Pumpkin Chocolate Cake

December, one of the best months of the year.  Christmas lights twinkling.  Fires roaring in hearths and rustic wood stoves.  Mittens and scarves have officially made a reappearance.  Hot chocolate and tea are constants on rotation as the comforting warm drink of choice (alongside of coffee, which diehards tend to drink all year regardless).  Decorations are hung.  Christmas music is played, to an annoying degree for some (though personally, I love it).  Cookies are baked and piped with colorful icing.  Cards filled with affectionate sentiments are penned.  Church on Christmas Eve with choir sung carols, magical.  Finding for the perfect personal gifts for those you love.  Thick books truly ideal for this month of the year, diving into an immersive, spellbinding, towering tale while holed up under your favorite blanket.  Snow, a glittering blanket across the landscape.  All of this and more is why I think December is fantastic.

Another awesome aspect of December…chocolate cake.  This particular cake is decked out, much like the halls, during this month of the year (wink, wink).

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While I think anytime is ideal for eating this decadent and utterly satisfying treat, December takes the cake for “perfect time of year to consume chocolate cake.”  With the chill in the air, something about a towering slab of fudgy goodness really hits the spot.  Especially when paired with a steaming mug of tea (or coffee).

This recipe is refined sugar-free, lactose-free and gluten-free!!!  And its super easy to make.  Its quicker to throw together than my Sweet Potato Chocolate Cake, though its just as delicious.

Dont say I didn’t warn ya.  After whipping up one of these bad boys, you may find yourself drinking way more coffee or tea than usual to have an excuse for eating yet another slice of this sinfully delicious treat.  Its that good.

Pumpkin Brownies or Pumpkin Cake, your choice

(You can use this recipe for either, though if you decide to make a cake I recommend doubling the recipe)

 

Ingredients

1 cup of cocoa powder

1 cup of rice flour

½ cup of coconut sugar (aka palm sugar)

½ teaspoon of baking powder

¾ cup of coconut milk

1 egg

1 cup of canned pumpkin

1/3 cup of honey

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

Chocolate chips (a handful)

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/176 degrees C. For brownies, grease an 8×8 inch square baking pan lightly and set aside.  For a cake, grease a 9×9 inch round cake pan well (OR a spring foam pan works well with this recipe too) and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine the cocoa powder, coconut sugar, rice flour and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the egg, pumpkin, coconut milk, honey and vanilla.
  4. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet. Mix well until well combined.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips (this does add a small amount of sugar to the recipe. You can opt out of using these if you wish.  It will taste just as delicious without).
  6. For brownies, pour the entire bowl of batter into the 8×8 pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a knife or toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean. Do not overbake.  For a cake, pour half of the batter into the round 9×9 inch cake pan, bake for 20-25 minutes (same baking directions as with the brownies), remove from oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes or so and then remove from pan.  Set aside first cake layer to cool while the second one cooks.  Allow both cake layers to cool completely before frosting.

 

Two frosting options that I like (though if you go with brownies, you don’t necessarily need a frosting):

 

Sweet potato chocolate frosting (no dairy)

1 cup of sweet potato, already prepared and mashed

½ cup of coconut sugar

½ cup of sunflower butter

½ cup of cocoa powder

6-7 tablespoons of coconut milk

Combine 1 already cooked sweet potato (minus the skin.  Cut in half and scoop out the inside), coconut sugar, sunflower butter, cocoa powder and coconut milk in a bowl.  With an electric mixer, beat on medium from 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Just until all ingredients are combined and it looks like a chocolate frosting.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

 

Ricotta and mascarpone raspberry frosting (this one contains dairy)

2 cups of ricotta

½ cup of mascarpone

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

Roughly ¼ cup of honey (to taste)

1 cup of fresh raspberries

Mix the first four ingredients together well.  Then stir in the raspberries.  Store the frosting in the fridge until cake layers are entirely cooled down, then frost.

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