals.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees for about 23 – 25 minutes. (Well, I make my muffins a little bigger so it yielded only 21 or so and they take about 23 – 25 minutes.  If you make 24, check the muffins at 20 and see if a toothpick comes out clean.)
  11. Allow muffins to cool on a rack for 5 minutes, then remove them from the pan and allow them to cool to room temperature on the rack.

Hoping to post more often.  Happy New Year.

2 Responses to “No-Longer-Relevant Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins”
  1. Judy K says:

    They look yummy! Do you deliver?

  2. Those look incredible! I love all things pumpkin!!!

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