strawberry cheesecake muffins

Strawberry Cheesecake Muffins

If you like strawberries, cheesecake, or are just looking for an excuse to eat cheesecake for breakfast, these are the muffins you’re looking for (no Jedi mind trick necessary).  Loaded with fresh, juicy strawberries, filled with a creamy cheesecake center, and topped with brown sugar streusel, these strawberry cheesecake muffins are the perfect little indulgence for breakfast, dessert, or even a midnight snack.

One of my favorite parts about summertime is all of the gorgeous, delicious berries that are in season.   All of the strawberries at the grocery store looked so good, I just had to buy some.

strawberries

How could you resist these?

I’ve been trying to perfect my cheesecake muffin recipe for the past few weeks and figured it couldn’t hurt to test it out with strawberries.

streusel ingredients

Streusel Topping Ingredients

cheesecake filling ingredients

Cheesecake Filling Ingredients

strawberry cheesecake muffin ingredients

Strawberry Muffin Ingredients

Layering the muffins:  Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of muffin batter into the baking cups.strawberry cheesecake muffinsSpoon about 2 teaspoons of cheesecake filling over the layer of muffin batter. strawberry cheesecake muffinsAdd another 1-2 tablespoons of muffin batter over the cheesecake filling, filling the baking cups almost all the way to the top.  strawberry cheesecake muffinsSprinkle each of the muffins with the streusel topping, gently pressing it down into the muffin so it sticks.streusel-topping

 

Strawberry Cheesecake Muffins

  • Servings: 14-18 muffins
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Loaded with fresh, juicy strawberries, filled with a creamy cheesecake center, and topped with brown sugar streusel, these strawberry cheesecake muffins are the perfect little indulgence for breakfast, dessert, or even a midnight snack.

Ingredients

Streusel Topping

  • 1/2 cup (60g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (75g) light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, cold
    • Note:  Cubing your butter will make it much easier to make the streusel.

Cheesecake Filling

  • 8 ounces (225g) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Muffins

  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (100g)  granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (118ml) buttermilk or 1/2 cup (120g) yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups (220g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (30g) cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (250g) chopped strawberries, fresh or frozen
    • if using frozen strawberries, do not thaw

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C).  Spray two standard-size 12-count muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray or line with baking cups (depending on how much batter you put in each baking cup, this recipe should make 14-18 muffins, so there will probably be two batches).
  2. Make the streusel:  In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Cut the butter into the mixture using a pastry knife, pastry dough blender, or fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Set aside.
  3. Make the cheesecake filling:  In a medium mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on a medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add the sugar and beat until creamed, about 2 minutes.  Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract.  Beat until combined.  Set aside.
  4. Make the muffins:  In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on a medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.  Add the granulated and brown sugars and beat until creamed, about 2 full minutes.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.  Add the eggs, yogurt, and vanilla extract.  Beat on a medium speed for 1 minute, then beat on a medium-high speed until thoroughly combined and uniform in texture.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients (I usually do this in thirds or quarters).  Mix until combined and relatively smooth (small lumps are fine).
  6. Fold the strawberries into the batter.
  7. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of muffin batter into the baking cups.Spoon about 2 teaspoons of cheesecake filling over the layer of muffin batter. Add another 1-2 tablespoons of muffin batter over the cheesecake filling, filling the baking cups almost all the way to the top.  Sprinkle each of the muffins with the streusel topping, gently pressing it down into the muffin so it sticks.
  8. Bake the muffins at 425°F (218°C) for 5 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350°F (177°C) and bake for an additional 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  The total baking time is around 23-25 minutes.

Additional Notes:

Streusel
  • I used half light brown sugar, half demerara sugar for the streusel.
    • Demerara sugar is a crunchy, sparkly, large-grained raw sugar that was initially made from the sugar cane fields in the colony of Demerara (now Guyana).
    • Demerara is considered to be a “raw” sugar, like turbinado sugar.  This means that, although it has been slightly processed, it hasn’t had all of the molasses refined out of it.
      • In case you didn’t know this already, molasses comes from sugar cane and is the byproduct of refining of sugar cane into sugar.
    • Demerara sugar is made by crushing and pressing sugar cane, then steaming the juice extracted from the pressing process.  The steaming forms a thick syrup.  This syrup is allowed to dehydrate, leaving behind the large, amber-colored sugar crystals with a slight toffee-like flavor.
    • It is now produced in Mexico, India, and the United States (Hawaii), among other countries; most of today’s demerara sugar comes from the Republic of Mauritius.
      • The Republic of Mauritius is an island in the Indian Ocean, off the southeast coast of African and east of Madagascar.
  • I love to bake with demerara sugar for several reasons:
    • It doesn’t melt easily in the oven.  (Technically, sugar doesn’t melt, it decomposes, but let’s not get too technical here.  Plus decomposition sounds somewhat unappetizing.)
    • The texture of the crystals add a delicious crunch to whatever they’re paired with.
    • It has a toffee-like flavor, which works well with many baked goods.  (Tip:  Try using it in a cup of hot tea or coffee, or mixed into hot cereal.  The toffee flavor is released as the sugar melts.)
    • Demerara sugar is also great for decorating – since it doesn’t melt as easily as granulated or brown sugars, demerara sugar adds the sweetness of sugar, while adding a bit of sparkle (and who doesn’t love a little sparkle?)
Muffins
  • While I love using buttermilk, I used regular, non-Greek strawberry yogurt instead this time, to add a little more strawberry flavor.  You can use the same amount (1/2 cup) of milk (skim, 1%, 2%, whole, buttermilk, almond, soy, coconut, etc.) or another type of yogurt (nonfat, low fat, vanilla, plain, flavored, Greek) instead of the strawberry yogurt I used.
  • You can use 2 cups (240g) cake flour instead of the all-purpose flour and cornstarch, since that’s what you’re making by combining all-purpose flour with cornstarch.
    • To make cake flour, you simply measure out 1 cup (120g) all-purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons (15g) of the all-purpose flour and add 2 tablespoons (16g) cornstarch.  To scale the “recipe” up or down, use 1 part cornstarch to 7 parts all-purpose flour.
  • Make ahead tip:  The muffins taste best when eaten the day they are made, but they should stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, if covered tightly.  They also freeze well for up to 2 months – thaw in the refrigerator overnight and warm to your liking (it should only take a few seconds in the microwave).

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