I am 100% one of those crazy pumpkin spice people.
Christmas themes before November – no thanks. Easter filled shelves in January – not OK. But it is NEVER too early for pumpkin spice, it’s basically pimped up cinnamon so of course I love it! Not ashamed to say its the one syrup filled latte I cave in to when it makes it’s first appearance.
I felt the need to bake a healthier version of pumpkin bread or coffee cake that are in all the cafes at the moment. One that used actual nutrient dense pumpkin (great source of fiber and vitamins), alternative flours and sugars, contained some good healthy fats to help with blood sugar balance and avoid that post cake crash, yet made a tasty slightly sweet and indulgent feeling accompaniment to a cuppa. Then I always want dark chocolate so it seemed like the logical choice….
This recipe is gluten and grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free, paleo friendly, and could be made vegan if you swap out the eggs for flax eggs.
If you don’t have or can’t find pumpkin pie spice, like me, here is a quick DIY version;
- 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons nutmeg
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground allspice
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves
You can always make half a batch, store all left in a glass jar. I know I will have zero problem using it for more seasonal recipe tests over the next couple weeks – homemade pumpkin spice latte anyone??!
Most recipes you find are using pumpkin puree from a tin but, firstly this is fairly impossible to find around where I live just like the pumpkin spice issue, and secondly pumpkins and squashes are everywhere right now! It takes an extra step of pre-roasting so if you want to save some time and prep, and can get your hands on the tinned pumpkin then go for it! Also you can use any type of squash (or even sweet potato). I actually used butternut squash for the one pictured as I prefer the flavour to the large ‘Halloween’ style pumpkins. There is something a little more….wholesome feeling….about not using tinned too right?!
1 cup mashed cooked pumpkin/squash
1 cup almond flour*
1/2 cup arrowroot flour*
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup coconut sugar**
2 tbsp maple syrup**
2 tsp baking power
1 & 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2/ tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
Optional (but not really ;)) mix ins; dark chocolate – approx 75g roughly chopped (I used 85%)
*Flours; When using alternative grain/gluten free flours in baked goods a mix is best but this recipe is forgiving and many different flours could be used – Tapioca, cassava, or rice flour could all be used instead of arrowroot flour, or simply replace with more almond flour. If you don’t want to use almond flour or need it to be nut free this could also be replaced with oat or plain flour (I have not tried it but almond flour can be replaced 1:1 with regular flour it just may have a less dense and a more cake-y texture). If the flour you are using is a self-raising mix only use 1 tsp of baking powder.
**Sweeteners; I have used coconut sugar and maple syrup for there wonderful slightly caramel flavour which works incredibly well with cinnamon and spice. It also offers a little more nutrition wise. You could use all coconut sugar, or sub maple syrup for honey, but replacing the coconut sugar with all liquid sweetener wouldn’t work. Erythritol would be a good lower carb option.
- Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees C.
- If you need to first cook the pumpkin, simple cut into halves or quarters and roast (time will depend on size – I halved a butternut squash and it was done in about 40 mins). Boiling can cause it to be more watery, and roasting adds a slightly sweeter caramalised flavour. Remove any seeds and mash as mash up a cups worth.
- Mix this together with the eggs, vanilla, coconut sugar, coconut oil (melted), and maple syrup until a smooth and everything is well incorporated. Alternatively you could throw it all in the food processor, I used an electric stand mixer.
- Add in all the spices, salt, baking powder and flours and once again thoroughly mix. Save 1/2 tsp of the pumpkin spice mix for topping though.
- Stir in the chopped chocolate, saving a few pieces to scatter on top.
- Pour mix into a lined loaf tin or square cake tin – the silicone ones are amazing for easy non stick! Then top with the remaining chocolate chunks and pumpkin spice.
- If baking as a loaf time in the oven will be around 30-35 mins. For a larger tin where the mix is in a thinner layer time will be closer to 20 mins – until a toothpick/knife come out clean. It will rise a little but not massively. I took mine out at around 18-20 mins
Allowing it to cool just a little and enjoying warm was perrrrfect, but kept for a few days in an air tight container, and enjoyed with a cuppa is nearly just as good! They will also freeze well, but best not kept in the fridge. Feel free to top with a little nut butter, regular butter/ghee, sliced banana, or a healthy extra dose of cinnamon!
Happy baking pumpkin spice lovers! 😉