For this week’s Muffin Monday, I decided to go with something festive since it’s Mardi Gras on Tuesday, so naturally, King Cake! Now, the last time I had a King Cake was in middle school French class, so my memory of them has more or less disintegrated. According to the internet, they’re basically a giant cinnamon roll sometimes also filled with fruit and cream cheese and then covered in a simple glaze and colored sugar. I remember them being good, but pretty dense and heavy, and I knew that’s not how I wanted this muffin version to be.
I decided to go with a basic muffin batter lightly spiced with cinnamon and then filled with both cream cheese and sauteed apples. Then I topped them off with a simple glaze and yellow, purple, and green sanding sugar.
The end result has all the festiveness and deliciousness of a King Cake but is lighter and won’t weigh you down the way a typical King Cake does. Give up anything else for Lent, just not these muffins.
Of all the produce + cream cheese pairings, carrots and cream cheese are probably the most ubiquitous, thanks to the deliciousness of carrot cake. My personal favorite, though, is probably pumpkin and cream cheese because of my obsession with the former and its exponential tastiness when paired with the latter.
These muffins are the perfect combination of both. The muffin itself is so moist that it’s plenty tasty on its own, but the layer of cream cheese adds a nice creamy tanginess to the whole package. They remind me of those cream-filled Hostess snack cakes but way more delicious.
I love gluten. I really, really love it. If gluten were a band, I would be its groupie and follow it around on tours and buy all of its CDs and get its name tattooed to my ass. That’s how much I love gluten.
But these gluten-free cupcakes…I would happily cheat on gluten with these babies. They use almond flour only, which is unique because almond flour is typically a secondary flour that’s used in conjunction with brown rice flour or other bean flours. Using almond flour really helps keep the flavor and texture similar to a regular cupcake, so you can’t even tell that it’s gluten free. There’s also no xanthan or guar gum, so no need to hunt around for specialty ingredients – at the same time, because these ingredients are omitted, these cupcakes don’t bake up quite as high as typical cupcakes would. Either way, they’re still delicious, and would make a great birthday treat for gluten-intolerants and gluten-lovers alike.