My husband recently brought six packages of cream cheese home from our favorite bulk warehouse store.

I thought about making a pumpkin cheesecake, until I started looking at the time and effort required. Instead, I adapted this pumpkin cranberry bundt cake recipe from

Things I liked: It doesn’t require getting out my stand mixer. Because you use applesauce instead of oil or butter, it feels healthier than the standard. That said, it still requires a few steps and different bowls. With my toddler and preschooler helping, it didn’t come together as smoothly as I’d hoped.

However, this recipe still takes much less time than a cheesecake, and it tastes delicious. The cream cheese filling makes it feel special enough to serve on a festive holiday table.

Pumpkin cranberry bundt cake

Cream cheese filling:

6 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 egg

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Cake batter:

2 cups white flour

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 can pumpkin puree

3/4 cup applesauce

3 eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup fresh cranberries

Powdered sugar for garnish

Heat oven to 350 degrees, and grease a bundt pan. In a small bowl, stir together filling ingredients. It’s important that your cream cheese starts soft, otherwise your filling will be lumpy.

In a separate large bowl, stir together dry ingredients and spices. And then in a medium bowl, combine pumpkin, applesauce, eggs and sugars. Gently mix wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Toss cranberries with a dusting of white flour to keep them from sinking to the bottom of your cake. Fold into cake batter.

Pour half the batter into your cake pan, then pour cream cheese filling over the top. Then, top with remaining cake batter.

Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean of cake batter (you may still see some cream cheese filling on your skewer). Let cool about 20 minutes, then turn out onto a platter. Cool about 20 minutes more before serving. Dust with powdered sugar.

Meg Dickinson is a communications professional who spends many waking hours daydreaming about food. To submit a recipe, email

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