These Strawberry Rhubarb Cream Cheese Muffins are sure to make an impression when you serve them. They are made with tangy pieces of rhubarb and fresh strawberries, baked with a cream cheese filling you will love, and topped with a crunchy sweet topping with just a hint of cinnamon. You may want to double this recipe; these muffins won't last long!
My rhubarb has just ripened up (I know, we are much later here in the northern part of the world), and I have been envisioning all of the wonderful things I want to make with it.
I have been craving homemade muffins recently, so I thought I would make rhubarb muffins, and strawberries pair perfectly with rhubarb. I had also been craving cheesecake, so that's how the idea for these muffins came to be.
What is rhubarb?
Rhubarb is actually a vegetable but is legally considered a fruit. In New York in 1947, a court declared rhubarb was a fruit.
Rhubarb is sold at grocery stores or farmers' markets by the stalk, like celery. It is harvested between April and June. The rhubarb stalks can range in color from bright pink to light pink to pale green. The color is not an indicator of ripeness or sweetness like it is with other fruit. The stalks are the only edible part of the plant. In fact, the leaves are poisonous; never eat them.
Why we LOVE these muffins
These strawberry rhubarb muffins are one of my favorite muffins because:
- They taste so delicious!
- These muffins are a great way to use rhubarb.
- They are easy to make.
- They are fancy enough to serve guests who come over for brunch or coffee or as a summer dessert.
- These muffins are so moist and full of flavor.
- You can freeze them if you have any leftovers (which I doubt you will).
- The cream cheese filling is out of this world delicious!
- They are very flavorful with rhubarb, strawberry, and a hint of cinnamon.
I have divided up the ingredients for the muffins by muffin ingredients, cream cheese filling ingredients, and crumb topping ingredients.
For the muffins, you will need:
- All-purpose flour. I wouldn't recommend whole wheat flour; it would make the muffin very dense and heavy.
- Baking powder, baking soda, and salt. These help the muffins to rise and make sure all the chemical reactions occur.
- Oil and unsalted butter, softened. Margarine will also work, but the butter gives it the best flavor. The oil and butter give the best texture and moistness to the muffin.
- Cane sugar. Regular sugar or coconut sugar would also work well.
- Egg. As always, use fresh, organic eggs.
- Yogurt. I used vanilla yogurt. Plain yogurt would also work. If you do not have yogurt, sour cream would also be a great substitution.
- Vanilla extract. This gives the muffin a wonderful vanilla flavor.
- Rhubarb, chopped into small pieces. I shredded mine in the food processor to get tiny little chunks; that way, the rhubarb would be spread evenly throughout the muffin, and you wouldn't get a large chunk of sour rhubarb.
- Strawberries, chopped into small pieces.
For the cream cheese filling you need:
- Cream cheese. Take it out earlier, so it is softened; it will become very smooth with no lumps.
- Cane sugar. You can also use regular white sugar or cane sugar.
- Vanilla extract. I use pure vanilla extract.
For the crumb topping you will need:
- All-purpose flour. I do not recommend whole wheat flour; it would change the taste.
- Brown sugar. It tastes best with brown sugar.
- Unsalted butter. I used cold butter; that way, you get the crumbly texture.
- Cinnamon. Do not leave this out; it adds an amazing flavor to the muffins.
Let's head to the kitchen to get started with these delicious muffins!
How to make these muffins
First of all, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with liners or spray muffin tins with cooking spray.
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Grab a second bowl and cream together the butter, sugar, and oil until smooth. Next, add the egg, yogurt, and vanilla extract and mix well. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture.
Toss the chopped rhubarb and strawberries with flour. Next, add the rhubarb and strawberries to the batter and lightly mix in with a spoon. Do not overmix.
Fill the muffin liners with batter about ⅔ full.
Mix the ingredients for the cream cheese filling; cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract. Drop 1 tablespoon onto the top of each muffin.
Mix flour, sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl, then mix in butter until crumbly. I start with a knife but usually end up using my hands to mix it. Sprinkle crumb mixture on top of muffins.
Bake for about 15 minutes until the muffins start to turn a light golden color on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove muffins carefully from the muffin pan and place them on a wire rack to cool for at least 5 minutes.
That's all there is to it. You can place chopped strawberries on top of the muffins to make the muffins look extra pretty. 😊
Once they are cool, you can place these muffins in an airtight container in the fridge. They will stay soft and delicious for about 3 or 4 days.
If you don't want to eat them all right away (as we did, we couldn't help ourselves, they were so good), you can wrap them individually in plastic wrap, once cooled, and place them in a freezer bag and keep them in the freezer. Then, when you want one, pull it out of the freezer and defrost it anytime you want one.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes, of course! I freeze rhubarb and strawberries every year; that way, I can make delicious treats like these muffins any time I want, even in winter. Just thaw the fruit before you use it, as they have a lot of water in them when they are frozen.
When using frozen rhubarb, measure out the rhubarb while it is still frozen, then thaw it completely. Drain the rhubarb in a colander, but do not press the liquid out.
Yes, it is one of the easiest foods to freeze. All you have to do is cut the leaves off and slice them into 1-piece chunks. I prefer to lay the pieces on parchment paper placed on a baking sheet, then place the rhubarb in the freezer to freeze for a few hours. Then remove from freezer, place in a freezer bag, and place back in the freezer. It will keep for up to 1 year in the freezer.
That's all there is to it! We never get tired of these muffins, they are a great muffin to have for brunch, as a snack at 3 p.m., or as a dessert with supper. They go great with an Orange Julius, Delicious Iced Coffee, or Homemade Lemon Ginger Tea.
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Strawberry Rhubarb Cream Cheese Muffins
- muffin tins
- electric mixer
- cooling rack
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter softened
- ¼ cup oil
- ¾ cup cane sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup vanilla yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped rhubarb, chopped in small pieces
- 1 cup strawberries, chopped in small pieces
For The Cream Cheese Filling
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- ½ cup cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For The Crumb Topping
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with liners.
- Prepare the crumb mixture first: In a small bowl, mix all-purpose flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Mix in butter. It will be very crumbly. Use your hands to mix if you like. Set aside.
- Prepare the cream cheese filling: Mix cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer. Beat until smooth. If the cream cheese is at room temperature, it will blend smoothly with no lumps. Set aside.
- Now for the muffin part: In a mixing bowl, combine the first four dry ingredients.
- In a second bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and oil until smooth.
- Add the egg, yogurt, and vanilla extract to the sugar mixture and mix well.
- Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture.
- Toss the chopped rhubarb and strawberries with 1 tablespoon flour. Add the rhubarb and strawberries to the batter and lightly mix in. Do not overmix.
- Fill the muffin tins. Use a ¼-cup scoop to fill the liners. Fill them until they are ⅔ full.
- Drop 1 tablespoon of the cream mixture on the top of each muffin. I like to make a small indent on the top of the muffin to add the cream cheese.
- Sprinkle crumb mixture on top of muffins with a small spoon. Sprinkle it evenly over all of the muffins.
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes until the muffins are golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Do not overbake.
- Remove muffins carefully from the muffin pan and place on a wire rack to cool for at least 5 minutes.