To celebrate the coming of spring, I thought I would post a recipe using one of my favorite spring ingredients, strawberries. Strawberries are a great addition to your refrigerator because you can use them in about everything. Breakfast dishes, salads, entrees, and of course, desserts and baked goods. Ryan is always looking around the house for something to munch on, which made me reach for this Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffin recipe.
These muffins are the best blend of a muffin-cheesecake-cupcake combination. They taste decadent despite being healthy, mostly in thanks to the cream cheese filling. Just a little dollop of cream cheese in the center keeps the muffins incredibly moist, and also gives some of the flavors of a frosting. The recipe calls for such a small amount that I always use regular cream cheese; I think the extra richness eliminates any need for a frosting or crumb topping. The strawberries give the muffins a natural sweetness, so it feels like you are eating strawberry cheesecake! They are great for the next couple of months when strawberries are in season.
I had some fun decorating these muffins, which you can see in the before and after pictures below. Our good friend Christina Finnegan gave me a huge bag full of decorating sugars, and I used these muffins as an excuse to celebrate. I used strawberry sugar, turbinado sugar, a sliced strawberry and just a plain muffin in the examples below. The sliced strawberries would be great for Valentine’s Day, but I would suggest another variation for everyday baking. I like them just plain, but Ryan leaned toward the turbinado version. You’ll have to try a few versions and decide which you like best!
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tbs baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup 2% milk
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 1 egg, whisked
- 1 cup strawberries, chopped
- FOR FILLING
- 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Turbinado sugar, for decorating
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray 12 muffin liners with cooking spray and place into a muffin tin. Set aside.
- Make the batter by whisking the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the milk, canola oil and egg. Whisk and then a spatula to gently fold the mixture together. Add the strawberries and fold them into the batter with a spatula. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together. Taste to see if you want it any sweeter, and add more sugar if desired.
- Put 2 tablespoons of batter in the bottom of each of the muffin tins. Add 1 scant tablespoon of the cream cheese filling to each of the tins, gently pressing it into the batter. Top the muffins with the remaining batter, a scant tablespoon or so. Top with turbinado sugar, if desired.
- Bake the muffins for 23 to 25 minutes, or until they are cooked through and a toothpick comes clean from one of the sides. The cream cheese filling will continue to stay soft during and after baking.
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