Pumpkin Marsala Spice Cake
with a Cheesecake Surprise

Happy November to all my friends.. Holiday preparations are here! I'm in the kitchen testing out some new recipes.. I have been playing around with finely ground almonds in my cake batters. By eliminating some of the flour, and replacing it with the almond meal it adds such nice texture and eliminates some of the density from the gluten, at the same time creating a very moist cake. Almond meal in Italian baked goods is very common anyway.. and so delicious!

This cake is similar to the Pumpkin Cake with a Cheesecake Swirl that I have previously shared.. I played with the cheesecake layer a bit and added a bit more pumpkin to this recipe. My family.. as well as my picky eldest daughter LOVED the taste and moistness of this cake. I hope you do too!

Pumpkin Bread Ingredients
2 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 1/3 cups flour
1 cup ground blanched almond meal
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 ½ tsp salt
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup Marsala wine
18oz pumpkin, canned

Cheesecake Surprise Ingredients
1/2 pound Philadelphia Cream cheese at room temperature*
(*Very important for smooth filling)
1/4 cup sugar
1- tablespoons flour
1 teaspoons bourbon vanilla
1/4-cup sour cream
1 egg

Cheesecake Filling Directions
Mix cream cheese, sugar, flour, and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed setting until well blended. Blend in sour cream. Add egg, mixing on low speed just until blended.

Pumpkin Marsala Spice Cake with a Cheesecake Surprise

Make Cake
1. Grease and dust with flour the bottom and 1/2 way up sides of 2 loaf pans; set aside.
In a very large mixing bowl beat sugar and oil with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add eggs and beat well; set aside.

2. In a large bowl combine flour and almond meal, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg and cloves. Combine Marsala and water. Add flour mixture and marsala/water liquid alternately to sugar mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Beat in pumpkin. Spoon batter 3/4 of the way into prepared pans.
Put dollops of cheesecake filling onto pumpkin batter till 1/4 of the pan is left free from batter. Push cheesecake dollops down into the pumpkin batter a bit.

3. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 55 to 65 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool in pans in the oven with door ajar. When cool, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Best if prepared a day ahead of serving. Cool completely before removing from pans. Test doneness of cake by piercing it in the center of the cake with a toothpick. It's finished when the toothpick comes out clean.

Buon Appetito, Abbracci e Baci!

Cashew and Garlic Pesto “Kale Chips”

Gluten Free, Potato and Corn Free, Soy Free, Dairy Free, SUGAR FREE!!
Snacking just isn’t what it used to be.. but that doesn’t mean it has to be non existent and un-enjoyable! I have come to really enjoy food oddities, like crunchy seaweed, plantain banana chips, fried garbanzo beans and my favorite.. kale chips!

In my quest for non-dairy goodness, leaving out the cream and cheese for that creamy element, has been a work in progress, but, I have found that “something creamy” by way of cashews! I have been completely surprised.. and enjoy it in dairy free cream sauces too!

This is a quick and easy recipe to make.. hope you enjoy!!

Cashew and Garlic Pesto “Kale Chips”

2 Bunches Kale

1 cup raw cashews
½ cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp. fresh lemon zest
A dash of Cayenne Pepper
Salt if needed

Preheat oven to 275˚
Remove ribbing from kale and cut into 2-3 inch chunk sizes. Wash and spin dry to remove all water! Set aside in large mixing bowl.

In food processor, add remaining ingredients, except salt.. add only if needed.
Process until creamy. Pour pesto a little at a time over the kale, mix well. Be careful not to over drench the kale.. it will be too heavy to bake evenly! Spread evenly between two baking sheets, bake in pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes, till crispy.
The kale will shrink quite a bit so don’t be shocked! 

Enjoy!! Xo