Gingerbread Cream Cheese Muffins (Low Carb and Gluten Free)


When I first came to grips with the fact that my blood sugar issues weren’t going anywhere, I found myself scouring the internet, looking for information on the low carb lifestyle and sugar-free cooking and baking. I was fortunate that early on, I found Splendid Low Carbing, a blog by low carb cookbook author, Jennifer Eloff. Her creations inspired me and gave me hope that my diet need not consist purely of meat and vegetables, that there were many delicious ways to bake and cook with low carb ingredients. I perused her site constantly, looking for tips and ideas, and it was invaluable to me. So imagine my delight when a few months ago, Jennifer stopped by my own blog to tell me how much she liked it. We’ve been in contact a number of times since then and I am pleased to count Jennifer among my many food-blogging acquaintances.

In a recent email exchange, I told Jennifer how I had my eye on her Cream Cheese Gingerbread Muffins. Her response was interesting, she seemed to think that they could stand some tweaking and told me she thought I could improve upon them. I did have some changes in mind, only because I didn’t have the exact same ingredients and because I have my own preferred sweeteners that I like to use. Being snowed in for two days gave me the perfect opportunity to try out the recipe. To make them gluten free, I followed her suggestion of vanilla whey protein powder in place of the gluten flour, and skipped the extra vanilla extract. I also skipped the sugar-free gingerbread syrup, and upped the ground ginger and the molasses. Finally, I added a bit of almond milk to make up for the bulk I was missing by using stevia as one of my sweeteners.

If you are diabetic or carb-conscious, chances are you’ve heard of Jennifer. If you haven’t, get over to her site STAT! And even if you are not counting carbs, you should check out her blog. Not only does she have some great recipes, but she also posts interesting and informative news articles about health and diet that are always worth a read. Splendid Low Carbing with Jennifer Eloff

The Results: As I haven’t actually tried the original recipe, I cannot say for certain that mine were an improvement over hers. But I can say for certain that these were incredibly delicious! The flavour was wonderfully gingerbread-like, without being overly sweet, and the texture was light and cakey. And they were a huge success in that my kids, who often distain my low carb treats, just loved them. So much so that about 10 seconds after I’d served them, I looked over to see one child with chipmunk cheeks and no muffin in front of her, having stuffed it in her mouth all in one go.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen me lamenting their appearance; they rose too high on the sides and not enough in the middle, and they stuck to the pan quite badly. This may be the result of my pan, which appears to be losing its non-stick qualities. It’s one of those Wilton pans with a dark coating, and it absorbs heat more than some of the lighter pans, hence the over-risen edges of the muffins. The batter for these muffins is quite delicate and fluffy and I think the issues could be solved with some muffin liners (preferably silicone) and baking at a lower temperature. I fully intend to find out because these were a hit with everyone and I want to bake them again this weekend.

Gingerbread Cream Cheese Muffins – adapted from Splendid Low Carbing

8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
3 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
2 tsp molasses (optional, but gives better flavour and colour)
16 drops stevia extract
1 1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup vanilla whey protein powder
1/4 cup granulated erythritol
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 325F and line a 12-muffin pan with paper or silicone liners.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl and beaters as needed. Add almond milk, molasses and stevia extract and beat until just incorporated.

In a medium bowl, stir together almond flour, whey powder, erythritol, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Add to wet ingredients and beat until just incorporated, being careful not to overmix.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and center is set.

Serves 12. Each muffin has a total of 8.9g of carbs, but only 4.9g if you subtract erythritol.

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  1. Three-Cookies says

    Sounds delicious. Did it have an 'almondy' taste and aroma? Almond/ginger combination is little unusual I think, glad to hear it worked well. Have you tried using other types of flours – coconut flour etc?

  2. Sugar Free Low Carb says

    I'm also a fan of Jennifer Eloff. I bought her cookbooks back when they first came out and Splenda had just been hitting the US market. The muffins look and sound tasty.

  3. Sommer J says

    Ooooh I will have to try these next week! Perhaps I will even try using almond flour. I used almond flour once with a friend who is celiac and it was quite nice and my little ones didn't notice a difference.

  4. thecountrycook says

    Wow – they sound amazing! Although, we aren't a gluten free family, when it comes to sweets – we are equal opportunity. And honestly, they look beautiful!

  5. Angela@RecipesFromMyMom says

    Your combination of almond, molasses and vanilla whey are great additions. I'm not diabetic so I'd be tempted to add some crystallized ginger – I like that you upped the ginger! I bet Jennifer will love your tweaks.

  6. Lindsey says

    These look delicious! I think the slightly sunken middle gives them personality. :) I'm definitely bookmarking these!

  7. Kate @ says

    I opened this post as I was taking a sip of my coffee…I think it's needless to say that I started to daydream about that muffin sitting next to me! The ginger, the cream cheese, molasses…oh dear!

  8. Amy Bakes Everything says

    Oh, how yummy! I really miss gingerbread…like I can only make it in December…Love the cream cheese!

  9. Lisa @ Thrive Style says

    Those sound amazing! What a good combo. I've got this bag of erythritol sitting around that I need to start using!

  10. sara @ CaffeIna says

    I don't have sugar issues but I would totally want to have breakfast and afternoon snack with these muffins!

  11. Charlie @ SweetSaltySpicy says

    These muffins sound delicious, especially for a gingerbread fan like me ;). Love the added protein too :).

  12. Annie says

    I have found that no matter how good my pans are recipes like this often stick because of the low fat content. I usually just spray them a bit more. Other than that the muffins sound like they would be delicious and right up my alley as I have been looker for lower carb options myself lately. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Joanne says

    It's amazing the people who you meet through blogging…aren't they just the best! I love the sound of these gingerbread cream cheese muffins and I'm so glad you've found a way to eat through this dietary challenge that life has given you!

  14. Sandra says

    Those muffins look and sound so good and delicious! You are very creative and clever baker, and I think that you would found even without help of books and internet way to overcome your challenges!

  15. Nicole@ The Dirty Oven says

    I love gingerbread and cream cheese…this is a must do! Thanks for sharing. Your blog is just wonderful!

  16. Kicking Carbs says

    I will have to try this recipe. I have made a pumpkin cranberry gingerbread muffin, which is similar, but I think the cream cheese would be a nice flavor addition.


  17. Medifats Coupon says

    This is a great low carb recipe! Gingerbread shouldn't be just reserved for the holidays, and put into muffins is perfect.

  18. Wilde in the Kitchen says

    I notice you use whey protein powder, is it easy to throw into baked goods, or do you have to change the recipes a lot? I love the idea of adding protein to breads & muffins.

  19. Nia says

    About the shape, you really have to make sure you don't overmix the final batter. My dad and I make little cupcake cheesecakes, and even with cupcake liners, the middles sink. It's the cream cheese, I think.

  20. Cake Duchess says

    It's ok that they fell in middle. That happens sometimes. I am sure they were delicious! Love the flavor combos!!:)

  21. Emma says

    yum. Love love love the flavours in these, love anything spicy really but with the richness of cream cheese these look lovely.

  22. Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels says

    I couldn't wait to hear about the muffins that your kids loved. They look so incredibly delicious and you know I love anything gingerbread flavored! I actually like how they look! :)

  23. Jennifer says

    Thanks, Carolyn, for your kind words. I just know you are going to make your mark in the low-carb world and help many people on their special diet enjoy it even more.

    I loved the comment about the "chipmunk cheeks". Too cute – you have a way with words, Carolyn.

  24. Anonymous says

    Just made these and they were great. I did make two changes.

    First, I upped the ginger to 1 1/2 teaspoons. Gave a bit stronger flavor.

    Secondly, I sifted the almond flour when making it and sifted all the dry ingredients together. I make my almond flour using a coffee grinder and a sifter.

    I must say other than a faint taste of nuts, this is the best I've made. Will be checking out your other stuff. Also will make this again, but halve the recipe. It made 18 muffins plus 8 mini-donuts.

  25. Katharine says

    I just made these exactly as written – my first recipe from your site! I have never baked with protein powder or erythritol before and was a little nervous. When I took them out of the oven I could smell the protein powder, which was a smidge off-putting (I have a crazy sensitive nose, unfortunately). And the raw batter felt more “fluffy” than I’m used to, so I was curious how the texture would turn out. All concerns disappeared when I tasted one and it was so great!!! And after just a short time cooling the “weird” smell had dissipated. My husband ate one and really liked it, and my 4 year old son said “these are good….REALLY good!” (poor guy has tested a lot of so-so experiments lately). YAY!!!! Can’t wait to make even more recipes. And I can’t believe how low carb it is, which I definitely need as someone with high blood sugar! Thanks Carolyn!

    • Carolyn says

      Oh yay, I am glad you liked it! You know, if you find vanilla whey too strong, try unflavoured. It’s not sweetened, so you may have to up the sweetener a bit in the specific recipe, but I have turned to it more and more. I find the vanilla flavour can overpower some other flavours sometimes so I am beginning to prefer the unflavoured.

  26. Becca says

    I have been using your site for a few months ever since I quit my low-fat (and low-taste, coincidentally? i think not :)) and i must say, every recipe I’ve tried has come out amazingly. I made these for a newly low carbing friend who loves gingerbread, and was delighted (and surprised by) their moist texture. So much so, that my friend nearly never received them. On a side note, I also love how honest you are with the results, makes your site seem homey and you like an old friend sharing the delights and pitfalls of baking. Anyway, thank you for your delectable recipes!

    • Carolyn says

      Thanks! I’ve stopped doing the “results” section specifically, but I still do say what I honestly think of the recipe in the body of my post. I dropped it because as I’ve gained skill with low carb ingredients, most of my recipes turn out really well so there’s no need to say “It’s great!” every time. 😉

  27. Julie says

    These are my favourite thing I’ve baked thus far!! My dad (82) is diabetic and I am low carb – so I’m always on the lookout for something yummy. These were moist and oh so tasty – used a wee bit more cinnamon – they were fabulous. Even made my own cream cheese with your recipe to use in this recipe. Thanks so much for all you share…..

  28. f1ossy says

    I love these muffins, especially a day or two after cooking. Thanks you and Jennifer! My traditional favourite birthday cake was a ginger sponge (pre diabetes). I made this recipe and baked it as a cake (8 or 9 in Wilton non stick) and cut it in two layers and filled next day with your pastry cream (from your Boston pie, but not made quite as sweet) . Decorated the top with stencils and powdered erythritol. Didn’t fall at all in middle. Perfectly flat and nice shiny firm top. I had to cook it probably twice as long (clean skewer thing). My new birthday cake! It was just great! Thanks again

  29. Helena Angelina says

    Hi Caroline,

    When you say in the nutritional info, that it has less carbs if you subtract erythritol, do you mean that we can leave the erythritol out of the recipe and just use stevia extract to sweeten?

    These, as always, look delish – and right up my alley! :)

    • Carolyn says

      Sorry, I just saw this now. No, I mean if you subtract erythritol carbs from the total carbs because they don’t have an effect on blood sugar.

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