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Make it Natural: Pumpkin Chocolate Cake

By Alana Sugar, October 20, 2009  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Alana Sugar

Pumpkin-Chocolate-Cake Remember our secret ingredient flourless brownies that were such a big hit? The surprising addition of black beans inspired lots of readers to share their favorite secret ingredients. Amy posted a comment with her tip for hiding healthy pumpkin in brownies. With Halloween right around the corner, the time is certainly right for baking up a pumpkin treat. We decided to try a variation on Amy's idea and created a simple Pumpkin Chocolate Cake. This cake is perfect unfrosted or with a light dusting of powdered sugar if you prefer. Serve with a hot cup of tea, coffee or cocoa. It would be fun to serve small bites at a Halloween party too! Check out the full recipe here. Here's the scoop on our healthy updates:

  • Using whole wheat pastry flour in place of white flour increases the fiber, magnesium and manganese in this cake.
  • Adding pumpkin bumps up the vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, fiber, manganese, folate, thiamin, copper, vitamin B5, vitamin B6 and niacin.
  • Chocolate and cocoa contain phytochemicals (plant compounds) called flavonoids that that help protect against free radical damage that can lead to disease in the body. Cocoa powder ranks the highest of the chocolate products to contain these antioxidants, followed by dark and milk chocolate. Cocoa powder is also lower in fat and sugar than most other chocolate products (especially milk chocolate).

We love baking with pumpkin! In addition to our new favorite Pumpkin Chocolate Cake, here are a few more baked goods we love that feature one of our favorite fall ingredients: Honey and Walnut Pumpkin Bread Mini Pumpkin Gingerbread Cupcakes Pumpkin and Millet Muffins What are some of your favorite ways to cook and bake with pumpkin? Got a recipe that needs a natural makeover? Post it in the comments section below! If we select your recipe for a healthy makeover and publish the improved version on our website, we'll send you a $25 Whole Foods Market gift card. Happy Halloween!

Category: Make It Natural




MaryAnn Marrone says ...
Would love to see a makeover with these cookies. Looking to cut down on fat and sugar. Thanks so much. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies * 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened * 1 cup white sugar * 1 cup light brown sugar * 2 large eggs * 1 teaspoon vanilla extract * 1 cup canned pumpkin puree * 3 cups all-purpose flour * 2 teaspoons baking soda * 1/2 teaspoon salt * 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon * 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger * 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg * 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves * 2 cups (12-ounce bag) milk chocolate chips, not semisweet * Nonstick cooking spray or parchment paper Directions Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray or line them with parchment paper. Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the white and brown sugars, a little at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Slowly beat the flour mixture into the batter in thirds. Stir in the chips. Scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are browned around the edges. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let them rest for 2 minutes. Take the cookies off with a spatula and cool them on wire racks.
10/20/2009 8:17:53 AM CDT
terri says ...
I LOVE pumpkin bread or anything made with pumpkin, however I am trying not to eat grains. What can I use in place of flour? The black bean brownie recipe w/no flour has saved us!! Can you do the same somehow for pumpkin bread recipes?
10/20/2009 9:47:21 AM CDT
Food Makes Fun Fuel says ...
I love adding pumpkin to yogurt or oatmeal, or baking it into loafs of bread. I would love to see these cookies made over. They always are a hit at pot lucks: Oatmeal Chocolate Coconut Gooeys 1/2 cup butter 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 egg 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup all purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 1/2 cup oats 1/3 cup chocolate chips 1/3 cup shredded coconut 1 teaspoon cinnamon Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a big bowl, cream butter and both sugars. Beat in the egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, chocolate chips, and coconut. Stir into the wet mixture. Mix in the oats. Form 1-inch balls by rolling the dough in your hands and press gently onto baking sheet with aluminum foil. Bake for 8-10 minutes and let sit outside of oven for another 5 minutes before transfering to a wire rack to cool.
10/20/2009 9:51:05 AM CDT
Sonja Holzman says ...
This is one of my family's favorite meals but it contains way too much fat and sodium. Would love to find a way to make it just as creamy but more healthy. Tetrazini 16 oz. spaghetti 1/4 c. butter 1/2 c. chopped onion 1/3 c. flour 3 c. 2% milk Chopped chicken/turkey/tuna 1 4 oz. can mushrooms 1 chicken boullion cube, dissolved 1 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. pepper 1 cup cheese (we use sharp cheddar and a bit of Velveeta) Cook spaghetti and drain. Meanwhile, cook onion in melted butter over medium heat until tender, about 5 min. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually stir in mushroom, boullion, salt, pepper and milk until well blended. Place a layer of spaghetti in casserole dish, pour part of mixture over, add about half of the meat and cheese, repeat layering. Sprinkle cheese over top. Bake at 350 until well cooked.
10/20/2009 10:09:38 AM CDT
Domini Davis says ...
This recipe sounds great! I love pumpkin, I love chocolate! Do you think I could use amaranth flour instead of whole wheat pastry flour? I'm allergic to gluten and all grains. Many thanks!
10/20/2009 10:46:25 AM CDT
Joanna says ...
I always add flax seed - or preferably ground flax - in all my cookies, brownies and such. Depending on the quantity of the batter I use 2-4 tablespoons. They add a nice texture and the food value is tremendous. The dark speckles from the flax hide nicely when mixed with cocoa or other chocolate. It's a no-brainer in my opinion!
10/20/2009 10:53:31 AM CDT
Jamie Ervin says ...
I've wanted to remake flan for sometime, but haven't gotten around to it! Perhaps a pumpkin flan with a chocolate agave sauce... yum! I'd love to see it dairy free as well... maybe with MimicCreme? Here's the basic flan: 1 can evaporated milk 1 can sweetened condensed milk 5 eggs 1 cup cane sugar mix eggs, evaporated milk, and sweetened condensed milk in blender. Melt sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until browned. Pour sugar mix into a glass pie pan. Pour egg/milk mixture into pan over sugar sauce. Fill larger glass pan with 1/2 inch-1 inch water and place pie pan inside water bath. Bake at 350F for 45 mins until lightly browned, lower temp to 300F and bake until pick comes out clean.
10/20/2009 11:55:54 AM CDT
douglas kalman says ...
How about using a little SBT Seabuckthorn Seed Oil to improve the EFA content?
10/20/2009 11:57:53 AM CDT
Kristine says ...
I've had this recipe for a few years, and I always feel like I'm cheating using pre-canned and instant ingredients...I'm sure it could use an organic makeover! Whipped Pumpkin-Ginger Mousse 1 can solid-pack pure pumpkin (16 oz size) 1 package (6-serving size) package instant sugar-free vanilla pudding mix 1/4 cup low-fat (1%) milk 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground ginger 2 cups frozen light whipped topping - thawed In a medium bowl, with an electric beater on medium speed with whisk attachment, beat the pumpkin, pudding mix, milk, cinnamon and ginger until well blended. Fold in the whipped topping until thoroughly blended, then spoon into a serving bowl. Cover loosely and chill until ready to serve.
10/21/2009 7:10:06 PM CDT
Danielle Goldie says ...
My husband loves Taco Bell and Del Taco burritos. I'd love to find a healthy and natural way to make them for him at home. The basic ingredients: Chicken or ground beef Cheddar Cheese Sour cream Beans Rice Salsa Sometimes lettuce and tomatoes All wrapped up in a flour tortilla.
10/22/2009 12:46:49 PM CDT
Vigo Baby says ...
We love kabocha pumpkin breads, but bread making takes too long. Would love to know if WFM could make them, (even if seasonally, as apricot raisin apple filones) so we may enjoy more often! Thanks! http://vigobabysreveries.blogspot.com/2009/08/kabocha-pumpkin-bread-quartet.html
10/22/2009 8:03:32 PM CDT
Ashley Appell says ...
I absolutely love my grandma's bread pudding reciepe, but it is filled with fat and extra calories. It would be great to have a healthier alternative with the same flavor. Bread Pudding with Burbon Sauce Pudding: 2 loaves cinnamon raisin bread, crusted and cubed 8 eggs 2 cups whole milk 2 cups heavy cream 1 cup sugar 2 tablespoons vanilla 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier 1 tablespoon cinnamon 1 lemon, juiced 1 cup raisins 1/4 cup melted butter 2 cups bread crumbs (topping) burbon sauce (topping) 1/2 cup packed brown sugar (topping) 1/2 stick butter (topping) Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, and Grand Marnier and mix well. Add cinnamon, juice, and raisins; stir. Add bread cubes and coat evenly with liquid mixture. Let stand for half an hour, stirring occasionally. Pour into a 13x9 baking dish coated with butter. Put bread crumbs, brown sugar, and butter used for topping into a food processor and pulse until crumbly. Spread over pudding. Bake in a water bath for 50 minutes covered with foil. Remove foil and bake pudding for about 10 minutes or until golden on top. Serve with sauce. Sauce: 2 egg yolks 1 stick butter 1 cup brown sugar, packed 1 tablespoon vanilla 1 1/4 cup burbon Beat eggs, butter, and sugar together until fluffy. Add vanilla and 1/2 cup burbon. Cook mixture in a double boiler until temperature is 165 on a thermometer; mix but watch eggs don't curdle. Remove from heat and beat until slightly cool. Add remaining burbon slowly while stiring.
10/22/2009 8:35:35 PM CDT
Heather Sweetart says ...
Pumpkin is great to add to nearly any cake, its the one thing that is often not thought about for a cake but gets high profiling around October.
11/06/2009 2:13:08 AM CST
Nicole says ...
Hi, I made a wonderful pumpkin cheesecake last month, but would love a healthier ( used a lot of sugar ), gluten-free version. I am a vegetarian who thinks about being vegan but loves cheese. Any vegan mac n cheese, cheesecake, or any cheesy pasta dishes you can offer that would curb my cheese cravings? Thank you!
11/11/2009 6:12:40 PM CST
Donna Chapin says ...
I would like to see my family's old favorite made a little healthier: Banana Pudding! We normally use 4 boxes banana flavored pudding. Make according to package directions. Add 1/4 to bowl, layer sliced bananas and vanilla wafer cookies. Repeat layers. For topping, crush cookies and add to middle, putting bananas around edges. Top with whipped topping, if desired.
11/11/2009 8:00:23 PM CST
Maria Sotis says ...
I would love to find a recipe for gluten-free spanakopita(greek spinach pie)! Before I found out of my gluten intolerance, I would make spanakopita using the wheat phyllo dough you carry. Help!! It would mean so much to me if I could make it gluten-free!
11/13/2009 8:58:43 AM CST
Caroline Maney says ...
I would love to see a makeover of this pumpkin bread recipe to cut down on refined sugar and flour. Thanks a lot! 3 cups sugar 1 cup salad oil 3 eggs 2 cups pumpkin (15 oz can) 3 cups flour ½ teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon soda 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground cloves 1 teaspoon nutmeg ½ cup chopped pecans (optional) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients in order listed. Spray oil and flour into three 3 ½ x 7-inch loaf pans and fill half full with pumpkin mixture. Bake for 1 hour. Serve with cream cheese.
12/09/2009 8:15:26 PM CST
Melissa says ...
I used AP flour, substituted 1/2 c of honey for 1/2 c of sugar, decreased the oil to 2 Tbsps and added 1/3 c flour-dusted mini chocolate chips to the batter. I baked it in a foil lined pan sprayed with non-stick spray which made it easy to lift out of the pan and cut when cooled. These have a unique, delicious flavor, reminding me of my grandma's cocoa apple cake. My two boys (3 & 4) LOVED it! Next time I'll try the whole wheat pastry flour, sub the other half of the sugar with splenda and add about 1/2 c finely chopped walnuts. Even though the chocolate chips melted into the cake and were unnoticeable in the end product, I'll still add them because I think they added wonderful chocolate flavor. Maybe I'll try using 2 Tbsps mini chocolate chips and 2 Tbsp carob chips to add a little earthiness and I love Joanna's idea of adding some ground flax! Eventually, I'd like to experiment replacing all of the sugar with about 1/4 c or less of honey & the remainder with the very concentrated powdered stevia extract. Do you have any idea how much stevia extract I would use?
03/30/2010 9:11:57 AM CDT
Guillermina Anslinger says ...
I've been coming here for a roughly a week now and have decided to make my first post to say thank you.
07/27/2011 4:31:58 AM CDT
Kitchenmaven says ...
I can't access the Pumpkin Chocolate Cake recipe. Help!
11/14/2012 7:09:42 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@KITCHENMAVEN - Sorry about the link not working! I have updated the links above that were missing due to our recent site redesign. Let us know how the recipe works out!
11/20/2012 1:05:48 PM CST
RebeccaAdkins says ...
Brownie pumkin cake
09/03/2015 2:27:18 PM CDT