Working at Starbucks for six years does a lot for a person — including spoiling the heck out of them. With free drinks on every shift, a free pound of whole bean coffee every week and constant, required sampling of pastries, it’s a hard nest to be pushed out of. After I left the company, I not only had to pay for my drinks, but I had to pay full price for them! I only had to buy a grande Pumpkin Spice Latte paired with a Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin for just shy of $10 a few times before I realized that I couldn’t afford my habit anymore.
So I bought a coffee maker for $10, a coffee canister on clearance, some Coffee-Mate pumpkin flavored creamer, found a coffee grinder I bought a few years ago the day after Thanksgiving, busted out the few pounds of coffee I had left over from my green apron days and I got down to business. It took a few weeks, but I finally figured out the right coffee:water ratio and got used to my new version of my beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte.
The next step was trying to duplicate the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin. I’ll tell you right now that I failed to do that. Despite my best efforts to come off as cutesy and a junior Betty Crocker, it’s simply not true. I mess up all the time. However, I tried really hard and the end product was still delicious in its own right.
I couldn’t find a recipe that was quite what I wanted, so I took one for Pumpkin Cupcakes and combined it with a recipe for Spicy Pumpkin Bars. I was really hoping for a cream cheese filling, but as noted by the title, it turned out more like a cheesecake layer. They’re not what I wanted, but they’re certainly not what I’d call a “mistake” either. Check it out.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins
1 box yellow cake mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ginger
6 tablespoons butter
9 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 tablespoons flour
Start by making the cheesecake layer. First, cream the butter.
Add the cream cheese and continue mixing. Then add the sugar and beat until fluffy.
Add the eggs, vanilla and flour until blended. Then stick in the refrigerator until you’re ready for it again.
Now start making the cupcake batter. Combine all of the ingredients and mix on medium speed for two minutes.
The batter will be thicker than normal cake mix, but if it’s too dry, add more pumpkin puree 1/4 cup at a time. Use a cookie scoop (or a tablespoon) and put one scoop into each cupcake liner.
Take the cream cheese filling and scoop it into a Ziploc bag. Cut the tip to leave about a 1/2 inch hole. Pipe a dollop of filling on top of each scoop of batter.
Top each cupcake with another half scoop of cupcake batter.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 – 24 minutes. Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.