Inside-Out Pumpkin Muffins: It's what's inside that counts

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Is this a gorgeous picture, or what?

Golden-orange pumpkin muffins, complete with a sweet baked-in filling of cider and cinnamon-scented cream cheese.

They’re every bit as good as they look; and not at all fussy to make.

Because, trust me, if these muffins involved a piping bag – in my personal parlance, “the dreaded piping bag” – they wouldn’t be on my “must-do” list, no matter how tasty.

Call me unreasonable, but I have a thing against piping bags. Let’s take 5, shall we? Five reasons I don’t happily pipe:

1. You have to figure out a) what tip to use, and b) how to attach it. I know, I know, one piece goes INSIDE, one piece goes OUTSIDE…
2. There are many small pieces involved. And I inevitably lose the one key piece (coupler?) needed to make the whole thing work.
3. They’re a pain to fill; never mind the tall glass, piping bags are always a pain to fill.
4. Everything I pipe, from writing atop a cake to a simple éclair, looks like a mess.
5. When you’re done, you’re faced with the cleanup: a bag that’s greasy both inside and out. And not only that, greasy in little hard-to-reach places…

No thanks.

So, I absolutely LOVE a “fancy” recipe for a filled treat that doesn’t get me anywhere near a piping set.

Like this one, perfect for fall (yes, it’s on the doorstep): Inside-Out Pumpkin Muffins.

Shall we begin?

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While the recipe on our site calls for a relatively plain sweetened cream cheese filling, I think our recipe for Cider-Cinnamon Spread is a wonderful fit, as well. You’ll use only about half of this spread for the muffins; but I advise making the entire recipe, as it’s delicious on toast and bagels.

Combine the following, stirring until smooth:

1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) cream cheese; low-fat is fine
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons boiled cider

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with muffin papers, and grease the papers. Or lightly grease a maple leaf pan.

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Put the following in a bowl:

1 cup pumpkin purée (about half a standard 15-ounce can)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup boiled cider* (for best flavor), or dark corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice; or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves + 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup milk

*Boiled cider isn’t something you can easily make yourself, simply by boiling cider. But it’s so wonderful, in so many different fruit desserts (especially autumn-type treats, like these muffins), it’s worth it to keep a bottle on hand. It’ll last for months in the fridge.

Beat everything together. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Add 1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour (6 ounces). Stir just to combine. Don’t beat; beating will toughen the muffins.

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Drop about 2 tablespoons of the batter (a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here) into each muffin cup, spreading it to cover the bottom. Dollop on a heaping tablespoon of filling (a slightly heaped teaspoon cookie scoop); remember, if you’ve made a whole recipe of cinnamon-cider spread, you’ll only use half. Cover the filling with another 2 tablespoons of batter.

If you’re using maple leaf molds, drop about 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter into each of the 6 molds. Add a scant tablespoon of filling, and spread about 1 1/2 tablespoons batter on top. The recipe will make 16 maple leaves, so you’ll need to bake in batches.

Sprinkle coarse white sparkling sugar on top, if desired.

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Bake the standard muffins for 18 to 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out crumb-free.

Bake the leaf muffins for 16 to 18 minutes, testing them the same way.

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Remove the muffins from the oven. After 5 minutes, transfer them to a rack to cool.

If you’ve baked leaf muffins, after 5 minutes gently loosen their edges, and turn the pan over onto a cooling rack; the muffins should drop out.

And there you have it: moist, tender pumpkin muffins with a creamy center – no piping bag involved!

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Inside-Out Pumpkin Muffins.

Print just the recipe.

Want to try a similar treat with classic carrot cake flavor? Try our Cream Cheese Carrot Cake Muffins.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Rocky

    One comment, one question…

    Comment: I have a recipe that calls for half a can of thawed apple juice concentrate. We don’t drink apple juice here, so I always look on your website for recipes calling for boiled cider so that I can use up the rest. So far, subbing the concentrate for boiled cider has worked reasonably well. Since I’m also going to have half a can of leftover pumpkin puree this week, this recipe is calling my name.

    Question: I see in this blog that when you gave the variation for using white whole wheat flour you gave the weights and they differ from the weight for AP flour (I’ve always wondered about that). Since you offer the white whole wheat variation so often and I really do prefer to bake by weight rather than volume, could you be more consistent about providing the correct weight for the WWW flour?

    Thanks.
    HI Rocky,
    Thanks for both the question and the comment. For consistency in your baking, I think our weights chart online will be a huge help. I have my copy printed on bright blue paper and I use it all the time for reference. ~ MJ

    Reply
    1. Joan

      I found this recipe last week and have already made it twice — the first time with the filling, the second without. Both were good, but the consensus here was why fool with a perfectly moist, delicious muffin (hence the second batch) — and they were right! These didn’t last — and because they were SOOOOOO good, I never even had a chance to bring any in to share at work. This is by far the best pumpkin recipe ever. And while you’re buying the canned pumpkin, buy extra and make the baked pumpkin donuts. BTW, they didn’t last long either! Thank you KAF bakers for another fantastic recipe — you are the best!

    2. PJ Hamel , post author

      Joan, thanks for letting us know these are good even without the filling. I’d actually not made them without – now I will! And I totally agree about the pumpkin doughnuts. I think they’re my favorite baked doughnuts – so moist, so tasty. Enjoy! PJH

  2. Anne in Wa

    These look fabolous PJ! I will be making these with the boiled cider. I love the flavor that it adds to baked goods. One question though, instead of dark corn syrup, would molasses be a substitute? I try to avoid corn syrup as much as possible.

    Thanks for another great post!
    Hi Anne,
    As long as the molasses isn’t too strong in flavor, it should be just fine. ~ MJ

    Reply
  3. Kathleen

    Could you make the batter the night before and then assemble and bake them the next morning?
    That should work just fine Kathleen. Enjoy! ~MJ

    Reply
  4. Bethany Mandel

    Where can you find boiled cider? I need it Kosher certified.
    HI Bethany,
    We carry boiled cider on our website, but it is not Kosher. A general web search should help you find a source. ~ MJ

    Reply
  5. Kellie G

    Sounds delightful! Would these need to be refrigerated after baking due to the cream cheese inside?
    Hi kellie,
    Yes, for longer term storage you’ll want to keep these in the fridge, but they can set out for at least an hour for serving. ~ MJ

    Reply
  6. sharman

    these look yummy! can you mail them or do they have to be refrigrated?
    Because of the filling, we would not recommend these for mailing, and keep them in the fridge for longer storage. ~ MJ

    Reply
  7. mumpy

    i wanted to print this because we LOVE the carrot cake muffins but the recipe you get when you click on the link isn’t exactly the same for the filling……does the blog version need more cream cheese because of the cider?….either way, these sound wonderful!

    Yes, as I mention in the blog, I used a different filling than in the recipe. Either is fine; here’s the link for the cider-cinnamon spread recipe used in the blog post, if you want to peruse that recipe on its own. I hadn’t really compared the two, ingredient by ingredient; but when I do, it looks like for the same amount of cream cheese, the cider-cinnamon spread uses less sugar – partially because it also uses boiled cider. Hope this helps answer your question? PJH

    Reply
  8. Nancy

    These look really yummy. I love cream cheese and spicy pumpkin muffins, bars or cakes. Just one question: The filling looks kind of gooey. Won’t a cake tester come out smeared with filling instead of crumb-free?

    Not really smeared, Nancy; you might see a light coating of filling if you stick the tested right through the middle, but you shouldn’t see any crumbs from the muffin. Try sticking the tester halfway between center and the edge; that should help you get a “good reading.” Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  9. Mary Jo Neyer

    I am going to be hosting about 30 people for Thanksgiving. Could I prepare any part of this recipe and then freeze it until Thanksgiving?

    You MIGHT be able to prepare them completely ahead, Mary Jo, filling and all, then freeze; I’d say do a test batch now, freeze for a week, thaw, and see how you like them. That’s the only way to guarantee it’ll work. Otherwise, I’d say no, don’t prepare any part of the muffins ahead of time; all you could do would be to make the batter, which really doesn’t take that long… PJH

    Reply
  10. Susan Granquist

    The part I don’t understand is the leaf mold and how the muffins turned out with a leaf on the bottom.

    Susan, the muffin tin is embossed with a leaf design; so when you turn the muffins out, the design is imprinted on them. PJH

    Reply
  11. melissa

    do you think this recipe work with your gf flour blend (not the baking mix)?

    Haven’t tried it, Melissa, but you could definitely try using the filling with our GF pumpkin muffins recipe; I think you’ll like the result. PJH

    Reply
  12. Brittney

    Yum, I love pumpkin! Can you tell me what flour you would recommend to make these gluten free? Thanks!

    Just to be sure, Brittney, I’d use the filling as specified with our GF pumpkin muffins recipe; that should work. PJH

    Reply
  13. cheryl

    These look awesome and would like to make some soon, do they sell boiled cider at the grocery stores!

    No, Cheryl, it’s an ingredient not sold many places, since it’s made locally. I think you’d need to buy boiled cider from us, which I highly recommend; it stays good indefinitely in the fridge, and oh, my, is it tasty! If you don’t want to use boiled cider, you could get somewhat the same effect by substituting thawed apple juice concentrate, though it won’t have the same wonderful flavor. Good luck – PJH

    Reply
    1. Angela Pittsley

      I made my own boiled cider by reducing a gallon of cider down to about a cup of syrupy liquid and added some Vietnamese cinnamon. It worked wonderfully

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      Good for you Angela! Now you have some liquid gold to portion throughout your favorite recipes. I like to finish my homemade butternut squash soup with some boiled cider. Elisabeth@KAF

  14. JuliaJ

    Can this recipe be doubled and baked as a quick bread, with the cream cheese filling dolloped in after filling the loaf pan half full? Maybe in a few mini-loaf pans??? I just hate the idea of that extra half can of pumpkin puree (that I’m sure I’ll forget about) languishing in the fridge.

    Can’t say for sure, Julia, as I haven’t tried it. It does sound reasonable, though. FYI, I routinely freeze any half-cans of pumpkin purée; the issue is remembering I have them when I need them for a recipe, but they do freeze well. :) PJH

    Reply
  15. Mary Cay Martin

    I’m looking into this and the carrot cake muffin, How would you adjust them for a jumbo muffin tin.We love the filled giant muffins at Panera Bread and i would like to duplicate them.

    Good idea, Mary Cay; I like those jumbo muffins, too. I couldn’t tell you the amount of batter to use, since jumbo muffin pans vary in size; but fill the to the same degree you do a standard muffin tin. You’d want to bake longer; not sure how much longer, but once you do it the first time, you’ll have your benchmark. Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  16. Carl

    I believe you may have a typo in your directions for using the leaf molds.

    “If you’re using maple leaf molds, drop about 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter into each of the 6 molds. Add a scant tablespoon of filling, and spread about 1 1/2 tablespoons batter on top.”

    Shouldn’t that be a scant teaspoon of filling?

    You’ll want a tablespoon of that delicious filling! Happy baking – Irene@KAF

    Reply
  17. Debbie

    I don’t have boiled cider and would like to make these right away. Is there any reason I couldn’t just use some apple cider in the filing.

    The flavor may be less intense and the viscosity of this liquid is different. If you just can’t wait, do use the apple cider you have on hand. Happy baking! Irene
    @KAF

    Reply
  18. Lynn

    Sounds yummy! Do you think this recipe can be made in a bundt pan….batter, then filling, then batter on top?

    We haven’t tested this recipe baked in a bundt, but it sounds like a winner! Let us know how your home baking experiment works out! Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

    Reply
  19. Pat Cuzzacrea

    Hi PJ,
    These look great I will have to try them. (Almost as good as a spinone!!!)
    Pat

    Thanks, but NOTHING is as good as a Spinone, Pat! Esp. your Spinones… And yes, the muffins are darned good, too! :) PJH

    Reply
  20. Kristina

    OMG, EXACTLY how I fee about piping bags. Biggest pain to fill and clean EVER. Looking forward to trying the recipe!

    How about disposable pastry or piping bags? Fold down the top to make a cuff and then place the bag in a glass or tumbler using the cuff over the edge of the glass. Fill with whatever you need to pipe out, then cut the bottom point to allow the batter/filling,etc. to pipe out – and Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

    Reply
  21. Sacha

    I made these this morning and they taste just like fall, very yummy. Only problem is the filling oozed out of the top, sort of like a volcano. I doubled the recipe and made two batches. For the second batch I chilled the filling, hoping that might delay the boiling over affect but it didn’t. Did I do something wrong? They will still get eaten!

    There’s no “wrong” in baking, Sacha – just “adjustments.” :) Not sure what could have happened, as I’ve never seen the muffins behave this way. Next time, try putting a smaller layer of batter in the cup before adding the filling, so it’s buried more deeply; this might prevent the lava-flow effect you experienced. PJH

    Reply
  22. Doreen

    I don’t know what I did wrong. I followed the directions exactly and used a standard muffin pan. They turned into volcanos with the cinnamon cider filling exploding out of the top and bubbling over!
    Sounds like you really did have some inside out muffins, Doreen! Is there a chance you over mixed the batter? Elisabeth

    Reply
  23. Monique

    The leaf pans that you baked them in did you mention where to get them from?

    You’ll find the maple leaf pan on our website – item 4621! Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

    Reply
  24. Lisa

    I had no boiled cider, so I made these this morning with maple syrup as a substitute. I have nothing to compare to, since I’ve never tried it with boiled cider, but they’re yummy made with maple syrup.

    As for piping bags…Try the plastic wrap trick! YouTube under Color Mixing and Bag Filling from KarensCookies. (Don’t know who she is, but it’s a good demo of the technique.) Will only help you with points 3 and 5, but they’re kind of the key problems.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QxE-pnqmsE0

    Thanks for sharing this link, Lisa – it’s always helpful to see something done, rather than just read about it. Cheers! PJH

    Reply
  25. Lisa

    I had the same volcanic overflow on some of my muffins as Sacha. Definitely from having too much batter on the bottom, too much filling, and not enough batter covering the top. (I knew that was a problem when I put them in the oven.) Doesn’t affect the flavor, they look kind of like cream cheese danish muffins when cool.

    Lisa, could be your muffin pan is just a tad smaller than standard; this would definitely account for overflow. I’m glad you were able to get past the look and enjoy the flavor! :) PJH

    Reply
  26. Julieb

    Um. I just made these this morning and they came out perfect. They were a huge hit! The cookie scoops were instrumental in making this easy. I agonized over whether to buy them but it turns out I use them all the time. I will be making these again very soon ;-)

    Reply
    1. bakersresource

      Scoops are a life changer! They make cookies, muffins, scones, drop biscuits and other scoop-able products a breeze.-Jon

  27. Brett Westbrook

    This looks so good and I will definitely make it for family and friends. Do you have the nutrition facts on this? For myself, I need to watch salt intake to a ridiculously rabid degree. I’m learning how to bake with sodium-free baking soda and powder, so it’s an adventure. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I’m sorry to say that we do not have the nutritional information for this recipe. However, you may need to cut out the salt and use your sodium free leaveners if salt is can issue. Jon@KAF

  28. Giulietta

    I also experienced the volcano effect, but it was mild and did not harm the overall appearance and taste. That said, the kids did not care for the flavor of the filling and asked me to use the cream cheese frosting that goes along with your pumpkin cake bars recipe. I think that would work well, but would that frosting be too runny? Will have to experiment…

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Yes, Giulietta, I fear the frosting might be too runny. But perhaps if you cut back on the sugar? Let us know how it comes out. PJH

  29. Lea

    I made this into a bundt cake with great success! I doubled the cake recipe, kept the cream cheese the same, and sprinkled the top with powdered sugar. Delicious!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Lea, what a nice idea – a thousand thanks for sharing with your fellow readers here. I’m sure many folks will try that. Cheers! PJH

  30. Carol

    I made these, only thing I changed was to add a drop of cinnamon oil to the cream cheese filling. The other day I saw a description of how boiled cider was made historically in New england: they did use molasses. I make it with brown sugar and corn syrup following an old recipe I have. either home made or bought it is great stuff.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      I love the cinnamon oil idea, Carol. That’s one of my favorite ingredients. Thanks for sharing that. ~ MJ

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