pumpkin cranberry cream cheese muffins

In yesterday’s post I offhandedly mentioned that I made a pumpkin cranberry cake. I learned later that that was a really cruel thing to do. It made a certain reader about die of dehydration by drooling. Naughty me.

Even before I received the desperate plea for the recipe, I was already working on yet another cranberry pumpkin cake recipe. Both cakes were good, but the second one was better—it’s a combination of Julie’s recipe and one I found in the local paper (that they, in turn, got from Epicurious).

It goes like this:

1. Roast a giant butternut squash or pumpkin, or simply toss a couple cans of pumpkin puree in the cart the next time you go shopping.

2. Mix up a pumpkin cake batter.

3. Enhance the pumpkin cake batter with a cup of chopped, frozen cranberries. Fresh, not dried.

4. In a separate bowl, make the cream cheese filling.

5. In cupcake-lined muffin tins, put a dollop of cake batter. Add a dollop of cream cheese filling. Put another dollop of cake batter and smooth it out so most of the cream cheese filling is covered. Dollop, dollop, dollop.

7. Sprinkle the muffins with demerara sugar.

8. Bake and eat. And eat and eat and eat.

Julie says these muffins are better than Starbucks. I’ve never had a Starbucks pumpkin muffin, but I’ll take her word for it.

an after-work snack

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
Adapted from Dinner with Julie and Epicurious

These muffins would be fine without the cream cheese filling. And in that case, I bet they’d be good iced with a cream cheese and pecan frosting.

If you have a couple oranges hanging about on the premises, think about adding the zest to the batter. Just a thought…

This recipe makes about 18 muffins. I made 12, plus two loaf minis. If you’d rather not deal with the muffin hassle, make a sheet cake a la the earthquake cake method.

For the cake batter:
1 14-ounce can (about 1 3/4 cups) pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
pinch allspice
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup frozen fresh cranberries, chopped
demerara sugar, for topping, optional

Beat together the pumpkin, sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Stir in the cranberries.

For the cream cheese filling:
6 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons flour
pinch of salt
½ teaspoon vanilla

Beat ingredients together till creamy smooth.

To assemble:
Fill lined muffin tins one third of the way full with the cake batter. Top with a dollop of cream cheese filling. Top with another dollop of cake batter and smooth over the top, trying to cover most of the filling. Sprinkle with demerara sugar.

Bake the muffins at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until brown and set. Eat warm or at room temperature. If eating within a couple days, store at room temperature. If waiting longer than that, wrap and freeze.

This same time, years previous: let me sum up: the pie party!, lessons from West Virginia, brown sugar icing, no zip, sausage quiche with potato crust


  • mommychef

    made these last year and this morning woke up with a craving for them again….but please put them under pumpkin too in the index. Mild panic attack when I couldn't find it right away. It's too good to get lost.

  • Unknown

    In case any one was worried, let me put your mind to rest: while unconventional, it is possible to substitute chocolate chips for the cranberries if you don't have any cranberries and you must. make. these. muffins. now. It puts them pretty solidly in the "dessert" rather than "breakfast" muffin category, but it is worth it.

  • sassygirl

    Hi jennifer jo!
    i like the muffin tins you used for the pumpkin muffins.
    the raised rims are unique.
    is it old? is it still made?
    what/who makes it?

    thanks much…absolutely love your blog;
    jammers are one of my favorites from it!

    • Jennifer Jo

      Hi Sassygirl,

      I have no idea where those muffin tins came from! Probably a thrift shop or a hand-me-down. I'm sorry—I wish I could be more helpful…

  • Lindsey Brackett

    mmmm…totally making these very soon with my whole lotta pumpkin puree in the freezer. I made Cranberry Orange Coffee Cakes (muffins, really) today with fresh cranberries and oranges. Hoping to post recipe soon. It's in this month's Better Home and Gardens if you want to try it out, it's definitely the best muffin recipe I've done in awhile.

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