A red carpet delicacy, these cream cheese muffins are a muffinized™ Red Velvet cake, perfect for watching the Academy Awards (tonight). The color is rich and red, thanks to the beet powder, which is undetectable by taste.
The cream cheese swirled into the batter adds a subtle tang and provides extra moisture. The crumb topping is sweet, sandy, and slightly crunchy – it’s difficult not to pick off each crumb one by one!
Red Velvet Cream Cheese Muffins (makes 12)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, diced into cubes
*recipe yields extra crumb topping
Cream Cheese Mixture
4 ounces brick-style cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1 large egg
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp natural unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tsp beet powder (or 2 tsp red liquid natural food coloring)
1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray.
2. Crumb Topping– In a medium mixing bowl, add the sugar and flour. Use two forks or a pastry cutter to cut in the butter until you have coarse crumbs; set aside.
3. Cream Cheese Mixture– In a separate medium mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and beat with a handheld electric mixer until smooth, or whisk by hand until smooth; set aside.
4. Muffins– In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
5. In a separate medium mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, oil, buttermilk, cocoa powder, and beet powder.
6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just until moistened. (Do not overmix. Batter is thick and lumpy.)
7. Fold the cream cheese mixture into the muffin batter, being careful not to overmix. Some streaks of cream cheese should remain.
8. With an ice cream scoop, spoon batter into muffin pan, filling each cavity to two-thirds full. (Do not overfill. If cavities are too full, the crumb topping will spill onto muffin pan).
9. Evenly sprinkle each muffin with the crumb topping.
10. Bake for about 17 to 19 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool in pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Muffins will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months.