April 3, 2009

Double Lemon Poppy Seed Cheesecake Muffins

Let me begin by saying that I fail epically at using mixes to make something more complex. I can make things from scratch. I can follow box instructions. But when I try to combine the two and make alterations to a box mix, my world falls apart quicker than a nymphomaniac at a prison rodeo.

Thank goodness I have the Cake Mix Doctor to help me out. My friend A. has made numerous recipes from the Cake Mix Doctor's cupcake cookbook. She lauded them to me, saying that they were delicious (I tasted the results, so I could not object) and, with only a few ingredients including box cake mix, oh so easy to prepare. I borrowed her copy of the cookbook and made Double Lemon Poppy Seed Cheesecake Muffins for my hungry first-year students.

The recipe, for those of you baking along at home:
Cheesecake Filling
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
1 large egg
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon zest
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 package (15.8 ounces) lemon poppy seed muffin mix
1 cup milk
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
The Cake Mix Doctor is a little too verbose for my taste, so I won't copy her instructions verbatim. Basically, all you do is combine the cheesecake filling ingredients

And blend them together using a hand mixer.

If you're me, you try to grate the lemon zest using a cheap, battery-powered food processor you bought at Goodwill for $2.

You realize that it runs at approximately 7 rpm, which means that nothing gets grated. So you pick up the grater in the food processor and use it to grate the lemon zest, since it's the only thing you have in the house.

Then, since you don't want to throw out a perfectly good lemon, you squeeze half a lemon's worth of juice into the cheesecake filling and muffin batter. Then you eat the other half for breakfast. Did I mention that I was baking this at 7:00 in the morning?

Once you're done mixing the cheesecake filling, do the same for the muffin mix.

I'm sure you know this already, but muffin mix need only be thoroughly combined, so there's no need for a hand mixer.

Again, if you're me, you remember to "preheat" the oven to 400°F just prior to putting the muffins in the oven. Drop the muffin mix into each muffin cup and top it off with a heaping tablespoon of the cheesecake mixture.

This recipe is supposed to yield 12 muffins, but it made more like 11 gargantuan ones. Also, my oven is hotter in the back than in the front (don't ask my why), so some of them were burned while a few were undercooked.

All the same, they were a hit with my students. Granted, that doesn't say much, since first-year college students are part-Gremlin and part-tribble. In other words, they multiply like crazy and consume everything in their path. Still, they enjoyed the muffins, and so did I. So there. Thank you Cake Mix Doctor for keeping my world together.


  1. I'm glad you blogged these muffins! And I'm glad that I'm not the only one using kitchen gadgetry for purposes wildly divergent from its intended.

    Also... just a note on my personal life: the library cluster is not suitable for blogging. I'm listening to a tour right now. And I don't want to be listening to a tour.

  2. Evan, these look amazing. Thanks for sharing the recipe - I'm definitely going to have to make these muffins sometime in the very near future.