Recipe summary

Hands-on time:
15 mins. to 25 mins.
Baking time:
18 mins. to 20 mins.
Total time:
33 mins. to 45 mins.
12 to 16 muffins
Instead of being iced, these nicely spicy pumpkin muffins have a sweetened cream cheese center that bakes right along with the muffin. Moist, delicious — and attractive! — they're a lovely harvest-time (AND year-round) treat.
Volume Ounces Grams


  • 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
  • 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour


  • 8-ounce package cream cheese; low-fat is fine
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • a few drops Fiori di Sicilia flavor, optional


  1. 1) 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.
  2. 2) To make the batter: Whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, oil, boiled cider or corn syrup, salt, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and milk. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  3. 3) Add the flour and mix until well combined.
  4. 4) To make the filling: Place the cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat on low power for 40 seconds. Stir in the sugar and flavor.
  5. 5) 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, then cover with another 2 tablespoons of batter.
  6. 6) 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.
  7. 7) 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.
  8. 8) Remove the muffins from the oven. After 5 minutes, gently loosen the edges of the leaf muffins, and turn the pan over onto a cooling rack; the muffins should drop out. For regular muffins, simply transfer them to a rack to cool.
  9. Yield: 12 regular muffins, or 16 leaf muffins.

Tips from our bakers

  • We love filling these muffins with our Cider-Cinnamon Spread. Half the recipe is enough to fill 12 muffins, but go ahead, make the entire recipe; it's delicious spread on toast and bagels.
  • 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 ones with apples), it's worth it to keep a bottle on hand. It'll last for months in the fridge.
  • To make streusel-topped muffins: Combine 1/2 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar (packed), 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Work in 4 tablespoons butter, mixing until a coarse streusel forms. Scatter the streusel over the unbaked muffins, and bake according to instructions.