Sour Cream and Cherry Muffins

by Gena on December 2, 2011

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On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…sour cream and cherry muffins!

Specifically, vegan sour cream muffins with dried cherries and an oatmeal crumble topping. Not a bad way to celebrate the end of a long week, nor to welcome the Christmas season officially. These muffins are delicious, and easy, but they’re also a wonderful idea for edible giving and festive brunch entertaining. Best of all, they’re 100% vegan, and they’re full of healthy little twists on traditional muffin recipes, starting here:

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My favorite new flour: organic sprouted spelt flour from Shiloh Farms. I have no idea what the claim “digests as a vegetable” is supposed to mean, but regardless, I love this flour, which I found recently on sale at the Georgetown Dean & Deluca (to find anything on sale at the Dean & Deluca is fairly miraculous, let alone specialty flour). Spelt flour is a great alternative to whole wheat pastry flour (my norm): I particularly like the taste and texture of this flour, which is wholesome but delicate. It’s fabulous for healthy baking, and no one will guess that it’s whole grain unless you tell them.

This recipe, of course, must also feature a vegan spin on sour cream. I used my tofu sour cream, which is as simple as can be:

Tofu Sour Cream (vegan, gluten free)

Makes about 1 3/4 cup

12 oz silken, organic, non-GMO tofu
Juice of 1 large lemon
1/4 tsp salt

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor or blender till absolutely smooth and creamy. This should taste tangy and a little salty. Thin with water if yours is on the thick side (which happens to be how I like it!)

The muffins themselves use this wonderful sour cream substitute—which is also good on tacos, potatoes, and anything you’d normally garnish with sour cream—to create a moist texture the slightest hint of sour-sweet taste. You’ll be amazed at how rich these muffins taste, in spite of the fact that the whole recipe calls for only 1/4 cup oil (and that could be reduced by 2 tbsp if you’re on a lower-fat diet). No matter what, it’s the dried cherries, with their bold and tangy sweetness, that will make this recipe sing!

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Vegan Sour Cream and Cherry Muffins

Makes 8 large or 10 smaller muffins

2 cups spelt flour (or flour of choice — white, whole wheat, and GF mixes are all fine)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp flax meal
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup vegan sour cream (recipe above)
1/4 cup coconut oil (or canola oil, or safflower oil)
1/4 cup almond, rice, or soy milk
3/4 cup agave syrup or maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 scant cup dried cherries

For the crumble topping:

2 tbsp earth balance OR solid coconut oil (kept cold)
1/4 cup cane sugar or demerara sugar
2 tbsp spelt flour (or flour of choice)
1/3 cup rolled oats

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.

2) Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, flax, and cinnamon in a large bowl.

3) In a mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, oil, milk, agave, and vanilla.

4) Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. Add the dried cherries, and mix to incorporate them.

5) Pour batter into 8-10 muffin tins (I like my muffins on the bigger side, so I would make 8).

6) To make the crumble topping, simply process the earth balance (or oil), sugar, flour and oats in a food processor till they’re crumbly. Sprinkle on top of muffins, and bake them for about 18 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Watch them carefully, as cooking time will depend entirely on how “hot” your oven runs.

7) Serve for breakfast, and smile.

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These muffins are so, so moist and delicious! I love how the cherries add tartness while also adding sweetness. Much more interesting a flavor than dried cranberries, if you ask me.

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I believe that’s what real bakers call an excellent “crumb.”

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I can’t recommend these enough as a holiday treat—or a treat for any time of the year! Whether for a sweeter breakfast or as a mild dessert, these muffins are a joy.

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Does any holiday cooking lie ahead for you this weekend? I’d love to hear about it. In the meantime, happy Friday.


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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Hannah December 2, 2011 at 6:43 pm

I don’t have any cooking this weekend, unfortunately, just preparing for final exams…boo! Well, I guess working at a vegan restaurant tomorrow sort of counts even if I don’t actually make any of the stuff, I still like to nibble it!


Audrey December 2, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Anything with dried cherries is bound to be good. They are one of my favorite foods!


Ashley H December 2, 2011 at 7:03 pm

These sound so grand , I must make muffins this weekend. I think I will be baking muffins & cookies this weekend.


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga December 2, 2011 at 7:33 pm

I just did some holiday baking..hours before an international flight. I HAD to break in my new mini donut pan :)

These muffins look great. My mom and grandma always taught me to “use up” that little bit of sour cream left in the container in baked goods if you have it on hand b/c it makes things moister without imparting tons of flavor (or any) generally.

Your homemade tofu sour cream idea is fabulous. Good tip!


Katie @ SerenityintheStorm December 2, 2011 at 8:54 pm

These sound great. I’ve been totally obsessed with dried cherries lately… eating them in my oatmeal every morning and enjoying a handful in the afternoon when my blood sugar takes a dive while studying. I will definitely have to try out this recipe. Thanks!


andrea devon December 2, 2011 at 9:18 pm

those muffins are rockin! I love that you made your own sour creme too; the packaged stuff is so wack.


Fiona December 2, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Ahhh! This recipe is awesome for Australians because cherries are in season here and cherries are totally the Xmas thing here. Having a bowl of cherries at your family barbie while enjoying the sunshine is so Australian. I am so making these! I even have a big bag of cherries in the fridge – perfect!


Fiona December 5, 2011 at 1:56 am

I just made this and I LOVE them!!! I made mine into a cake and baked for an extra 15 minutes at the same temperature. I used 1.75 cups whole wheat flour and .25 cups plain flour. I also used fresh cherries and used probably about 1.75 cups instead of just 1 because I wanted my cake to be overflowing with fresh cherries! I highly recommend saving this recipe for summer because the fresh cherries are awesome in it. I would even add more cherries next time, maybe 2 cups. And I would add walnuts next time too, so that there’s more going on in it. I was cringing as I was making this, because agave nectar is so expensive here in Australia and the recipe calls for a lot – but it is so worth it! Yummy, thank you for the recipe!


Gena December 5, 2011 at 6:49 pm

So glad you liked it!


Maggie December 2, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Any suggestions for a “sour” cream if one cannot eat soy? These look delicious and I would love to make them.


McKella December 2, 2011 at 11:51 pm

I was going to bake brownies for a party this weekend, but I think I’m going to be up late painting instead. These muffins look fabulous though! I love anything to do with cherries, or muffins.


Ali December 3, 2011 at 1:33 am

These look very yummy! And they are very reminiscent of a certain Mama Pea I think


Nada (One Arab Vegan) December 3, 2011 at 4:06 am

Ah these sound delicious! And I currently have an entire packet of dried cherries just waiting to be used up. I fully intend to pick up some spelt flour today and make these ASAP. Thanks for the recipe Gena, every baked good of yours that I’ve tried has always turned out wonderfully.


Sarah December 3, 2011 at 5:25 am

These sounds delicious! Definitely giving them a try :)

On the subject of baking, I made my baked chocolate ‘cheese’cake for my work mates this week. They definitely didn’t seem to care that it was completely animal product free, and came back for more! Hurrah for baketivism ;)


Pure2raw twins December 3, 2011 at 8:38 am

Delicious! Gena this look sooo good. I am not a huge fan of cherries but I do like them in baked goods. So these muffins would be perfect! I hope to do some baking this weekend :)


daphna December 3, 2011 at 1:10 pm

These look amazing! By the way, I’m interested in making a few flavors of kale chips this weekend. I’ve made the tomato tahini (amazing!) and will probably try the spicy curry ones this weekend. Do you have any others on the site you recommend? Thanks so much!!


Anne-Marie December 4, 2011 at 1:21 am

I just made these and scoffed 2 out of the oven. SO nice!!! Agree with Gena, the cherries definitely give them something that you wouldn’t get with cranberries.


Laura December 4, 2011 at 5:18 am

The magical properties of tofu strike again! I always find my muffins to be a little on the dry side two or three days post baking, but I’m sure with these, that won’t be an issue.
Incidentally, Gena, I thought you might be interested that current evidence suggests that the ancient wheat strain such as einkorn, spelt and kamut are, in fact, unsuitable for those with a clinically confirmed wheat allergy- recommendations are to avoid in order to prevent IgE mediated anaphylaxis-

‘Are kamut and spelt safe alternatives to wheat?
No. Kamut is a cereal grain which is related to wheat. Spelt is an ancient wheat that has recently been marketed as safe for wheat-allergic individuals. This claim is untrue, however. Wheat-allergic patients can react to spelt as they do to common wheat.’ (Source: The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network).

(This isn’t any sort of criticism directed towards you- I say this as a fellow Med student knowing that the amount of information currently out there is boggling and last thing any of us would do is tell others something that might cause them trouble!)


Gena December 5, 2011 at 6:56 pm

You are VERY right, Laura! I just read up on this. Thanks. will edit.


Bex December 4, 2011 at 1:55 pm

hahaha ‘digests as a vegetable’?
Anyway, these look gorgeous. Love anything with dried cherries, so thanks for the recipe!


Jill Z December 4, 2011 at 9:29 pm

These were delicious and my house smelled amazing as they were baking! i was trying to use up stuff in the pantry, so substituted canned cherries, and unsweetened soy yogurt for the sour cream… they turned out great!! i was really excited to try out spelt – it was easier on my stomach than typical flour. Love that crumb topping, too.


Gena December 5, 2011 at 6:51 pm

So glad you liked them!!


Kristen December 7, 2011 at 7:30 pm

I made these this weekend – 2 thumbs up! I brought some into work for my non-vegan friends and they were a big hit.

On a side note, I just made a batch of banana soft serve for the first time and my life is forever changed.

Love your website! :)


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