This loaf is dense, chocolaty and moist, with undertones of pumpkin and autumnal spices laced throughout. It’s also lower in fat than most dessert loaves, with only 2 tablespoons of oil in the batter. To add to the chocolatiness, I threw in some chocolate chips, and you may like to add other yummy things, like pecans or walnuts. But I’ll take my chocolate straight up, please!
There’s a funny little method with boiling water in this recipe and you may wonder why I use it. The answer is simple: I don’t exactly know. Well, I know why I use it, but I’m not positive why it works. What you do is add boiling water alternately as you add the dry ingredients to wet. I was introduced to this method in Nigella’s monumental book “How To Be A Domestic Goddess” with her recipe for a chocolate loaf cake, and I’ve used it ever since. I’ve tried to disobey it, thinking it was frivolous and unneeded, only to be greeted by a loaf whose crumb was not as fine and rise was not as perfectly formed. And so I’ve stopped fighting it. Maybe it has to do with the baking soda, I don’t know, just use it.
I love this loaf still a little bit warm, but anyway you slice it (har har) it will be delicious and no one will guess that it’s lower in fat.
PS I have a feeling that people will ask if they can make this in muffin tins, so let me get that out of the way. You can! I haven’t tried it, but I think you’re gonna’ want to fill the cups 3/4 of the way (you might not get 12, but let me know) and bake for about 20 minutes.
PPS I also have a feeling people will ask if they can completely omit the oil. I prefer a little fat in my baked goods, but I bet that subbing it with applesauce would be just dandy.
1/4 cup applesauce
2 tablespoons coconut oil (or canola oil)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons boiling water, divided (see note)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly grease an 8 inch loaf pan. Also, boil some water in a tea kettle (no need to measure yet.)
Put applesauce, coconut oil and cocoa powder in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, spices, baking soda and salt.
Measure out 1/3 cup boiling water and pour into the bowl with the chocolate mixture, mixing quickly to make a smooth chocolate sauce. Add pumpkin, sugar and vanilla and mix well.
Dump about half of the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture and gently stir just to incorporate, then measure out 1 tablespoon of boiling water and stir again. Now add the rest of the flour mixture and another tablespoon of boiling water and stir just until smooth. Take care not to overmix. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan. It will be good and thick. You can smooth the top out with a spatula.
Bake for 55 minutes to an hour. Stick a steak knife into the center of the loaf to check for doneness. A little bit of wetness is okay since it could be from a chocolate chip, but the knife should come out mostly dry.
Let cool for 10 minutes, then invert pan and place loaf on a cooling rack to cool most of the way. It’s yummy a little bit warm, or thoroughly cooled. Slice and serve!
I made these for my friends that I was meeting out for dinner the other day. I had one out on the table for our friend who wasn’t able to come last minute. The waitress came over to tell us about the specials and kept staring at the muffin. I told her that I baked them fresh and that I’d be happy for her to have it. 5 minutes later another waitress comes to the table to tell us that the next round of drinks was on the house because the muffin was SO GOOD! True story! I doubled the recipe and it made exactly 24 regular sized muffins.
I made muffins out of this recipe. It made 8 large muffins and took about 25 minutes to fully cook through. They are delicious! Fed them to non-veg friends, and received rave reviews.
I also made these as muffins. subbed the cocoa out for more flour and added pumpkin spice, also didn’t have applesauce so just used more pumpkin. i did them twice at your recommendation of 25 mins and they came out amazing! Thanks for commenting with the time you used 🙂
Thanks for this magical flavor combo Isa! It has been a seasonal favourite around my place ever since you posted it. Last night I replaced the sugar with coconut sugar and doubled it to make a Bundt cake. I baked it for the usual 55 minutes and it was perfect! Your recipes are amazing just the way they are, but I didn’t have much white sugar, so I made an executive decision and made the one simple swap. Thanks for making great recipes that more than satisfy the choices we make about food and our bellies!
Awesome recipe. I messed up this recipe when mixing the wet ingredients forgetting to add the pumpkin puree and sugar. Added them later, even then it worked with the hot boiling water. I made it in a cake pan it doubled in height after baking.
I think the hot water is the key. It activates baking soda and makes it fluffier.
And the fact that heat causes expansion, and when put in the oven it expands even more.
I added half of xylitol instead of sugar. I want to try it with a bit of bran next time.
oh my goodness!!!!! I made this (minus the chocolate chips) for thanksgiving and it was delicious!
Holy Loaf Gods!!!! This is heaven. So moist and rich, almost like a mega-brownie. I usually glut myself on all things pumpkin until Thanksgiving, at which point I’ve been gourd-ed out of my gourd! Not this year! It’s Dec. 5th and, like Cinderella at 10pm, I’m still on the pumpkin wagon! I imagine I’ll still be making this recipe every weekend until March! (Do they even sell pumpkin in March?…)
My hubby requested that I bake something for his workmates and I nervously agreed; I haven’t quite mastered the art of vegan baking and have had more flops than successes. I needn’t have worried, this was amazing!! I saved one slice for myself to taste, wrapped the rest for him to take to work. Those guys are lucky it made it out the door, I could’ve scarfed down a couple more slices w/no problem! Thank you for sharing, Isa, you have renewed my reputation as an awesome baker. 😉
I’ve made it without the spices for a more kid friendly version. It was superb! Very chocolaty… and they never realise it was full of healthy pumpkin 🙂
My hubby made this for his construction crew, a bunch of big, burly electrical linemen. Not only did they scarf down the whole loaf, the foreman then asked for the recipe! High praise indeed from these guys.
How many calories is this. I devoured 3/4 of it by myself yesterday.
Isa, I’m about a year into my vegan journey and just recently discovered your awesomeness! Not sure how so much time passed without me knowing about you, but I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me revamp my excitement for vegan cooking! You make it soooo much easier to feed my entire family a yummy, accessible and cruelty free diet! Ok, so my 4 year old loves raw mushrooms and will eat Brussels sprouts straight outta the steamer – whatevs. The 19 year old is actually more difficult at times, and he LOVES all the food I’ve made from your books! (own Appetite for Reduction and Vegan with a Vengeance now, next is Isa Does It) Anyway, I digress.
I made this recipe as muffins exactly as written. I’m at high altitude and had to bake them for about 28 minutes. They were perfection. We all loved them! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Also, it doesn’t hurt that your name is super awesome too! My first name is Chandra – whoot whoot!! Oh yeah, and I served an entire vegan brunch for Christmas and my non-vegan in-laws were super happy and satisfied! I could go on forever…
Thanks again! XOXO
Oh – and Shivani, I made 12 muffins with this recipe. I figured out the calorie total with 12 servings on the internet – there are several websites that you can add your ingredients and serving sizes into and it will tell you the calorie count. Anyway, mine came up with 195 calories per muffin.
This is a perfect recipe and came out wonderful just as described, no modifications. I was lazy and served with vegan whipped topping. With the leftovers, I’m going to try toasting slices in the oven and see if I can get a bit of crunch since it did become a little ‘wet’ overnight.
I made this as muffins (I got 13), using 2/3 cup Sucanat and adding 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. Perfect! Just sweet enough–reminds me of a healthier version of a brownie bite!
I just made two of these loaves. I substituted the sugar with raw, creamed honey because I don’t use any processes food. I also used light spelt flour and it is incredible. Yes do the water thing because my loaves are so light and high. Thanks Isa for the great recipe.
Delicious!! Thanks Isa 🙂
What type of chocolate chips do you use? Are Nestle or Ghiaredelli vegan?
Great recipe! Was looking for a good loaf recipe to use up the remains of the pumpkin from a pumpkin cheesecake recipe (not vegan – sorry) and it was perfect. Kids love it and I can see it being a fave breakfast loaf. And really with the fibre from the pumpkin and the little fat, it really is better for you than many of the muffin recipes out there. Many thanks!
Melina, Costco brand (Kirkland) chocolate chips are vegan. They are also available on Amazon.. just FYI.
I don’t think ghirardelli are vegan, and I know Nestle isn’t.
Hi there, not sure if you’re aware of this, but FOK just posted a nearly identical recipe as one of their featured Thanksgiving recipes, with much of your instructions and description copied word for word. Del Sroufe is given credit for the recipe. I get that he’s the FOK cookbook author, but it seems like your name or the ppk site should be mentioned somewhere. I guess maybe you gave up rights to it by including it in the book. Still seems disingenous to me though. Just wanted to leave a heads up.
Only ended up making a mini loaf as I couldn’t stop eating the mixture – YUM!!
I made this with finely cut orange peel because I didn’t have chocolate chips and it was great.
I also don’t have apple sauce so I put in extra pumpkin and a teaspoon of vinegar to make up the acidity. The pumpkin started out as a big piece of raw pumpkin, which I grated and zapped with some water in the microwave till it went soft. You could also just cook it in a pan.
A friend made it for us and it was hard not to eat the whole thing in one sitting.
I’ve made this several times, so incredibly simple, the kids just love it!!! Gracias!!
I make this loaf with a sweet potato that I cooked up instead of pumpkin (it’s a season thing) and it worked out great. My husband had lots of cooked bitter orange left over from making marmalade and I put a big load of that in, instead of the apple sauce, and the acidity did it’s thing brilliantly. The loaf worked out a bit dry and dense for my taste, so luckily I had made a date caramel chocolate sauce to go with it. Totally yum.
I love this recipe! But it’s summer and right now I have a bunch of zucchini…Could the pumpkin be substituted with zucchini??
We are going to the post punk kitchen.
Just made this and it is amazing! I didn’t have pumpkin, so used sweet potato instead and it really came out beautifully. Enjoying a slice with some tea right now. Another winner by Isa!! Thank you!
I’m not vegan and don’t happen to have applesauce on me. Could I sub the applesauce for one egg?
I have made this a couple of times and it is delicious! I love Isa’s recipes. If I want to make something guaranteed delicious, I pull out one of Isa’s cookbooks or find something of hers online.
Just out of the oven – so moist and dense yet perfectly crumbly. My variations: Instead of the chips, I chopped up a chocolate bar (which also had notes of orange, nutmeg and cinnamon), I used a combination of spelt and rye flour, opted for coconut sugar, and olive oil in lieu of the coconut oil
I am making this again tonight. It is a favorite of mine
I’ve made this every year since I found this post. My family now expects it as part of our Christmas Eve feast! Thank you, Isa!
I’ve made this several times, and it’s a hit with the whole family. Today I topped each slice with fresh strawberries (homegrown) and a dollop of whipped cream. Sooooo good! Some sprinkled powdered sugar on theirs, but it was plenty sweet for me on its own. Thank you for sharing this recipe.
Annabella De Las Casas
Cocoa + hot water = blooming
Learn all about it here!