Pumpkin and Cream Cheese Muffins with Pecan Streusel

Autumn, Breakfast / Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Have you ever baked something and felt like the recipe was missing a step?

That’s what happened to me with these muffins.

They’re moist. They’re cakey. They have just the right amount of pumpkin, spice and crunchy pecan streusel. But LOOK at that ribbon of cream cheese! It’s drifting! Into the ozone layer!

Now, I know why.

The cream cheese filling needs to be chilled so that it stays in the center of the muffin.

Just shape the filling into a log, wrap it, and pop it into the freezer for about an hour. This will give it enough time to firm up, so you’ll be able to slice the cream cheese log into 24 rounds and place one right in the center of each muffin.


This recipe will give you a fairly subtle cream cheese center, so if you want something more like a pumpkin-flavored Hostess Cup Cake, double the cream cheese filling, and send me one.

Pumpkin and Cream Cheese Muffins with Pecan Streusel

Adapted from “Country Living” and Annie’s Eats

Makes 24

    Filling (Double this amount if you really love cream cheese.):

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped finely
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    Pumpkin Batter:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups solid-pack pumpkin (or 1 1/4 cups fresh pumpkin puree, drained)
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 12-cup standard muffin tins or use paper liners. Set aside.
  2. For 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 for about an hour.
  3. For the Pecan Streusel: In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, pecans, butter, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  4. For the Pumpkin Batter: Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and spices in a large bowl.
  5. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the pumpkin, eggs, oil, and vanilla.
  6. 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.
  7. Remove the cream cheese from the freezer, and divide it into 24 slices.
  8. Evenly divide half of the batter among the muffin cups. Place 1 slice of the cream cheese log right in the center of each cup, pressing the cream cheese gently into the batter without submerging it. Fill with the remaining batter.
  9. Sprinkle some of the pecan streusel on top of each muffin.
  10. Bake until golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

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41 thoughts on “Pumpkin and Cream Cheese Muffins with Pecan Streusel

  1. Hot damn. Those are the only words I could think of when I saw this. Man they are speaking to me, no yelling at me right now. I need some NOW! YUM!

  2. Wow! These muffins sound and look delicious! I haven't been able to find canned pumpkin in any grocery stores around here yet. I'm sure waiting because I love baking with pumpkin. I'm definitely going to make these muffins and I think I will take your advice and double the cream cheese filling. I like the thought of sinking my teeth into a nice gooey cream cheese filling and lots of it!

    Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Oh frick. These "muffins" look wonderful. I like that the frosting is hidden inside so I don't have to feel bad about eating them for breakfast…and lunch.

  4. Rebecca, you need to be nominated for a Nobel prize! I have a recipe for a red velvet cake that you bake in a Bundt pan with a cream cheese filling instead of a frosting, and the levitation of the cream cheese ribbon has forever pissed me off. Now I know how to fix it!

  5. You are an evil woman. As soon as we are finished moving I am making these. Double filling, of course. I may even share 1 or 2.

  6. OK I loved the look of these so much I am making them right now! :-) One question though, are all the amounts of spices correct? I mean, 2 TABLEspoons of pumpkin pie spice? I didn't even have that much left in my jar, so I just dumped what was left in the bowl. Also I took down the cloves and nutmeg to 1/2 tsp…. maybe it's just my personal thing but it seemed like a LOT of spices! Or is this supposed to be intentional? A richly spiced cake??? Just wondering! Oh and I increased the pumpkin to about 1.5 cups to use up an entire can (I don't know what I'd do with the rest?) I won't blame you if my version turns out bland, but so far the batter looks amazing! Thanks!

    1. Hey, Lauren! Let me know if you think the spices need to be dialed back. I made these the day after I had some hot chicken (it's a Nashville thing – super ultra-spicy fried chicken), and it's completely possible that my tastebuds were just fried. Let me know if the spices seem off, and I'll bake another batch and make some adjustments. Thanks!

      1. Oh spicy chicken eh? Sounds good :) OK so I baked these last night, and they are pretty good! Even with my spice reductions I still thought the clove (I think that is what I am tasting?) came through a little strong for my tastes. I'm guessing the amount of pumpkin pie spice I had left was around 3 teaspoons, I kept the cinnamon at 2 tsp, and the cloves and nutmeg I did at 1/2 tsp. I am thinking next time I will do 1/4 tsp of cloves and nutmeg perhaps? I know pumpkin pie spice already has some nutmeg in it anyways! These were still really tasty muffins and delicious hot out of the oven!!!! I didn't even get my cream cheese filling to freeze all the way (I was too impatient) and they still worked out great. Thanks for getting me to make my first pumpkin dessert of the fall :-)

  7. Wow! Made these last night and they are the diggety-bomb! I used the spices as written and I thought they were just spicy enough. I also had trouble getting my cream cheese filling to freeze. Had it in the freezer for an hour and still really wet, but it still worked out great in the muffins. Thanks for the recipe!

  8. My frkn god, you're the queen of the kitchen! Looks all sooooo good and beautiful. Keep on posting ánd cooking! Love from The Netherlands!

  9. I was on the hunt for new pumpkin recipes and found myself here. Love it!! These look amazing, can't wait to try them. I decided this year that I was done making plain old pumpkin pie (which I don't even like) and was going to kick my pumpkin up a notch. Thanks for sharing!!


  10. These were awesome! I made them last weekend and I am making them again this coming week! Great with coffee!

  11. Made these this morning. Halved the recipe and ended up losing patience with measuring so just eye-balled a lot of ingredients. Turned out VERY good!!! Two tough parts: (1) knowing when they were completely baked since the cream cheese doesn't allow you to use the toothpick test (I think mine could've used 2-3 more minutes in the oven on top of the 25 I'd had them in), (2) eating just one.

  12. Made these yesterday morning and am finishing them off this morning. My sisters, kids, nieces & husband loved them! Thanks for the great recipe.

  13. my roommate and I tried it but weren't patient enough to freeze the cream cheese. it ended up exploding out the top of the muffin and leaving a hole in the center. It still tasted great, but we learned our lesson.

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