I love those big, fluffy muffins from Starbucks. The ones that are like little personal cakes. They cost a fortune, though, and the nearest Starbucks is 100 miles. So I've been working on making my own.
Most muffin recipes from cookbooks have the texture and taste of cornbread. They were written before the cake-muffin trend got going. I have an excellent cookbook, though, called The Cake Mix Doctor, which takes standard, grocery store cake mixes and makes them into something special.
Why not try to get one of those yummy cake muffins from a cake mix? I also found a pumpkin-cranberry bread recipe which had excellent flavor, but not the correct texture and was very fussy to make. The following recipe is not exactly what I was aiming for, it's a little heavier and denser, but it turned out very well, so I thought I'd share it.
Pumpkin Raisin Muffins (or cake)
1 box yellow cake mix
1 small can (16 oz) pumpkin (or 1 C fresh, roasted pumpkin puree)
1C vanilla low fat yogurt
1 cup raisins (or dried cranberry, or a mix)
1C chopped pecans
350 degree oven
Mix all ingredients until fairly well blended, put into greased muffin tins of the size you want, or a cake pan. Bake until a tester comes out clean-- about 25 - 30 minutes for a cake, a little less for small muffins.
Note that these are low fat-- no oil or butter -- and yet they turn out pretty moist and tasty. The pumpkin adds a little nutritional value, too. If you want to make them a little fancier, save 1/2 the pecans and sprinkle them on top before baking. You might also try roasting the pecans slightly before adding them to add more flavor.
I'm working on an Orange-Cranberry recipe at the moment. If I ever get that perfected, I'll be in heaven :)