Pumpkins and chocolate – I never thought they would go well together. I have a lot of self-imposed food “rules” – I’m one of those people who hates having different foods touch when I’m eating. I should probably eat all my meals out of those plates with the ridges that separates the surface into defined areas. As a kid, I hated Neopolitan ice cream. I would make sure to scoop and eat the strawberry, vanilla and chocolate separately, saving the chocolate for last so that it would be the lingering flavor on my tongue. I digress – my point being that I’ve never had pumpkin and chocolate together nor have I ever made anything combining these two flavours.
I was reading the wonderful blog, Vintage Kitchen, one afternoon when I noticed she made a chocolate apple crisp. I was intrugied – that was another combination I’d never have put together. Paula made that dish as her contribution for a foodie Chocolate Party! Roxana of Roxana’s Home Baking came up with this brilliant idea as a way to pay homage to the greatest food in existence. I basically invited myself into the group and now here we are – my first Chocolate Party post.
The premise is this: every month, a group of chocolate-lovin’ food bloggers will pick an ingredient to pair with chocolate. For October, the ingredient of choice (naturally) was pumpkin. I adore Starbucks’ pumpkin loaf but it’s a hit or miss item – some days I’ll buy it and it’ll be super moist. Other days, it’ll be dry ‘n tasteless, a sure sign that it’d been sitting out for several days. So I’ve stopped buying it altogether, especially since I can make something similar (if not superior) at home.
This presented me with the perfect opportunity to make a pumpkin loaf and add some of my favourite thing to it. Should I just dump in chocolate chips and call it a day? Drizzle the top with melted chocolate? Heck no. I decided to make chocolate streusel and swirl it throughout my pumpkin loaf.
3/4 stick butter, room temp
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp cinnamon
Cut up the butter into little squares to make smushing it (yes, that’s a technical baking word) together with the dry ingredients an easier task. I was expecting something crumbly but it turned into a thick paste. It still worked out fine.
Pumpkin loaf (adapted from Baking Bites)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease a loaf pan
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices.
In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar and eggs until well combined, then add in the pumpkin puree, milk, butter and vanilla extract.
Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and stir just until the two are combined.
Pour half the batter into the loaf pan. Drop dollops of chocolate streusel on top. You can swirl a knife through it to distribute the streusel or you can leave as is. Pour the other half of the batter and drop dollops of your remaining streusel on top. Swirl a knife through the top for pretty patterns (mine didn’t turn out so pretty but oh well!).
Bake for 55-65 minutes. Your cake tester should come out clean.
Turn the loaf onto a wire rack to cool before slicing.
Verdict? My apartment smelled amazing while this baby was baking – that spicy cinnamon combining with the sweet, dark aroma of chocolate made me think of Halloween and the cold, dark nights leading up to winter, when you start smelling that sharp, intense, unmistakable odour of fireplaces burning into the long evening hours. I took it out of the oven and took photos while it cooled. I then immediately inhaled a giant slice of it. The buttery, crisp of the streusel’d top was incredible. For some reason, I wasn’t too happy with the pumpkin loaf. I didn’t think the pumpkin flavor was pronounced enough.
My opinion changed the next day. After allowing the loaf to rest overnight, the flavours bloomed and came alive. The loaf was still soft and moist the next day and the chocolate streusel, while not crispy and crumbly as traditional streusel is, provided a wonderful contrast in texture and flavor.
This loaf definitely gets better with age and it’s perfect washed down with a big mug of coffee or tea.
Click on the link below to check out what everybody else made for some pumpkin and chocolate inspiration!