O tart cherries, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. In pie, in muffins, in coffee cake…okay, you get the idea.
So, I went back and forth between calling these muffins and cupcakes (naturally, they were consumed at various times of day), and eventually settled on muffins. I decided that the key difference between the two is frosting – cupcakes should have frosting. If it doesn’t have frosting, it’s a muffin and that means it’s totally fair game to eat it for breakfast. Sound reasonable? Dissenters?
Okay, good. These muffins have a simple vanilla base with a cherry-laden cream cheese center, and are topped with more cherries and a streusel crumble. If you can’t find tart cherries, sweet cherries will do, but I highly recommend trying to find some tart ones, especially if you live in the big tart cherry growing states (Michigan, Washington, New York, Pennsylvania, etc.).
Did you know that tart cherries have anti-inflammatory properties, and can help reduce muscle damage and pain? They have also been linked to lowering cholesterol levels and reducing bone loss in old age. Drinking tart cherry juice can even help combat insomnia! Tart cherries have a whole slew of health benefits like these (and more!), which I learned about from a brochure I got at King Orchards when I was there to pick cherries. As if you needed an additional incentive to make these tart cherry cream cheese muffins! Okay, I admit, scientists *may* not be suggesting that we should all eat more tart cherries via cream cheese muffins, but hey, you’re still getting more health benefits from a cherry muffin than a plain, non-cherry muffin, right? Now, go forth and seek tart cherries!
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, melted
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups tart cherries, pitted
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter or margarine, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup milk
- 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup pitted, chopped tart cherries
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a muffin tin, or line with paper liners.
- For the topping: combine the flour, sugars, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter and mix until thoroughly combined and little clusters form. Set aside.
- For the muffins: in the bowl of a mixer, cream together butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each egg. Mix in the vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture and the milk to the mixer bowl in two alternating additions each, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
- In the bowl from the flour mixture, mix together the cream cheese and chopped cherries.
- Portion half of the batter into the prepared muffin tin cups. Scoop small spoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture into each cup. Top with remaining batter.
- Place cherries on top of the batter (4-5 cherries per cup). Carefully sprinkle the prepared topping over the cherries.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the muffins are golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean (try to avoid testing through the cream cheese centers!).
Heather @ Sweet Precision says
I agree that cupcakes need to have frosting! These muffins look absolutely delicious, the cream cheese is such a fun addition. I love biting into a dessert a discovering a surprise filling 🙂
Glad we’re on the same page! And yes, surprise fillings are so fun!
How adorable they are??? Your muffins (almost cupcake) I’ve just used sour cherries yesterday in a pie, they are so cute, aren’t they? Thanks for sharing!
Thanks!! I love tart cherries – they really are cute, aren’t they?
I’ve made muffins too 😀 Yours look adorable and cute!
Thanks! I just took a look at yours – the currants are so beautiful!
i love these tart cherries! these look great.
Me too – tart cherries are so gorgeous! Thanks 🙂
Emily @ Zen & Spice says
These look amazing! Another fantastic cherry recipe! 🙂
Thanks! Yup, I’ve been thinking of ways to use cherries ever since I stocked up a couple weeks ago 🙂
Baking With Gab says
These sound delicious. And those cherries look so beautiful that they almost look fake!!
Haha I know, they’re ridiculously photogenic cherries, aren’t they?!
lisa lawless (@lisaiscooking) says
I wish I could get tart cherries here! These muffins look delightful. Love the crumb topping!
Ah yes, unfortunately fresh tart cherries can be hard to come by. I haven’t used canned/jarred cherries in baking (only in cooking), but I would imagine you could get pretty good results! I know Trader Joe’s sells jars of Morello cherries…
Cream cheese + muffin = quite possibly the best combination ever seen by man kind. Omg. Drool!
Haha yes, cream cheese and muffins go together SO well, don’t they? Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Thalia @ butter and brioche says
i can’t get enough of cherries right now! these muffins look delicious.. so craving one!
You and me both! I just keep buying more and more cherries…
Wow! They look insanely delicious! Are you sure they’re supposed to look so good? They are too tempting!
Haha, thank you!
Laurie @ Frosting and a Smile says
Oh, why oh why aren’t we neighbors? I could use a delivery right now. I think you made the right call with “muffins.” That’s a sneaky way to convince your brain they are healthier. Your photos are lovely.
Why thank you! And yes, terminology makes a big psychological difference, doesn’t it? 😛
These were fantastic! I’ve been looking for alternative to pies and compotes to use up fruit that we pick. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks! I’m glad to hear they caught your eye 🙂 We’ve *still* got fruit in the freezer that we picked last summer!
Muffin Maker says
I made the muffins. My kids love them! Halfway through the double batch, I added a very ripe banana, dumped all three bowls together, and added about a cup of walnut pieces. I like the later batches even better! Thanks–great recipe!