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Vegan Starbucks Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffin Recipe

This vegan Starbucks cream cheese pumpkin muffin recipe makes soft and delicious treats with a warming mix of pumpkin pie spices and creamy cheesecake-like centers. Sugared pumpkin seeds and crumb topping give these muffins a tasty crunch as well! Use regular all-purpose flour or use oat to make gluten-free pumpkin muffins.
Click here for the printable recipe. Or if you prefer the Tim Horton’s-style Pumpkin Spice Muffin with creamy cream cheese icing instead, click here.

Video tutorial for Vegan Starbucks Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffin Recipe

 

I was in college when the Pumpkin Spice craze started. Pumpkin Spice lattes were new and exciting and quickly, PSL’s became my daily autumn indulgence. Then pumpkin spice muffins came along. All the coffee shops had them. Of course, Starbucks and Tim Hortons both had their own versions. My college had both outlets on campus so I’d visit one or the other (or both) depending on where my classes were that day, how long I had to be on campus, and who I spotted in the lineup.

Vegan Starbucks Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffin – using regular all-purpose flour with a white sugar crumb.

The Starbucks Cream Cheese Pumpkin muffins had a cream cheese center baked into the muffins. I loved them so much! The whole muffin reminded me of pumpkin cheesecake.

Don’t get me wrong, I also LOVED the Timmies’ version. That version was much more pumpkin-y. The spices were stronger and the pumpkin seeds on top were much tastier. They were crispy and flavourful while the Starbucks’ version was plainer in comparison. Tim’s cream cheese frosting was not baked in but injected after baking. At the time, I wished they made a Pumpkin Spice Muffin that was somewhere in between.

gluten-free vegan pumpkin spice muffins

So, this vegan pumpkin spice muffin recipe is somewhere in between. The spices and pumpkin flavour are a bit stronger than the Starbuck’s version (as far as I remember–it’s been 5 or 6 years since I’ve last had one). I added a crumb topping though I honestly don’t remember if either version had crumb topping. And you can choose whether you want a baked in cheesecake-like filling or if you want to inject cream cheese frosting into your muffins after baking. These are your vegan pumpkin muffins and there are no rules!

How to make Vegan Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Begin by preheating your oven to 425°F or 218°C. If this strikes you as a bit high for baking muffins, you’re right. But we’ll only bake them at the higher temperature for 8 minutes to encourage the muffins to rise, to crisp up the pumpkin seeds and get a nice colour on the muffin tops. After which, we’ll lower the temperature.

For equipment, you’ll need a couple of mixing bowls, a whisk or sifter for combining the dry ingredients, an immersion blender for the small amount of vegan cream cheese filling, and a muffin baking tray. I also highly recommend a flexible rubber or silicone spatula, muffin liners (reusable or parchment paper), and a cooling rack.

Grease the muffin tray’s top surface, especially the top edges of the muffin tins. That way, any stray batter that gets baked on won’t stick but release easily.

Making the vegan cream cheese filling

Blend 1/4 cup silken tofu, 2 Tbsp sugar, 1 tsp cornstarch, 1 teaspoon canola oil (or any neutral oil), 1/2 tsp lemon juice and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract with an immersion blender until completely smooth. Transfer the vegan cream cheese filling to a piping bag and store in the fridge while you make the muffin batter.

cream cheese frosting and immersion blender

By the way, the recipe makes more than enough to fill 12 muffins so if you decide to make a double batch, don’t double the amounts for the filling. You will have enough with just the single batch amount. The single batch size is what it is because I found it impossible to blend a smaller amount properly with my immersion blender or small bullet blender.

spices

Making the pumpkin muffin batter

In a large mixing bowl, sift or whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt). In a separate bowl, combine all the wet ingredients and whisk together until well combined. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, using a spatula to get every bit of the wet mixture out. Fold together gently until no dry spots or wet streaks remain. Do not over mix, especially if using regular flour. Over-mixing causes the gluten to develop and can cause gummy or overly dense muffins. This is not a problem if you are using oat flour or an all-purpose gluten-free one-to-one baking flour.

pumpkin puree and vegan buttermilk

Making gluten free vegan Starbucks cream cheese muffins

The regular all-purpose flour in this recipe can be replaced easily with oat flour. I take regular rolled oats and blend them in a bullet blender or food processor to make homemade oat flour. To make sure they are gluten-free, buy gluten-free oats. Oats don’t have gluten in them naturally. However, oats are often processed on equipment or in facilities that also process grains that contain gluten so there’s a strong probability of cross-contamination.

While I haven’t tested this recipe with pre-made oat flour, I’m sure it will work. My bullet blender does an awesome job of turning whole oats into fine flour. This fine oat flour made muffins that were very similar to the wheat flour version. My food processor produces a more rustic result that makes a more rustic looking muffin. The muffins have that “healthy” look to them if you know what I mean.

gluten-free vegan pumpkin spice muffins

On the left: gluten-free Tim Horton’s style muffins with cream cheese frosting. On the right: gluten-free Starbuck’s style pumpkin muffins with the cream cheesecake-like center baked in.

When measuring the oat flour, remember to use the fluff, scoop and level method. Otherwise, they will be less fluffy and more dense.

Putting it all together

Fill up the muffin tins with batter. If you’re making Starbucks-style muffins with baked in filling, use a small spoon to make some space. Or use clean hands, dampen a finger and poke a space into the middle of each muffin. The moisture will keep the batter from sticking to your finger. Take the Vegan Cream Cheese Filling from the fridge, stir to loosen, then deposit a teaspoon or two of filling into each of the muffins. 

muffin baking tray half filled with pumpkin muffin batter

mixing white sugar crumb with fork

Use a fork to blend the crumb ingredients together until well combined and crumbly. Sprinkle the crumb evenly over top of the muffin batter.

Place the pumpkin seeds in a bowl or on a plate. Spread them out, then spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle icing sugar over top then stir to coat them all over. Sprinkle the coated pumpkin seeds over top of the muffin batter and press them on to the muffins’ surface gently so they stick.

Bake your muffins!

Bake at 425°F for 8 minutes, then turn down the temperature to 350°F and continue baking for 20 more minutes for a total time of 28 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the muffins rest for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Now your Vegan Starbucks Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffins are ready! Enjoy them warm and fresh from the oven. You can also store these in the fridge for a few days but I like to freeze my leftovers. They thaw wonderfully. Just heat in the microwave by cooking on high for 15 seconds at a time until they are just warm to the touch.

Vegan Starbucks-inspired Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffins

I really hope you enjoy these vegan Starbucks cream cheese pumpkin muffins. Please let me know in the comments if you try it and how it went for you! And if you’re on Instagram, please upload a picture and tag me @marystestkitchen so I can see it too! I love those photos.

For more vegan Pumpkin Spice goodness, try these recipes:

Printable recipe for Starbucks Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffin

Yield: 12 muffins

Vegan Starbucks Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffins

Vegan Starbucks Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffins

These vegan muffins are soft and delicious with nutritious pumpkin puree and warming pumpkin pie spices. Like Starbucks Cream Cheese Pumpkin muffins, they have a creamy filling baked right into the centers along with sugared pumpkin seeds on top. Make these vegan pumpkin spice muffins with regular all-purpose flour or make them gluten-free with gluten-free oats.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Bake Time 28 minutes
Total Time 38 minutes

Ingredients

Vegan Cream Cheese Filling

  • 1/4 cup (2oz) silken tofu
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil or your choice of neutral oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (see notes for gf version)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons Pumpkin Spice Mix (see below)
  • pinch salt

Pumpkin Spice Mix

  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves

Wet Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup soy milk or your choice of plant milk
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree (1 14oz can)
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil or your choice of neutral oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Crumb Topping

  • 2 tablespoons white or brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or oat flour
  • 2 teaspoons vegan butter

Sugared Pumpkin seeds

  • 1 tablespoon hulled pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon icing sugar
  • oil spray

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F. Lightly grease the top surface of your baking tray with vegan butter. Line it with parchment or silicone baking cups.
  2. Blend all the Cream Cheese Filling ingredients with an immersion blender until completely smooth. Store in the fridge while you make the muffin batter.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift or whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt). In a separate bowl, combine all the wet ingredients and whisk together until well combined. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, using a spatula to get every bit of the wet mixture out. Fold together gently until no dry spots or wet streaks remain. Do not over mix, especially if using regular flour. Over-mixing causes the gluten to develop and can cause gummy or overly dense muffins. This is not a problem if you are using oat flour.
  4. Fill up the muffin tins with batter. Then, make some space for the filling. Use a small spoon to scoop a bit of batter out of each muffin tin. Alternatively, using clean hands, dampen a finger and poke a space into the middle of each muffin. The moisture will keep the batter from sticking to your finger. Take the Vegan Cream Cheese Filling from the fridge, stir to loosen, then deposit a teaspoon or two of filling into each of the muffins.
  5. Use a fork to blend the crumb ingredients together until well combined and crumbly. Sprinkle the crumb over top of the muffin batter.
  6. Place the pumpkin seeds in a bowl or on a plate. Spread them out, then spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle icing sugar over top then stir to coat them all over. Sprinkle the coated pumpkin seeds over top of the muffin batter. Press them on to the muffins' surface gently.
  7. Bake at 425°F for 8 minutes, then turn down temperature to 350°F and continue baking for 20 more minutes for a total time of 28 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the muffins rest for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
  8. Enjoy! Like most baked goods, these muffins are best served on the same day.

Notes

GLUTEN FREE VERSION

For gluten-free muffins, use gluten-free oats and blend them until they become oat flour. I used my bullet blender to blend oats into flour. Measure the flour after blending.

Also use oat flour in the crumb mixture.

Alternatively, you can use a gluten-free one-to-one baking flour.

PUMPKIN PUREE

Not all cans contain the same amount. During testing, I found that my 14oz cans contained a bit more than 14 ounces. Measure out 1 1/2 cups plus two tablespoons of pumpkin puree for this recipe.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 272Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 211mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 2gSugar: 13gProtein: 6g

Nutritional Information automatically calculated by a plugin and may not be correct.

Did you make this recipe?

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Showing 10 comments
  • trinity
    Reply

    mmmmmmmm this sounds yummy!!!!! i will try it……

    • Mary
      Reply

      Thanks, Trinity! Hope you love it too! 🙂

  • Connor Champine
    Reply

    can you sub the all purpose flour with a store-bought gluten free flour blend?

    • Mary
      Reply

      It’s possible, however, the store-bought gluten-free blend I tried tasted awful. If you regularly use one you like, I’m sure it will work.

      • Connor Champine
        Reply

        The one I ended up using made the muffins come out really dense :/ didn’t give much rise at all. I’ll stick to the oat flour next time! 🙂

        • Mary
          Reply

          aww that’s too bad. Do you mind sharing which brand didn’t work out?

  • Shelby
    Reply

    I just made these and, while I do like the muffin itself, I wanted a more indulgent – starbucks pastry-like treat. The muffin isn’t very sweet (which, like I said I normally don’t mind), and the cream cheese baked into the muffin and wasn’t in the middle. Another note on the cream cheese is that the one I made tasted so much like tofu, before and after baking. Please let me know what I did wrong here, because I’m not sure what I did. 🙁

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