Cream cheese filling butternut muffins

I realised I may have a problem when I found myself, yet again, at the kiosk check out line between smokers, and I was as keen to get cream cheese and food colouring as they were for their next pack. But I suppose of all addictions to throw your money and time at, baking isn’t the worst:)

I’ve loved the idea of cream cheese filled muffins ever since first discovering them at Hazel Food Market  a while back, but couldn’t find a recipe.
Here’s my attempt – perfect for these cold winter afternoons with a cup of chai.

Butternut muffins with a baked cream cheese filling and cinnamon glaze

1 cup cake flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups butternut (or pumpkin if you prefer)
1 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter (room temperature and diced)
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

c.a 6 tablespoons cream cheese
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon sugar

(icing sugar for glaze)

1. Dice half the butternut and cook or steam it, while you keep the other half raw but shredded. I think this gives it a great texture but if you’re in a rush, shred it all and add it in later (as you would with typical carrot cake).
Use a potato masher or blender to smush the butternut and butter together. This is where the nice texture come from… and it’s super fun.

2. Beat the eggs, adding the sugar and vanilla gradually. Fold in the butternut mixture.

3. Sift and add the dry ingredients gradually, then the shredded butternut.
A word on spices and such: These muffins aren’t particularly sweet, so you may want to have a taste at this point and decide to add more sugar, cinnamon or vanilla. I added some honey here and extra cinnamon. Trust your tastebuds.

4. Lightly grease your muffin pans and fill them about 1/3 with the batter. Mix the cream cheese, sugar and milk together till smooth and add a dollop into each. Cover with the batter.
I know a lot of recipes prefer to bake the muffins and then add the filling, but I think the baked filling really gives you a different spin to the normal sweetness of cream cheese frosting. You could use icing sugar here instead of brown, or add more.

Optional: I sprinkled on some cinnamon sugar here, because I love the little coating it gives it, but this really isn’t necessary.

5. Bake them for 25-30 minutes on 180C. Don’t open the oven in the first 20 mins, but keep an eye on them from there.

6. If you want to glaze them for some extra sweetness, mix together a little hot water, cinnamon and icing sugar until it’s relatively fluid, and drizzle on top.

I really wish I were better at food photography (or any photography..) so you could properly see how good these look. But I guess you’re just going to have to make them yourself!
If you do try them, please drop me a comment with your suggestions, because it’s definitely still a recipe in progress.

I also made a blue poppy seed cake (yeah!) while these were in the oven, so I’ll share the recipe for that soon. Hm, this addiction isn’t too bad. **happily gobbles another muffin**



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