Can we talk about strawberry cheesecake muffins for a minute? Because I made some the other day, and they turned out rather well.

Here is a secret: I am not, at present, at my thinnest. Babies will do that to you, apparently. One would think that the best cure for this would be to stop eating so much cake, but that is not the kind of thinking-outside-of-the-box I’m aiming for. My solution, for the moment, is to occasionally bake stuff with fruit in it, and to allow logic to languish by the wayside until I’m getting a little more sleep. Anyone who tells you that cake doesn’t help with disturbed nights is a teller of falsehoods, and that is the end of it.

Anyway. Strawberry. Cheesecake. Muffins. Three marvellous things rolled into one glorious whole. I found them in my BBC Good Food Cakes and Bakes book, but they’re also here. The muffin mix is a standard flour-sugar-eggs-milk-butter-baking powder concoction, and since the butter needs to be melted, absolutely no creaming is required. The recipe specifies that the mixture should be ‘loose and slightly lumpy’, warning that over-mixing leads to tough muffins. With a sound like a light bulb going off, I remembered that the scones recipe I use asks for the mixture to be combined with a cutlery knife. This is so incredibly awkward that it prevents you mixing too enthusiastically (thus ensuring lightness of scone). So I got out a knife for the muffin mix, too, and it worked just fine.

Knifed.

The next stage is mixing together cream cheese and sugar for the filling.

Then comes the assembly. First, half-fill your paper cases with muffin mix. Then add half a small strawberry…

…and a blob of the cream cheese mixture.

Another spoonful of muffin mix goes over the top to hide the filling.

(Don’t judge me by the colour of my muffin tins, by the way. They’re actually Yorkshire pudding tins, so they don’t get washed. This is the Law of Yorkshire Pudding Tins, and cannot be helped.)

After fifteen minutes in the oven, they’ve risen a fair bit. I didn’t want to burn them so didn’t cook mine quite long enough – they were a little sticky and not very golden-brown. But the muffin was not at all tough (yessss, cutlery knife!) and the filling was a marvel.

Be careful to wait till they’ve cooled a little. Boiling strawberry is not something you want on your tongue under any circumstances. We’ve made this mistake before.

Deliciousness: I find it hard to get excited about muffins, generally, but the filling makes these a little more special. A crowd-pleaser for guests, I bet.

Complexity: Don’t boil your butter into cheese. Otherwise, very easy. A little more assembly than your average muffin, but more enjoyable for that.

Washing-up pile: I rather think the Other Half did the washing up after these, so I didn’t count. Use paper cases rather than the silicone variety for a smaller pile.

Casualties: Strawberry burns aplenty. Learn from our silliness.

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