Cheesecake muffins normally have a cream cheese filling and may have a graham cracker crust, similar to cheesecakes. Although the basic ingredients and preparations are the same, different versions of cheesecake muffins vary widely in their exact contents. These muffins can be made plain, but often include fruits or nuts. They also may have a streusel topping similar to coffee cake.
Generally, cheesecake muffins have at least two parts: the exterior muffin and the filling. The exterior usually includes typical muffin or cake ingredients, such as flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. It may also include vanilla extract and eggs, as well as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, or ginger. Although most versions include cream cheese in the filling only, some also include it in the muffin batter. Occasionally, sour cream may also be added.
Simpler versions may substitute white cake mix or quick bread mix for many of the muffin ingredients. For pumpkin versions, canned pumpkin can also be included in the batter. Pumpkin flavored bread mix may also be used.
The filling for cheesecake muffins includes not only cream cheese, but also granulated or powdered sugar. Either whole eggs or egg yolks also may be added, along with vanilla extract or lemon juice. Fruit preserves or fresh fruit can be included in the filling as well.
Toppings are often added to cheesecake muffins. They can simply be fruit or crushed nuts, such as pecans or walnuts, or they made be more elaborate. If the muffins are made with a graham cracker crust, a portion of the crust is also often sprinkled on top of the muffins. Streusel-like toppings, containing flour, cinnamon, brown or white sugar, and butter, can also be created. If bread mix is used, it can be combined with butter to create a streusel topping as well.
To create the muffin batter, the wet and dry ingredients are first combined in separate bowls and then mixed together. The filling is made by beating the cream cheese together with the other filling ingredients. Streusel toppings mix the dry ingredients, then add melted butter to clump the mixture.
The batter is poured into a greased or lined muffin pan. Depending on the version, each muffin form may be filled a quarter or half way. Then the filling is added and more batter is placed on top. Toppings, if included, are sprinkled on last. When finished, the raw muffins will fill the muffin forms completely. Cheesecake muffins usually bake for about half an hour.