Pumpkin-chocolate chip loaf cake

I am feeling slightly seasonal today.  It's rather unusual because, with me, it's mostly chocolate all-year round when it comes to baking treats.  Chocolate's my "season". But I had an urge to bake with pumpkin - something simple and warming, which had me thinking of a loaf cake.  So without further ado, here's the pumpkin-chocolate chip loaf cake I baked up the other day.
I decided to split the batter among 3 smaller loaf pans and share a couple of my mini loaves.  It's a great way to spread a little Fall cheer around.  And I was very happy with the result of this bake - I ended up with a moist cake (not dry and dense, like I sometimes fear with loaf cakes/breads like these) with a good dose of spice and a nice helping of chocolate sweetness from miniature chocolate chips floating throughout. You know I had to pick a recipe with chocolate!
Incidentally, today is the first day of Fall!  This is definitely the fun part of the changing seasons...when the temperatures and colors around you start to change, and your taste buds start to change with it.  You see pumpkins, squashes, and root vegetables taking over, and you find yourself craving winter spices.
And speaking of spices, I didn't have the pumpkin pie spice called for in this recipe and I didn't want to buy it so I used what I had on hand, which ended up being a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.  I had plenty of warm spice flavors from that mix.  


Pumpkin puree and the warm spices provide much of the color, flavor, and texture to this loaf cake.  I stirred in almost a full cup of mini chocolate chips (I did have three loaves to spread it around in, after all).  I did not incorporate walnuts into my batter in this case but I think it would add another great layer of flavor and texture if you're making this for nut-lovers.
My three small loaves took about 40-45 minutes to bake.  Test with a cake tester and pull them out when it comes out clean.
I like making smaller loaf cakes so we have the option to freeze one or two for another time, or give one or two away as gifts.  The firm, cardboard loaf pans I used are great for gifting; just let the cakes cool completely in the paper pans, then slide one in a cellophane gift bag and its ready to go.
Just be sure to make yourself a cup of tea, slice yourself a piece, and sit down for a little tea break.  Tea time is such a treat.

Recipe:

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake
Adapted from epicurious

- Makes one standard (9x5x2 1/2 inch) loaf or 3 mini loaves - 

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon*
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg*
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger*
Pinch of ground cloves*
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup canned pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk
1 scant cup miniature chocolate chips

* This is the spice mixture I used out from what I had on hand.  You can substitute with 1 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a standard loaf pan with baking spray (if using disposable mini loaf pans like I did, they often do not require greasing).

Sift flour, all the spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter on medium-speed until smooth.   Gradually beat in the sugar, followed by the eggs, one at a time.  Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then beat in the pumpkin puree and vanilla.  Beat the dry ingredients into the mixture in two batches, alternating with the milk in between.  Stir in the mini chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.

Transfer batter into the prepared loaf pan (or 3 mini loaf pans), smoothing over the top.  Bake until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 55 minutes (or about 40 minutes or so for the mini loaves).  Remove from the oven, let cool in the pan for about 15 minutes.  Turn cake out onto a cooling rack and let cool to room temperature.  The cake can be kept at room temperature, wrapped tightly, for 2-3 days.




38 comments:

  1. You must have known that I just cooked some pureed pumpkins. These mini loaves look awesome, Monica.

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    1. Oh my - homemade pureed pumpkin would take it up a few notches!

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  2. Happy first day of fall. I certainly would fancy a slice of this for breakfast tomorrow so save me a slice, I will be over in about 22 hours..give or take a few minutes.. LOL I love the pumpkin and chocolate combination and I really love how the pumpkin makes this bread so moist... You know we really are funny... see you are making a nice pumpkin bread and I was making some mooncakes in my kitchen this week... LOL Wishing you a super Mid-Autumn Festival dear!!!!

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    1. It is truly funny how we adapt to our environments, eh? : ) You have a wonderful mid-autumn festival, too! I imagine it will be stunning to see the lanterns in HK.

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  3. Happy first day of fall, Monica. These pumpkin loafs are the perfect way to celebrate the first day of fall! So good.

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    1. Thanks, Anu. I had a hankering for some warm spices...amazing how our taste buds demand new things when the weather turns.

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  4. This cake is stunning! And I love the idea of baking smaller loaves to save for later :)

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    1. Loaf cakes/breads are so good for freezing. I love having treats and eats stocked in the freezer...it's like a security blanket! : )

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  5. Omg! Loving the combination of pumpkin and chocolate! Want!!

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  6. I LOVE the pumpkin and chocolate combination! This looks so good!

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    1. Definitely the season for quick breads and cakes and warm spices. Thanks!

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  7. Tea time is a treat and so is this lovely loaf. I love the smaller loaves - so easy to freeze or share. I can almost smell the aroma of this cake baking. A hot cup of tea, melt in your mouth warm pumpkin cake - gosh I am ready! What a wonderful way to celebrate the first day of fall. Thank you!

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    1. Thank *you*, Tricia...what a lovely comment. Hope you are enjoying the early days of Fall...

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  8. This loaf cake is perfect for the first day of fall! Love that you made mini ones, they look so adorable and incredibly soft!

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    1. They were very moist and you know I love the bites of chocolates among all the spices. : )

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  9. These little loaves would make great gifts (or care packages)! I think of fall as pumpkin bread season; lovely at tea time (as you suggest), very halloween-ish, and a great Thanksgiving treat! Adding the spices in separately is perfect for me. I am not a cloves fan, so can just leave them out!

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    1. I do love giving loaf cakes like this one for gifts. They travel and keep so very well! I wasn't much of a fan of most warm spices until the last few years but now I get this craving. I'm with you on cloves but I use so very little...

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  10. These are so cute! Love the idea of your own pumpkin spices (we don't have a mix here and I do what you did and just add whatever I have to hand that sounds about right).

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    1. I was only missing the allspice, it seems...but since I hear it's reminiscent of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger together, I figure it was okay to skip it. It had plenty of warm flavor with the pantry spices I had. :)

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  11. I'm finally willing to embrace all things pumpkin! It took me long enough. LOL I can't wait to try these!!

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    1. I never touched it either. These last few years, I've been drawn to spices and so here we are. The chocolate balances it all out, Ashley. ; )

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  12. Great idea for using pumpkin and those little loaves sound delicious.

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    1. It's a very easy, quick bake, with nice results. Thanks!

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  13. Your little loaves are so cute - my mouth is watering just looking at them!

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  14. This has to be my all time favorite favorite fall treat!!

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    1. Those warm spices, right? : ) Saw your ginger cookies and seriously craving a few!

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  15. Chocolate is your season - I like that! haha I just started getting the urge to bake with pumpkin! These loaves look delicious - pumpkin and chocolate is so good together! The mini loaves are a great idea - so cute too!

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    1. Yes, chocolate is my all-season treat. : ) Everything does seem better in miniature. I was in a pastry shop today and all those little colorful pastries just call out to you. Happy Fall baking!

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  16. Yum! I love your smaller loaf cake version; it looks so delicious and the chocolate chips are an excellent touch of course ;)

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    1. Yes, no one complains about having chocolate chips in anything! Thanks, Monica.

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  17. I wish I came here two days ago, because then I could have used this in my mooncake recipe! Love how round and full the loaves came out...yum!!

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    1. haha - your mooncakes are unbelievable! They look amazing and the filling (plus, all the possibilities) is so creative! Thank you.

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  18. Haha, chocolate is my season too! These cakes look very moist. The top is baked nicely brown. I bet they smell fantastic when they were in the oven. No doubt I have to try it this fall!

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    1. I love that crusty top on bakes like this and try to get at it right at that point when it's cooled but the top hasn't softened yet. : )

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