Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pumpkin Cheddar Muffins

Fall is here and even though I live on the west coast and a short drive from the ocean, I absorb the trappings of the season as even Southern California can present. Fall is my favorite season and not just because I was born in October but because I have a sincere fondness for the seasonal foods with the warm spices and the change in weather means cool ocean breezes are replaced by the annual warm Santa Ana winds that roll through the mountains and onto the Pacific.


I also live just a couple miles from the local Underwood Family Farm and each year I get to witness the excitement in local residents as they spend more time at the farm stands buying seasonal produce and sorting through the pumpkins up for sale to find just the right ones. This is also the start of hay rides and corn maize, mazes. These are all things I look forward to as summer ends and fall begins.

With all that said, doing our first official fall recipe in Club Baked is something I have been waiting to dig into albeit with some skepticism. A recipe with these types of ingredients that indicates a sweet/savory muffin left me wondering if I would like it, hate it, or if it would be sort of- whatever. The end result is that the Pumpkin Cheddar Muffin is surprisingly very tasty and I had to stop myself from eating more. In fact that is not true...I didn't stop myself! I am still eating them as I write this post.


1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/4 cups (about 4 ounces) grated sharp cheddar
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, optional


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly spray each cup of a standard 12-cup muffin pan with a little bit of vegetable spray and use a paper towel to spread the oil evenly along the bottom and up the sides of each cup.

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and sour cream. Add the eggs and butter and whisk until combined.

In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, and brown sugar. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the well, and fold until just combined. Fold in three-quarters of the cheese.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Spring the remaining cheddar and the pumpkin seeds on top of the muffins. Bake them for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let the muffin pan cool on a rack for 10 minutes before turning the muffins out. Serve them warm.

Muffins taste best when eaten fresh, but they can be made ahead of time and reheated in a 200-degree oven.


  • At the advice of the authors in the 'Baked Note' (on the recipe page) to try the "raw-milk" variety of cheddar cheese I went to a local store,Whole Foods, that carries a wide variety of more indulgent, organic, and gourmet products to see if I could hunt this product down. Unfortunately, I did not find it  (pretty sure I just didn't look hard enough) although I did buy some other delicious cheeses for snacking. In the end, I used an organic brand of sharp cheddar from Vons.
  • I used the smaller pumpkin seeds for garnishing the muffin tops which I seasoned and baked prior to making the muffin recipe. I mixed the seeds with some sugar, butter, garlic powder, cayenne, chili powder, and Parmesan. I put the seeds on half of the muffins, the other half without. In the end both my roommate and I preferred the muffins with these sweet/savory seeds as they added just the right of amount of kick and the flavors blended beautifully with the muffin and added some needed textural crunch. My roommate and I discussed all the delicious crock-pot recipes this muffin would go great with in the coming months. It could easily take the place of a cornbread muffin with a savory winter chili
  • The recipe does call out for a standard size muffin pan (yield 12 muffins) but I used a large 6 muffin pan since I am large muffin kind of girl.



  1. Gorgeous sunset photo! The farm looks fun. I'll have to see if we have anything around here.

    Your jumbo muffins look yummy. Love the idea of the sweet and spicy pumpkin seeds. Nicely done BF!

  2. What a beautiful sunset!! My son lives in Los Angeles and I am envious of your sunsets and weather!

    We were so surprised about these muffins, too. Delicious and yours look beautiful.

  3. Hi Crystal! We live nearby......I'm in Valencia :) We love going to Underwood.....we had our son's birthday party there last year.....such a fun place! Great job on the muffins.....they look fantastic!

  4. This recipe sounded kinda funky, but you've convinced me to try it!