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.

Filed Under: Recipes
PJ Hamel
The Author

About PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!