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 centres. Sugared pumpkin seeds and crumb topping give these muffins a tasty crunch as well! But if you prefer cream cheese frosting like in the Tim Horton’s Pumpkin Spice muffin, it’s easy to adapt. Use regular all-purpose flour or use oat to make gluten-free pumpkin muffins.
Click here for the printable recipe.

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. However, once I tried the Tim Horton’s Pumpkin Spice muffin, I was torn. The Timmies 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.

inside Tim Horton's style vegan pumpkin spice muffins

Vegan Tim Horton’s Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting – using rougher oat flour with a brown sugar crumb.

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!

The prep

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 fillings

Decide whether you want to make the Vegan Cream Cheese Filling for the Starbucks-like baked in filling OR make the Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting for a Tim Hortons-like version that is piped in after baking.

cream cheese frosting and immersion blender

Vegan Cream Cheese Filling for our Starbuck’s inspired muffins.

Both are super easy to make. Blend all ingredients with an immersion blender until completely smooth. Then store in the fridge while you make the muffin batter.

If you’re soy-free, your option is the Timmies version. But you do have to make sure you choose vegan butter and vegan cream cheese that doesn’t contain soy. Daiya’s cream cheese is soy free and Earth Balance makes a soy-free version.

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

All the pumpkin spices! You can use pre-made pumpkin spice if you prefer.

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. Overmixing causes the gluten to develop and can cause gummy or overly dense muffins. This is not a problem if you are using oat flour.

pumpkin puree and vegan buttermilk

Pumpkin puree with soy milk and apple cider vinegar. For a soy-free option, just use your favourite plant milk.

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, the scoop and level method works fine. I do like to measure by weight to be sure and I always recommend that for best results. However, I found that using up to 50% more oat flour still made a good muffin, though denser with a stronger oat flavour. The same cannot be said when using regular all-purpose flour.

Speaking of all-purpose flour, I tried Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Baking Mix for this recipe and it did not work. The muffins came out looking pretty acceptable but the flavour was horrific. If anyone has suggestions on how I can use up this flour mix, please let me know in the comments below.

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. Take care not to over fill.

Fill them up to the top! And then a little more!

If you’re going to make the Tim Horton’s style pumpkin spice muffin and pipe in the frosting after baking, feel free to overfill the muffin cups with batter.

mixing white sugar crumb with fork

You can make white sugar crumb or brown sugar crumb. Choose oat flour or regular all purpose flour too.

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.

If you made the vegan Starbucks Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffins, you’re done! 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.

Inject some Tim Horton’s Cream Cheese Frosting

For vegan Tim Horton’s Pumpkin Spice Muffins, you’ve got to let those muffins cool until they are at room temperature. Otherwise, the frosting will melt when you pipe it in. You can use a sharp knife to cut away a ‘v’ shape from the middle of each muffin. Or just use a chopstick to poke a hole and wiggle it a bit to make more space. Then use a piping bag to fill each muffin with the Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting.

 

Delicious vegan Starbucks Pumpkin Muffins with ‘Cheesecake’ filling.

I really hope you enjoy these vegan Starbucks cream cheese pumpkin muffins or your vegan Tim Horton’s pumpkin spice 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.

Printable recipe for Starbucks Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffin – US

Vegan Starbucks Cream Cheese Muffin Recipe - US
Serves 12
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.

Tim Horton's Pumpkin Spice Muffins are similar but have cream cheese frosting piped in after baking. If you prefer to make vegan Tim Horton's Pumpkin Spice Muffins, leave out the silken tofu based 'cream cheese' filling. Instead, make the Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting to pipe in after baking the muffins.

This recipe uses US measurements. For Metric amounts, click here.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
28 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
28 min
Vegan Cream Cheese Filling (for Starbucks version)
  1. 1/4 cup (2oz) silken tofu
  2. 2 tablespoons sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  4. 1 teaspoon canola oil or your choice of neutral oil
  5. 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  6. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting (for Timmies version)
  1. 2 tablespoons vegan cream cheese
  2. 2 tablespoons vegan butter
  3. 3/4 cup icing sugar
  4. 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dry Ingredients
  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour (see notes for gf version)
  2. 1 tablespoon baking powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 2 teaspoons Pumpkin Spice Mix (see below)
  5. pinch salt
Pumpkin Spice Mix
  1. 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  2. 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  3. 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  4. 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  5. 1/8 teaspoon cloves
Wet Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup soy milk or your choice of plant milk
  2. 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  3. 1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree (1 14oz can)
  4. 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  5. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  6. 1/4 cup canola oil or your choice of neutral oil
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Crumb Topping
  1. 2 tablespoons white or brown sugar
  2. 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or oat flour
  3. 2 teaspoons vegan butter
Sugared Pumpkin seeds
  1. 1 tablespoon hulled pumpkin seeds
  2. 1/2 tablespoon icing sugar
  3. 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. Make the Vegan Cream Cheese Filling for the Starbucks-like baked in filling OR make the Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting for a Tim Hortons-like version that is piped in after baking. Blend all 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. Overmixing 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. If you're making Tim Hortons-style muffins with Frosting, skip to the next step. If you're making Starbucks-style muffins with baked in Filling, 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. Take care not to over fill.
  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 transfering to a cooling rack.
  8. For Tim Horton-style muffins, when the muffins are cool, use a straw or sharp knife to cut away a 'v' shape from the middle of each muffin. Or just use a chopstick to poke a hole and wiggle it a bit to make more space. Then using a piping bag, fill each muffin with the Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting.
  9. Enjoy! Like most baked goods, these muffins are best served on the same day.
Notes
  1. Measuring flour: Make sure to measure the flour correctly. When using regular all-purpose flour, 2 cups of flour is 250g or 8.46oz.
  2. 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. 2 cups of oat flour weighs 200g or 7oz.
  3. Also use oat flour in the crumb mixture.
  4. 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.
Mary's Test Kitchen http://www.marystestkitchen.com/

Printable recipe for Starbucks Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffin – Metric

Vegan Starbucks Cream Cheese Muffin Recipe - Metric
Serves 12
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.

Tim Horton's Pumpkin Spice Muffins are similar but have cream cheese frosting piped in after baking. If you prefer to make vegan Tim Horton's Pumpkin Spice Muffins, leave out the silken tofu based 'cream cheese' filling. Instead, make the Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting to pipe in after baking the muffins.

This recipe uses Metric measurements. For US amounts, click here.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
28 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
28 min
Vegan Cream Cheese Filling (for Starbucks version)
  1. 60g silken tofu
  2. 25g sugar
  3. 5ml cornstarch
  4. 5mlcanola oil or your choice of neutral oil
  5. 2.5ml lemon juice
  6. 2.5ml vanilla extract
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting (for Timmies version)
  1. 30g vegan cream cheese
  2. 30g vegan butter
  3. 94g icing sugar
  4. 1.25ml vanilla extract
Dry Ingredients
  1. 240g flour (see notes for gf version)
  2. 15ml baking powder
  3. 2.5ml baking soda
  4. 10ml Pumpkin Spice Mix (see below)
  5. pinch salt
Pumpkin Spice Mix
  1. 6.25ml cinnamon (1 1/4 tsp)
  2. 1.25ml ginger (1/4 tsp)
  3. 1.25ml nutmeg (1/4 tsp)
  4. 0.625ml allspice (1/8 tsp)
  5. 0.625ml cloves (1/8 tsp)
Wet Ingredients
  1. 120ml soy milk or your choice of plant milk
  2. 10ml apple cider vinegar
  3. 1 391ml can pumpkin puree
  4. 45g granulated white sugar
  5. 50g brown sugar
  6. 60ml cup canola oil or your choice of neutral oil
  7. 5ml vanilla extract
Crumb Topping
  1. 30ml white or brown sugar
  2. 30ml all-purpose flour or oat flour
  3. 10ml vegan butter
Sugared Pumpkin seeds
  1. 30ml hulled pumpkin seeds
  2. 15ml icing sugar
  3. oil spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 218°C. Lightly grease the top surface of your baking tray with vegan butter. Line it with parchment or silicone baking cups.
  2. Make the Vegan Cream Cheese Filling for the Starbucks-like baked in filling OR make the Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting for a Tim Hortons-like version that is piped in after baking. Blend all 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. Overmixing 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. If you're making Tim Hortons-style muffins with Frosting, skip to the next step. If you're making Starbucks-style muffins with baked in Filling, 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. Take care not to over fill.
  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 218°C for 8 minutes, then turn down temperature to 175°C 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 transfering to a cooling rack.
  8. For Tim Horton-style muffins, when the muffins are cool, use a straw or sharp knife to cut away a 'v' shape from the middle of each muffin. Or just use a chopstick to poke a hole and wiggle it a bit to make more space. Then using a piping bag, fill each muffin with the Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting.
  9. Enjoy! Like most baked goods, these muffins are best served on the same day.
Notes
  1. Measuring flour: Make sure to measure the flour correctly. When using regular all-purpose flour, use 250g.
  2. 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. 2 cups of oat flour weighs 200g.
  3. Also use oat flour in the crumb mixture.
  4. Pumpkin Puree: Not all cans contain the same amount. During testing, I found that my 391ml cans contained a bit more than 391ml. Be sure to measure out 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree (240g).
Mary's Test Kitchen http://www.marystestkitchen.com/
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Showing 4 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.

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