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!
Every time I bake this, omnivores swoon, gasp, and demand the recipe. Well-played. My family loves it, too, so it’s on our “frequently baked” list!
how would i make this gluten free? can i just substitute the flour for a gluten free baking flower?
I made this last night. I used extra pumpkin instead of the applesauce and used the equivalent to half of the sugar in stevia, to lessen the calories even more. It was amazing! Actual conversation with my hubby: hubby- “I would have never thought that pumpkin and chocolate would go so well together.” me-“yeah, that’s ’cause Isa is a god.” 🙂
Thanks for yet another amazing recipe!
Qué rico que parece. DELICOSO
Did anyone substitute the cocoa powder with cocao powder? Do the results come out the same, or was there a difference in how much to use?
This tasted very good, but the outside edges were very chewy/rubbery. Any idea what may have caused this?
I just made this for my b-day cake (two round pans) with the mouse from the cupcake recipe for frosting. Divine! (used pear pureed instead of applesauce and trivia instead of sugar. Half ww pastry, half white flour). Soooo yummy and moist!
holy crap I am dying. this is SO good. I just made it an hour ago and damn…. less than half of the loaf is left. Thank you for this wonderful recipe 🙂
Paola @ gnom-gnom.com
I just did this and it was soooo good! I used 2/3 cup of sugar + 1 TBS of molasses and increased the spices a tad. Pretty brilliant!
I made this as written except with only 2/3 cup sugar and it is delicious! It keeps well, too!
I am baking this as I type. Thank you!! 🙂
Holy crap, I ruined this recipe…TWICE. The first time I tried to double it and ended up with two soupy messes that went straight into the garbage. My fault, I’m sure. The second time I made one, followed everything to the letter, and when I inverted the loaf (which didn’t rise much) it collapsed through the metal bars of the cooling rack. What did I do wrong? I’m a pretty decent baker, though doing this in someone else’s kitchen. Can flour go bad? Baking soda? I’m so confused–and so disappointed! The bits I tasted were DELICIOUS!
this is an AMAZING AMAZING recipe thank you sooo much!
I made it for Thanksgiving made the following alterations and loved it:
– replaced 3/4 of the sugar with brown sugar
– used 1c of whole wheat flower, .5 c all purpose
– substituted fresh cranberries for the chocolate chips
– added oats in with the cranberries at the end, not sure how many but it was a wonderful addition.
Just amazing – again thank you!
I made this for Thanksgiving and everyone loved it! The crowd was surprised that it was vegan. I too used whole wheat pastry flour and 3/4 cup sugar. I paired it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (vegan of course) and it was delicious! My mom requested the loaf at Christmas dinner.
I made muffins using this recipe and they are sooooo yummy! I will be making them again. 🙂
This is without a shadow of a doubt, the best chocolate loaf/muffin recipe ever. The pumpkin, spice and chocolate meld perfectly into a beautifully moist, “pound cake” like cake. So good! Have made it again and again. Only changes I have made were to lessen the sugar to 3/4 cup, and increase the amount of pumpkin (in lieu of apple sauce). Thank you so much for the recipe!
The coconut oil is really healthy and delicious!!!!!
I can’t wait to try this!!
I just made these as muffins for my work holiday party. Everyone was raving about them, thanks!
Can you recommend a non-dairy chocolate chip substitute?
This bread is amazing!
It turned out to be great! I was a little scared because I didn’t much care for the bitterness of the batter. But once it baked and the flavors better melded together, I was a big fan. It’s especially great with some melty Earth Balance on it.
We did accidentally end up modding it a bit. I sent the husband out for vegan chocolate chips, and he came back with vegan carob chips. They worked great as well! And carob is slightly healthier than your average chocolate chip. 🙂
I know this is a silly question but if I use a 9 inch loaf pan, is that okay? I looked in the comments and you keep recommending 8 inch. I suppose I’d have to cook it for less time since it’s a bigger pan, right? So maybe 50-55 mins? What do you think?
It will be kinda’ flat, and not loaf-like is the prob. But yes, shave off at least 10 minutes baking time.
THIS cake/bread is so light and fresh and completely hit the spot! I want to package and give it away as gifts! My variations include: 1/2 cup plus 2 heaping tbs of sugar (instead of 1 cup of sugar), 3/4 cup pumpkin (instead of 1 cup), 1/2 cup applesauce (instead of 1/4), 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (instead of 1 tsp), 1/2 teaspoon chocolate extract, 1 tsp of chai masala (instead of all of the spices). Also, I used a 9 x 5 loaf pan and baked for exactly 45 mins. (Thanks for the recommendation Isa!)
I made this yesterday and EVERYONE went back for seconds (even after a really awesome dinner). My two non-vegan friends took home slices of this bread/loaf in tupperware. (By the way, the serving size is hilarious! You say 12, but I swear it only served 4 of us because we all kept on eating it!!!)
can I leave out the nutmeg, cloves, and ginger? love chocolate and cinnamon, but not the spice.
Greetings from Denver, the Mile High City – 5280 feet above sea level! Here are the adjustments I made for high altitude:
temp 325. Bake for 65 minutes
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar MINUS 2 Tablespoons
It came out perfectly. My wife and daughter are attacking it!
I find myself going back to this recipe again and again. THIS is the reason I stock up on canned pumpkin, so I can enjoy this year-round!
I dunno if this was mentioned in the comments (I didn’t want to read them all!) but when you add boiling water to cocoa powder it’s called “blooming” or “bloomed” chocolate. The hot liquid brings out the flavor and intensifies it. Here is a link that explains is : http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2010/02/cocoa-powder-faq-dutch-process-v/
This was dense and moist and rose well however the flavour seemed a bit confused to me and overall I found it a bit bland. Followed recipe exactly.
Thank you. Soooo tasty! I used mashed banana in place of the apple sauce.
Made Deep Chocolate Espresso Loaf
Subbed the pumpkin for canned sweet potato puree
Used whole wheat pastry flour
Subbed other spices for 1T of espresso powder
2nd time I’ve made this.
My substitutions are as follows:
3/4 cup cane sugar
1/3 cup chocolate chips
Spices subbed for 1.5 teaspoons of “pumpkin pie” spice
Added a handful of walnuts.
Absolutely delicious every time I make it!
I LOVE pumpkin and chocolate together. Thank you!
If using pumpkin pie spice, what measurement would you recommend?
Made this today for my sons after school snack- he is on his 2nd piece! It is SO good. Thanks again for sharing your amazing talent 🙂
I’m gonna try a gluten-free version at the weekend. It usually works with your recipes, so thanks for that! I’m also gonna freeze some slices to take to work. More exciting than a banana!
This looks so yummy! I can’t wait to make it!
Made a second loaf today, this time with fresh butternut squash. Delicious! Works well with different flours and brown sugar. Thanks!
Thanks for a great recipe! Made this as muffins…got 11 of them. Baking for 20 mins was perfect. I decreased the sugar to 2/3 c and they were still sufficiently sweet (probably from the choco chips). Next time I will decrease the sugar to 1/2 c and replace some of the oil with applesauce. The texture was not as good the second and third days, but the flavor was still fine. I still would probably make these same day (not a day in advance like I usually do) if I was taking them somewhere.
Everyone loved this! Moist and delicious.
I left out the oil and only used a half cup of sugar.
Also I forgot to write that I live in the mile high city and did not have to adjust the recipe due to altitude.
This was absolutely delicious! My kids are allergic to milk and they devoured every bite of the loaf. I can’t wait to try the chocolate ginger scones.