This easy Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cake is a must make for fall! Moist, full of pumpkin spice flavor and the perfect amount of dark chocolate chunks in every piece.
It doesn’t happen very often, but every once in a while I bake a cake. The mood hit me right before leaving for our trip to the Grand Tetons earlier in September. As if I didn’t have enough going on to get ready for the trip. I think they call it procrastibaking. Anyways, I have no regrets squeezing in the time to bake this super moist and perfectly spiced Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cake.
For me, when it comes to baking cakes, the simpler the better. A layer cake stresses me out, especially if I have to frost it. I’m a perfectionist so I can spend a good hour obsessing about how straight the cake is standing and if the frosting is evenly distributed and perfectly smooth. It’s not worth the stress for me. I leave the over the top, beautifully decorated cakes like this Chai Cake to the pros!
However, I can manage simple cakes made in 8×8 or 9×13 pans. Bonus points if I can just serve it in the pan and don’t have to try and get it out, in which case I usually lose a portion due to it sticking to the pan. Amazingly, with this Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cake I was able to remove it from the pan in one piece, please don’t feel like you have to.
I have plenty of pumpkin desserts on the blog. These Chocolate Dipped Pumpkin Macaroons and these Paleo Pumpkin Pie Bites are a couple of my favorites. This pumpkin cake however, was my first. When it came out of the oven it was perfectly browned on top and felt a little springy to the touch, which is always a good thing when it comes to cake.
After photographing it I immediately ate a piece and it was heaven! Moist, tons of pumpkin and pumpkin spice flavor and with just the right amount of dark chocolate chunks mixed into every bite. I knew it would be dangerous to keep the rest of the cake in the house, so I sent it to work with my husband the next day. He reported back at lunch time and said it was demolished and everyone loved it.
This cake has some healthier swaps compared to what you might find in a traditional pumpkin cake. The first is to use all whole wheat pastry flour versus all purpose flour.
What is Whole Wheat Pastry Flour and Why Should I Use It?
Whole wheat pastry flour is a whole grain flour that hasn’t had the bran and germ stripped from it. These are the components that contain the nutrients. It has a lower protein content compared to regular whole wheat flour, which will yield a lighter and more tender baked good. The results are similar to what you would expect when baking with all purpose flour. Whole wheat pastry flour can be used in cookie, muffin, pie crust, brownies, biscuits and of course cake recipes.
Can I Substitute Whole Wheat Flour for Whole Wheat Pastry Flour?
I would not recommend substituting whole wheat flour for whole wheat pastry flour. Regular whole wheat flour is milled from hard winter berries versus soft spring wheat that the pastry flour is milled from. The flavor is much stronger, the texture more dense and overall not something you want in baked goods. If you have to substitute I would recommend doing half whole wheat and half all purpose flour.
Other healthier swaps that have been made to this Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cake are cutting back on the amount of oil being used, swapping maple syrup for sugar and using less of it. Not adding frosting to the cake is what saved the most fat and calories. Honestly, the cake has so much flavor on it’s own it doesn’t need it.
This pumpkin cake is a great one to make if you’re new to cake baking or don’t want to deal with layers and making frosting. It’s a great dessert to make this fall and upcoming holiday season.
More Pumpkin Desserts
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup unsweetened canned pumpkin purée
- 2/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
- 3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (or use 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips)
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour an 8x8 baking pan.
- In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. In a second bowl whisk together the wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients in with the dry and stir together until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chunks.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick or knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes before removing it from the pan. Cool for about an hour total before serving.
- 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice may be used to replace the cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
- The cake will keep for up to 2 days at room temperature in an airtight container.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 239Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 199mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 3gSugar: 21gProtein: 5g