Gluten free pumpkin spice cream cheese muffin recipe
To be perfectly honest, I can’t remember if I ever ate a “real” Starbucks pumpkin cream cheese muffin, before I had to start eating gluten free in the year 2000. But they look so yummy. I’ve been experimenting with adapting gluten free versions of the recipe for several years. Then I saw the Philly pumpkin spice cream cheese at the grocery store, and inspiration struck!
Most cream cheese fillings are a separate step involving an egg, sugar, flavorings, and dirtying an extra bowl. I had a theory that the pumpkin spice cream cheese would streamline the process, and the dishes. It worked, and they were delicious! The muffins were a hit with gluten free folks and gluten eaters alike when I brought them to a family event later that day.
Dairy-free, vegan variations: To make these muffins dairy free, you could just skip the cream cheese filling (since the muffins are moist and flavorful all on their own). Or you could create a “cream cheese” filling by mixing 4 oz. of the dairy free “cream cheese” of your choice with 1 ½ TBS sugar and 1 egg. Or to make them completely vegan, just skip the egg, or sub in 2 TBS applesauce to loosen up the mixture.
Some recipes call for a sprinkling of chopped nuts (pecans, or walnuts are most common), but I prefer pumpkin seeds on these muffins. They have the bonus of being more allergy friendly, and have the obvious pumpkin flavor connection. Although I have used pecans, and they were delicious too.
* Note: I’ve included a few links to affiliate products that I use and love.
Recipe for gluten free pumpkin spice cream cheese muffins
Makes 12 muffins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Total time: 35 minutes
Prepare muffin tins (with paper liners, or greased with vegetable oil spray)
1 ½ cups Krusteaz gluten free flour blend (you could use a cup-for-cup gluten free flour blend of your choice, but your results might vary)
4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 pinch ground cardamom (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
⅔ cups vegetable oil
4 ounces of pumpkin cream cheese
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: Gluten free flour mix, pumpkin pie spice, cardamom (if using), salt, and baking soda.
In a separate medium sized bowl, or large 4-cup liquid measuring cup, mix together the eggs, sugar, pumpkin, and oil.
Fill prepared muffin tins 2/3 full. (A regular sized scoop with trigger release is perfect for this job.)
Put 2 tsp. pumpkin cream cheese or “cream cheese” mixture in the middle of each muffin, pressing down slightly. (A small trigger scoop is a helpful tool for this task).
Sprinkle a few pumpkin seeds on each muffin, (of if you’re like me, carefully count out and arrange 3 seeds on each muffin).
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, until they are deep golden brown (do not underbake).
Let the muffins cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then carefully put them on cooling racks to cool completely. I know it’s tempting, but don’t touch the cream cheese until it cools, unless you want burnt fingers.
Enjoy! The muffins will keep, covered, at room temperature for 3-4 days. The cream cheese filling and vegetable oil help keep them nice and moist. You can wrap them individually in plastic wrap and then put them in a freezer bag in the freezer. Don’t store gluten free baked goods in the refrigerator - it dries them out and makes them crumbly