This loaf is dense, chocolaty, and moist, with undertones of pumpkin and autumnal spices laced throughout. I throw in some chocolate chips, and you may like to add other yummy things too, like pecans or walnuts.

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By Isa Chandra Moskowitz,


  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (about ½ of a 15-ounce can)
  • 1 cup dry sweetener
  • 3 tablespoons almond butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup grain-sweetened chocolate chips


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Have ready an 8 x 4-inch nonstick or silicone baking pan. Also, boil some water in a tea kettle (no need to measure yet).
  • Combine the applesauce and cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, baking soda, and salt.
  • Measure out ⅓ cup of the boiling water and pour it into the bowl with the chocolate mixture, mixing quickly to make a smooth chocolate sauce. Add the pumpkin, sweetener, almond butter, 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 the boiling water, add it to the mixture, and stir again. Add the rest of the flour mixture, and another tablespoon of boiling water, and stir just until smooth (do not overmix). Fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan. It will be good and thick. You can smooth out the top with a spatula.
  • Bake for 55 to 60 minutes. 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.
  • Remove the loaf from the oven. Let it cool for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and carefully invert the loaf onto a cooling rack to cool most of the way. It’s yummy a little bit warm or thoroughly cooled. Slice and serve!


    Dry sweetener is a general term for non-liquid sweeteners. There are many kinds available, some more natural than others. Some sugars, like white table sugar, are bleached, sometimes chemically and sometimes using charred cow bones. The dessert recipes in this book were designed to be made using evaporated cane juice or cane sugar. Sucanat, date sugar, and maple sugar are other options, all with slight variations in flavor. All sugar has had the fiber and most if not all of the vitamins and minerals removed, so it should be enjoyed only on occasion.

    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 the wet. I was introduced to this method in Nigella Lawson’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 and be rewarded with perfect loaves every time.

Comments (4)

(5 from 2 votes)

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This was so delicious! Chocolatey and not overly sweet. The chocolate chips were the perfect touch.


This is an amazing recipe. We have made it over and over, and I am now confident to share some of the alterations. We don't use sweetener or sugar. What we do is replace the pumpkin puree with 2-3 bananas (2 if large, 3 if small) and that sweetens the entire thing beautifully. We also add a little more of the boiling water than what is recommended, just enough to make the mixture workable, and it turns out beautifully. Sometimes we also add some chopped walnuts. We usually make double batches, and after it cools completely, we cut it into squares and freeze them, so all they need is 30 sec in the microwave. It's such an amazing recipe! We never get tired of it!


I make this quite often, delicious. But I can't understand why it asks for all purpose white flour. Is it possible to make with a healthier flour??


I always adapt recipes to include the kind of flour that I want. Simply create a mix of healthier whole grain flours of the same quantity. I use a mixture of whole grain oat flour, buckwheat, sorghum, and millet. You can also use straight Einkorn flour, if you want a healthy whole wheat version. If you have it, you can also add a bit of tapioca starch or arrowroot starch if you want - about 1/8 cup. It helps with binding with GF flours Sometimes when you are using whole grain or GF whole grain flours, you have to slightly adjust the amount of liquid up or down to get the consistency you want. It will not be as light in texture as with white all purpose flour, but just as deliciious.

About the Author

Headshot of Isa Chandra Moskowitz

About the Author

Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Isa Chandra Moskowitz has been cooking up a vegan storm for decades. She is the author of seven cookbooks, including Veganomicon and Appetite for Reduction. A Brooklyn native, she now lives in Omaha, Nebraska, where she spreads vegan cooking love and does feral cat rescue work.
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