Baking Adventures | Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Recipes often end in one of two ways: fail or success. My last post about baking my first chocolate cake in years was, most decidedly, a big ol’ fail. That’s usually how it goes with my bakes; one recipe is a disaster, the next is a complete success. Now, mind you – I am not a recipe developer. I’m not a trained baker or chef. I’m your average homebody who’s learned random cooking things over her past twelve years of living alone.

Thank God I live next door to family on all sides. Otherwise, with all this baking I’ve done as of late, I would’ve never lost those fifteen pounds! They like it when I experiment, because they get to reap the benefits.

I also try to keep in mind the skill level of the individual attempting these recipes: namely, me. So many of my fails could be construed as “baker error.”

Still, not all recipes are created equal. They can say all they want that a recipe’s been tested, is a family favorite, has won awards and so forth. I’ve had some duds from several well-known websites over these past few months. But I gotta give credit where credit is due: this pumpkin cream cheese muffin recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction is one of my new favorites!

Having previously preferred simple steps when it comes to my bakes, I shocked even myself by trying this particular treat. And I never, never try anything that requires toppings of any sort. Boy oh boy was I wrong! Let’s take a look at the recipe first:

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins via Sally’s Baking Addiction

Ingredients – Crumb Topping

  • 1/4 cup (50g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (63g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, melted

Ingredients – Muffins

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (219g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
  • 2/3 cup (133g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (227g) canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil (or melted coconut oil)
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Ingredients – Cream Cheese Filling

  • 6 ounces (168g) block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons (36g) granulated sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Spray a 12-count muffin pan with nonstick spray or line with cupcake liners. This recipe makes 12-14 muffins, so you may need a 2nd muffin pan or bake this recipe in batches.
  2. Make the crumb-topping first: Combine the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix until combined. Add the melted butter and gently mix with a fork until crumbs form. Don’t over-mix into a paste. Just mix until it is crumbly. Set aside.
  3. Make the pumpkin batter: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice together in a large bowl. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the brown sugar, eggs, pumpkin, oil, milk, and vanilla extract together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk or stir until just combined. Avoid over-mixing.
  4. Make the cheesecake filling: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese in a medium bowl on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. Beat in the egg yolk, vanilla extract, and sugar until combined.
  5. Spoon 1 heaping Tablespoon of pumpkin muffin batter into the muffin cups. Layer with about 1 spoonful (not quite a full Tablespoon) of cheesecake filling, then another heaping Tablespoon of muffin batter– or however much batter is needed to fill the cups all the way to the top. Some cheesecake filling may poke out of the top or on the sides. Sprinkle crumb topping onto each, then press it down into the tops of the muffins to help prevent it from falling off as the muffins bake.
  6. Bake for 5 minutes 425°F (218°C) then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce heat to 350°F (177°C)* and continue baking for another 15-17 minutes. The total time these muffins should be in the oven is around 20-22 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes in the pan before serving.
  7. Cover leftover muffins tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

But I gotta give credit where credit is due: this pumpkin cream cheese muffin recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction is one of my new favorites!


Things I Didn’t Know Before Baking (That I Know Now)

  • Over-filling the muffin tin makes for great domes; just don’t be stingy with the crumb topping!
  • Pay attention to the quantities. I had too much filling left over and I really could’ve baked a second half batch.
  • I should’ve listened to my gut and used a cinnamon emulsion instead of just vanilla for the cream cheese filling.
  • Don’t use an off-brand cream cheese; for some reason it never truly got to room temp (or I was just impatient) and nuked it for 13 seconds in the microwave.
  • Use cookie scoops to fill the cups.

The Family’s Reaction

While it’s highly unusual for a Baking Adventures post to have so few images, I did manage to get a few shots of the muffins themselves before they were devoured. Of course, none of the above images come close in quality to those posted on the recipe’s main site. But still, I tried.

The muffins’ reception came with mixed reactions: half the family loved it and said I needed to bake them again. The other half wasn’t fond of the cream cheese filling but loved everything else about them.

Should I have gone with my gut instincts to add the cinnamon emulsion instead of the vanilla?

If I make these again in the coming months, I do believe some tweaking (no, no…I did not type twerking). The first swap will most definitely be the vanilla with the emulsion.

So you see: a recipe can be a new favorite yet still have room to grow with you as you learn more skills. I’m looking to up my baking game in 2022. How about you?

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