• Somewhere between a cupcake and a muffin, with a cream cheese swirl, instead of an icing, these are deliciously tempting! If you prefer not to use white chocolate, macadamias or dried cranberries, you can leave them out of the recipe for a simpler version – these ingredients, however, do make these an extra-special treat.

    Recipe and styling by Claire Ferrandi

    Photograph by Dylan Swart

    Cinnamon, white chocolate, macadamia and cranberry cream-cheese-swirl muffins

    Serves: Makes 24
    Cooking Time: 1 hr 30 mins



    • 330g cake flour
    • 10ml (2 tsp) baking powder
    • pinch salt
    • 10ml (2 tsp) ground cinnamon
    • 400g treacle sugar
    • 250g butter, softened
    • 2 extra-large eggs
    • 10ml (2 tsp) vanilla essence
    • 250ml (1 cup) water
    • 1 x 80g slab white chocolate,chopped into small cubes
    • 50g roasted and salted macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
    • 50g dried cranberries, roughly chopped

    • 130g cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 10ml (2 tsp) vanilla essence
    • 20ml (4 tsp) castor sugar

    • 30ml (2 tbsp) granulated sugar
    • 5ml (1 tsp) ground cinnamon
    • icing sugar, to dust (optional)



    Preheat the oven to 180°C and add 24 cupcake cases to 2 standard 12-cup muffin tins. For the muffins, place the cake flour, baking powder, salt and 10ml (2 tsp) ground cinnamon in a bowl, and whisk to remove any lumps. Place the treacle sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat, using an electric mixer, until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and beat again until well combined, about 3 minutes, then add the vanilla essence and water, and beat well to fully incorporate the ingredients.


    Add the cinnamon-flour mixture to the egg mixture and fold together gently until just combined (do not overmix). Fold in the white chocolate cubes, macadamia nuts and the dried cranberries.


    For the cream cheese swirl, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Divide the muffin batter among the 24 cases (each should be about 2/3 full). Add a teaspoonful cream cheese mixture to the top of each muffin and gently swirl it into the batter ever so slightly, using the handle of a spoon or a skewer.


    For the crunchy topping, combine the 30ml (2 tbsp) granulated sugar and 5ml (1 tsp) ground cinnamon in a small bowl, then add a sprinkling of the mixture to the top of each muffin. Bake in the preheated oven, 15 – 20 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the cakey part of the muffins comes out clean (if you insert the skewer into the cream cheese swirl, even if baked, the skewer won’t come out clean).


    Allow the muffins to cool down on a wire rack, about 15 minutes, before serving dusted with icing sugar, if desired.

    Imka Webb

    Imka Webb is a freelance digital marketing expert and the digital editor of Food & Home Entertaining magazine.  www.imkawebb.com