This Easy Chocolate Pumpkin Bread should be your go-to Autumn pumpkin recipe. The soft, tender pumpkin bread is swirled through with a rich chocolate batter resulting in a bread that encapsulates the season. It's practically a one-bowl recipe with no stand mixer required and makes for a delicious breakfast. This bread tastes just like your grandma made it.
Pumpkin is the quintessential Autumn (or Fall as you Yanks say!) flavour that goes hand in hand with other seasonal flavours such as apple, pear and caramel at this time of year. If you love warm, cosy, inviting Autumn recipes, then you love these Apple Cider Caramel Cupcakes, Pear Hazelnut and Olive Oil Cake and Caramel Cake. Bake yourself one of these, grab a slice, wrap yourself in a blanket and snuggle up on the sofa!
This Chocolate Pumpkin Bread combines the indulgence of a rich chocolate sponge along with the comforting classic of pumpkin sponge, resulting in a loaf that will knock your socks off. The pumpkin spice adds warmth to the sponge that compliments the pumpkin and chocolate but I know it's a divisive ingredient, so if you want to leave it out, by all means, do.
The maple icing is also an optional extra to elevate your bread. The maple flavour shines through in the icing and sits beautifully alongside the pumpkin and chocolate. It looks extra gorgeous drizzled on top and you could even scatter some chopped toasted pecans for a bit of crunch.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Encapsulates the flavours of Autumn. Baking with pumpkin during Autumn truly encapsulates the season, it's the perfect addition to sweet treats, not just savoury recipes.
- Looks more complicated than it is to make. Seeing that swirled pattern will have others imagining that you spent ages creating your loaf. Little do they know this is (practically) a one-bowl recipe, and you don't need any fancy equipment!
- The texture is super light and moist. The crumb is soft, light, and super moist from adding the pumpkin (and it lasts like this for a couple of days!)
- Great toasted for breakfast. If this lasts you overnight (it never does in my household), then not only does the taste improve, but a slice toasted will rock your world!
For the batter
- Eggs - I use large eggs and they need to be at room temperature. (Submerge them in warm water for ten minutes if you forget to take them out of the fridge!) They become aerated when whisked a lot more effectively when at room temp.
- Sugar - A combination of granulated sugar and light brown sugar is used for sweetness, structure in the sponge and moisture and flavour from the molasses in the brown sugar.
- Pumpkin Puree - the hero of the recipe. Use store-bought or make your own.
- Vegetable Oil - Use canola or vegetable oil - we want the oil to have a mild flavour so as not to overpower the pumpkin and chocolate.
- Greek yogurt - The yogurt provides moisture to the sponge - it's a welcome addition. If you don't have any on hand, sour cream, creme fraiche, or buttermilk will be worthy replacements.
- Vanilla extract - Adds sweetness to the overall batter. It's all about layering flavours. Vanilla bean paste or the seeds of a vanilla pod can also be used.
- Plain flour- Due to the recipe having a leavening agent, using plain (all-purpose) flour is perfect.
- Pumpkin Spice - you can use the store-bought pre-made pumpkin spice mix, or make your own by mixing together ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground ginger, ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg and ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves.
- Baking powder - Helps give that crumb its light, airy texture.
- Baking soda - Activated by the acidity in the sour cream, it backs up the baking powder by providing some lift to create a soft sponge.
- Salt - Always helps counteract the sweetness of any baked good- I always season my bakes. It also enhances the chocolate flavour too.
- Chocolate batter - Cocoa powder, Greek yogurt, espresso powder - the addition of the cocoa powder to the second half of the batter would dry out the sponge if we didn't balance it out with the moisture of yogurt. The espresso powder enhances the chocolate flavour and I promise you won't taste it. But if you prefer to omit it then please do.
For the maple icing (optional)
- Powdered icing sugar - Make sure to sift your powdered (confectioners) so that you don't have lumpy icing.
- Maple syrup - Go for the 'real' maple syrup, not the flavouring. The taste is so much better!
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!*
I’ve adapted this recipe from my Earl Grey Yogurt Loaf, as I wanted to create a recipe that was made in one bowl (ok, almost in one bowl as we have to divide the batter in two later on) and required no stand mixer. I'm happy to report that this is every bit as easy as it is delicious!
Don't be put off by the number of process images, I love to be able to guide you visually, and I hope that they prove useful to you so that you know exactly how to re-create this bread.
Make the pumpkin and chocolate batter
1. Prepare your pan—grease the base and sides of a 2lb loaf pan. A little tip when lining your loaf pan. Let the paper hang over the sides - this makes it a hundred times easier to lift out the bread once it's cooled slightly. (Image 1)
2. Whip the eggs and sugar In a large bowl, using a whisk, whip the eggs and sugar until they turn light, pale and aerated. If doing this by hand, don't whisk for less than a minute. We want lots of air in the mixture! This is your arm workout for the day! (Image 2)
Note: If you'd prefer to use a hand-held electric beater fitted with the whisk attachment, then by all means, go for it!
3. Mix in wet ingredients. Add the vegetable oil, pumpkin puree, yogurt and vanilla extract into the mixing bowl and whisk until combined. (Image 3 & 4) It may look a little curdled, but don't worry; it will come together when the remaining ingredients are added.
4. Sift in dry ingredients. We're keeping it simple and sifting the dry ingredients into our mixing bowl. Sift the flour, pumpkin spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt through a fine-mesh sieve onto the whisked eggs. (Image 5 & 6) Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet until just combined and a few flour streaks remain. (Image 7 & 8)
5. Divide the batter and make the chocolate batter. Now divide the batter evenly into two separate bowls. If you want more pumpkin marbling throughout the loaf, then leave a couple more tablespoons in the pumpkin bowl. (Image 9) In one bowl of batter, add the cocoa powder, remaining Greek yogurt and espresso powder (Image 10) and give it a good mix together.
How to marble your bread
8. Then it's time to bake! The loaf takes about 50 to 60 minutes in the oven to bake through. It should spring back when pressed gently in the middle, and a toothpick inserted should have a few moist crumbs stuck to it when inserted. (Image 17 & 18). If, like my oven in our rental flat, you have hot spots (mine is the bottom left!), then rotate the loaf halfway through baking.
TIP: If the bread starts browning too quickly, then halfway through the bake time, pop a tent of foil over the top to protect it, and continue baking.
Once baked, leave it in the loaf pan for ten minutes to cool. Then using that clever paper sling you made earlier, lift it out onto a wire wrack. Serve it warm now, or wait for it to cool to drizzle maple icing on top.
Make the maple icing
8. Mix the maple icing. As mentioned earlier, maple icing is totally optional. But if you decide to include it, then sift the powdered icing (confectioners') sugar into a bowl and add the maple syrup. Whisk until smooth and there are no lumps. (Image 19 & 20)
Drizzle over the top of your loaf. Liberally drizzle the icing over the cooled chocolate pumpkin bread - it will set relatively quickly, so don't hang around too long after making the icing; otherwise, it will form a skin on top. Then slice and enjoy!
TIP: Heat the icing in the microwave for ten seconds. This loosens it enough to whisk it till smooth, removing any lumps and air bubbles.
Recipe pro tips
- Make a paper sling. The easiest way to remove the loaf once baked is to create a paper sling in the loaf pan. Easily done by letting the parchment paper hang over the sides.
- Aluminium foil tent. The bread takes almost an hour to bake, and sometimes the top can brown too quickly (depending on your oven). Covering in a foil tent will slow this browning down but allow the loaf to continue to bake.
- Smooth icing. Give the icing a quick short burst in the microwave, heats it ever so slightly, but enough to relax it and create a super smooth glaze.
I mean, Chocolate Pumpkin Bread is just that, chocolate pumpkin bread, so there's not too much we can do differently without changing the core of this recipe.
- Substitution - Greek yogurt: As mentioned before, Greek yogurt can be substituted for sour cream, creme fraiche and even buttermilk. We just need the added moisture to make the crumb in the loaf super soft and tender.
- Variation - Chocolate Chunks or chocolate chips: For even more decadence, throw in some chopped chocolate chunks or chocolate chips into the chocolate and/or the pumpkin batter for melting puddles of deliciousness
- Variation - Topping: Instead of maple icing, just before the bread goes into the oven, sprinkle the top of the batter with demerara sugar (coarse sugar) for a delicious crunch when baked. Alternatively, once baked, dust with some powdered sugar. (See the image below, I baked the loaf in a fluted Nordic Ware Bunt Pan and dusted it with icing sugar. It looks absolutely stunning!)
- Variation - Topping: This recipe has been updated since I initially made it. Previously, I swirled whipped chocolate ganache on top of the loaf and decorated it with pumpkin chips. See my FAQs for details on how to add these components to your loaf.
Frequently asked questions
The sour cream and pumpkin add moisture to the batter, which when baked results in a super tender crumb but also one that stays moist for a couple of days.
However, if too much moisture is added, then this inhibits the rise of the bread in the oven and can then result in a gummy texture. Make sure to weigh out your ingredients using digital scales. It's way more accurate!
My favourite is served ever so slightly warm, with the maple glaze. You can slice and heat it on a sandwich press served with butter, Nutella, nut butter or even a smear of cream cheese!
The photos you see here are actually a re-shoot that I did from my previous post published back in September 2019. In that recipe, I covered the loaf in whipped chocolate ganache and pumpkin crisps.
I've updated the recipe to simplify it and make it more accessible. However, if you want to go all out and create a showstopper, then here's how!
¼ butternut squash, sliced thinly
Once the bread is removed from the oven, reduce the heat to 110°C (230°F) and lay pumpkin slices on a baking tray. Bake on low heat for 1½ hours, turning halfway or when fully dried and crisp.
Whipped Chocolate Ganache
240ml double (heavy cream)
150g dark chocolate, 70% (chopped)
Place the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and heat until bubbles appear around the pan's edge. Add the chopped chocolate to a separate bowl and pour the hot (not boiling) cream over the chocolate. Cover with a plate and allow to stand for 5 mins. Then whisk until cream and chocolate are fully incorporated and smooth.
The ganache needs to thicken, which can be done by leaving it out at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Ensure that you whisk the ganache every ten minutes or so to make sure it’s smooth and lump-free. The ganache needs to cool to the point of being firm but still soft.
At this point, whip the ganache with hand-held electric beaters until light and fluffy. Spoon onto your cooled chocolate pumpkin bread and swirl with an offset spatula. Add pumpkin crisps and serve.
These two terms essentially mean the same thing. More importantly, in my recipe, you can substitute the canned pumpkin with homemade pumpkin puree. You can do this if you prefer to make your own puree, cannot find canned pumpkin in the store and have more time available to add on the time needed. I love the practicality and ease of store-bought canned pumpkin.
How to store and freeze
- To store: Once the Chocolate Marble Pumpkin Bread has completely cooled on a wire rack, wrap it well in plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out, and store it at room temperature for up to 4 days.
- To freeze: Wrap the bread in plastic wrap or aluminium foil and store it in a freezer-safe container or freezer bags. The loaf can be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw by removing the loaf from the container and leave it at room temperature for about 3 hours before slicing.
Tools you’ll need
- 2 lb loaf pan (23x14cm/9x5.5inch): The perfect size for this loaf to bake in.
- Stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment: To achieve that well-creamed butter and sugar. But if you prefer to use hand-held electric beaters, then they will also work.
- Medium bowls: Two medium-sized bowls to divide the batter into and mix up into pumpkin and chocolate batters.
More Autumn/Fall recipes that you may like
If you tried this Chocolate Marble Pumpkin Bread Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how you go in the comments below. I love hearing from you. Also, please leave a star rating whilst you're there!
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This post was originally published in October 2019 but has been updated with new content, new images and an updated recipe.
Chocolate Pumpkin Bread Recipe
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 150 g granulated sugar
- 50 g soft brown sugar, firmly packed
- 180 ml vegetable oil
- 150 g canned pumpkin puree
- 60 g Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or paste)
- 250 g plain flour (all-purpose)
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 20 g cocoa powder, sifted
- 35 g Greek yogurt
- ½ teaspoon instant coffee granules/espresso powder
- 180 g powdered icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar)
- 45 ml maple syrup
Chocolate pumpkin bread
- Heat oven & prep pan: Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Grease with butter a 2 lb loaf pan 23 x 14cm (9 x 5.5-inch) and line the base and sides with parchment paper.
- Whisk eggs & sugar: In a large bowl, add the eggs, white and light brown sugar and whisk until pale and light - this takes approximately one minute.
- Mix in wet ingredients. Add the oil, pumpkin puree, Greek yogurt and vanilla extract and whisk until fully combined
- Sift in dry ingredients. Sift into the bowl the flour, pumpkin spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Fold together gently. Using a spatula, fold the batter together until a few streaks of flour remain.
- Divide the batter and make the chocolate batter. Divide the batter evenly into two separate bowls. If you want more pumpkin marbling throughout the loaf, then leave a couple more tablespoons in the pumpkin bowl. Create chocolate batter. In one bowl of batter, add the cocoa powder, Greek yogurt and espresso powder and mix until combined.
How to marble the bread
- Layer batters into the loaf pan. To create the marble design, add a couple of spoonfuls of pumpkin batter along the bottom of your pan and smooth flat with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula. Next, dollop the chocolate on top of the pumpkin layer and smooth it out. Continue with another pumpkin layer and repeat these alternating layers until all the batter has gone. Swirl the batter. Use a skewer or flat-bladed knife, and run the blade vertically throughout the batter, occasionally bringing the knife out of the batter and back in again to swirl the two batters into eachother.
- Bake: Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake on the centre shelf for 50-55 minutes until golden brown and the sponge springs back or a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. If the cake is browning too quickly then tent in aluminium foil and continue to bake. Cool on a wire rack for ten minutes, then remove from the pan to cool completely.
Maple icing, optional
- Whisk: Add powdered icing sugar and maple syrup into a small bowl and whisk together. If the glaze is too runny, then add more powdered sugar 30g (¼ cup) at a time and mix until desired consistency is reached.
- Pour: Pour glaze over cooled bread and set aside for ten minutes for the glaze to harden. Slice and serve.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.