Pumpkin and Cream Cheese Muffins are really my all-time favourite muffins – BY FAR! They are absolutely sensational.
No really, you don’t understand… they are sensational!
If you’ve read my About page, you will know that I have a thing for Butternut Squash. I would live on it alone if I could. Apparently our bodies need protein as well. Bummer. One of my favourite flavour combos with butternut, is cheese! Feta, cream cheese, mozzarella, you name it.
I guess it’s the salty combined with the sweet, but it’s also so much more than that… They are just made for each other.
Back when I first started out baking for Coffee Shops, I baked for a place called Field Office. The manager and I were constantly strategizing and bouncing flavour ideas back and forth for different muffins and cupcakes. I started searching online for more ideas and found a post on “Top 20 muffin flavours” or something like that.
Most of them looked quite nice, but nothing grabbed me… Until the words “Pumpkin” and “Cream Cheese” graced my screen. I made my own version of this recipe using butternut squash (obviously) and changing the cream cheese filling, so that it resembles cheesecake.
The crunchy, salted butter pecan crumble is the ultimate crown, providing a buttery, nutty crunch to the whole experience!
These Pumpkin & Cream Cheese muffins were flying off the shelves at Field Office. Everyone loved them! The manager & I were so elated that we had found the Nemo of the muffin world!
How you cook the butternut will completely determine the quality of your muffins. You don’t want to boil it to death. Make sure you keep it on a medium heat and once it is soft, remove it from the heat.
The butternut also shouldn’t be submerged in water. Simply pour about 5 mm of water in the bottom of the pot so that you are essentially steaming it. If you prefer steaming it altogether, that is also fine. I don’t have a steamer, so I prefer using a small pot on a stove. Also add 1/2 tsp salt when cooking the butternut.
The Cream Cheese filling does need to be made in advance and frozen for at least 4 hours. Using it straight away encourages the batter to mix with it which leaves the amazing cream cheese center a bit sparse and not so amazing.
Most bakers insist on using unsalted butter in their cakes and I totally get that. This is a muffin though and salted butter makes the crumble topping ridiculously good!
A moist, tender, warmly spiced pumpkin muffin with a slightly caramelized cream cheese center and a crown of pecan crumble on top – it is the PERFECT incentive to wake up in the morning!
- 60 g Whipping Cream
- 140 g Cream Cheese
- 30 g Granulated Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 50 g Cake Flour
- 35 g Granulated Sugar
- 15 g Pecans, roughly chopped
- ⅓ tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 25 g Salted Butter
- 205 g Cake Flour
- 6 g Baking Powder
- ⅓ tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
- ½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
- ½ Tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon ground ginger, ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves)
- 1 tsp Salt
- 80 g Eggs
- 130 g Granulated Sugar
- 230 g Cooked/Steamed Butternut (250 g raw), mashed up. Cook the butternut as described in the Recipe Introduction.
- ¼ cup Water, room temperature
- ½ cup Canola Oil
- ½ Tbsp Vanilla Extract
- Make the Cream Cheese Filling at least 4 hours before you plan on making the actual muffins. It will need time to freeze solid. This can be done up to 2 weeks in advance if desired.
- Whip cream to stiff peaks. Beat in the cream cheese till smooth. Beat in the sugar and vanilla. Allow to stand for 5 minutes so that the sugar can melt. Beat again till smooth. Place in freezer for at least 4 hours.
- To make the pecan crumble, melt the butter in a heat proof bowl.
- Add in the flour, sugar and cinnamon. Stir with a fork to combine thoroughly. There will be some clumps - this is exactly what you want. Stir in the pecans.
- Preheat oven to 180˚C/350˚F. Line a standard muffin tin with 10 paper liners; set aside.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. At this point also remove your frozen cream cheese mixture from the freezer – this will make it easier to scoop out when the time comes.
- Beat together the eggs and sugar in a large bowl for 1 minute, till pale and fluffy. Add in the vanilla, water, butternut and oil. Whisk to combine. From here on work with a handheld balloon whisk.
- Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk to combine well.
- Fill your liners about halfway full and keep the rest of the batter for later.
- Using a sturdy spoon or ice cream scoop, scoop 23 g of the cream cheese mixture into each case. 23 g is really the ideal amount. More will make it spill over into the oven and less is too sad.
- Divide the rest of your batter between the 10 muffins. Be sure to cover all the cream cheese poking out.
- Spoon the pecan crumble on top of each muffin. Use all of it. Be sure to spread it out so that all the batter is covered.
- Bake at 180˚C/350˚F in the center of your oven for 40 minutes on the regular bake setting. Do not use the convection or thermo-fan setting. TURN THE TIN EVERY 10 MINUTES for a perfectly even bake. Place a large roasting tray underneath the muffins just in case any drippings of cream cheese cook out.
- Allow these boys (because they are definitely not girls) to cool for at least 40 minutes before eating. The cream cheese filling gets piping hot in the cooking process.
- Eat and enjoy!
These sublime Pumpkin and Cream Cheese Muffins age exceptionally well… They actually get better, believe it or not. I prefer not to eat them straight out of the oven.
It’s like the spices need time to develop or something? Like a curry. Now this is totally up to you, but I make my muffins the day before and then just pop them in the oven for 5-10 minutes to warm through again before serving.
Funky Fact: These muffins pair SUPER well with beer!!
Thanks for reading! If you give this recipe a go, tag me on facebook, twitter or instagram #philosophyofyum because I would LOVE to see!