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.

Huzzah!

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
    Streusel:

  • 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.