Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake


Good news! We have a ton of freezer space now. Bad news! Mike unplugged it last week when he had to replace the stairs he had to tear out in order to get the new furnace in.

I’ve been digging stuff out of the upstairs freezer a lot this week, mostly in order to feed the boys before ditching them and heading to Red Deer. Tonight was my third of four classes at The Cooking Room, and I timed it just exactly so that I would be one of hundreds detoured off the main highway to the 2A so that they could clear up the 40 or so (I’m not even exaggerating) collisions and pull vehicles from the ditch. I left Calgary at 3, and arrived in Red Deer (typically an hour and a quarter away) at 7:20. At one point I didn’t make it out of first gear for 2 1/2 hours. Bored, I ate everything within reach in the car – Jelly Bellys from the console, half a peanut butter granola bar and a slab of this pumpkin loaf, made with a glob of what turned out to be pumpkin salvaged from the freezer.

It was the product of a blissful hour W and I spent in the kitchen together this week. He came up to me a few mornings ago in his Buzz Lightyear PJ bottoms and said, completely out of the blue, “Mom, I love you. And cake.” How could we not bake one?

Really, that’s what most muffin and loaf recipes are – loaf cakes and cupcakes. The biggest difference (although some may argue there are two distinct mixing methods) is quantity of sugar – cakes tend to have more – although those rules have been blurred over the years and now it seems that even double chocolate chunk cakes the size of a cat’s head can be innocently labeled a “muffin”.

So really, this pumpkin loaf, particularly since it’s studded with chocolate chips, is referred to as “cake” in our house. It’s made with canola oil and less sugar than many cakes, but you could still probably take it down a few more notches if you like.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Loaf


Yields1 Serving

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar (white or brown)
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup buttermilk, thin plain yogurt or milk
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2-1 cup chocolate chips, chopped walnuts or pecans, or a combination


Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9"x5" loaf pan with nonstick spray.


In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, oil, milk, eggs and vanilla.


Add the wet ingredients to the dry along with a few handfuls of chocolate chips and/or nuts, if you're so inclined, and stir just until the batter comes together.


Scrape into the prepared pan and bake for an hour, until the top is cracked and springy to the touch.



 2 cups all-purpose flour
 1 cup sugar (white or brown)
 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
 1 tsp. baking powder
 1 tsp. baking soda
 1/4 tsp. salt
 1 cup pumpkin puree
 1/2 cup canola oil
 1/2 cup buttermilk, thin plain yogurt or milk
 3 large eggs
 1 tsp. vanilla
 1/2-1 cup chocolate chips, chopped walnuts or pecans, or a combination



Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9"x5" loaf pan with nonstick spray.


In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, oil, milk, eggs and vanilla.


Add the wet ingredients to the dry along with a few handfuls of chocolate chips and/or nuts, if you're so inclined, and stir just until the batter comes together.


Scrape into the prepared pan and bake for an hour, until the top is cracked and springy to the touch.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Loaf

Sorry, I completely blew past Free Stuff Friday last week. I’m still disoriented, in a (seedyish, but then again I’m spoiled by the Faimont JPL) hotel in Red Deer listening to the guy in the next room cough (I hope) from under my 100% polyester covers. And I do have a little loot bag to give away – it was the swag from The Cookbook Company’s 25th Anniversary soiree last week, and the only thing I ate from it was the Hardbite potato chips. Still in there: a copy of the Dishing cookbook and a bunch of interesting edibles from the store – to be honest I can’t even remember them all now. Suffice to say it’s a delicious little bagful of loot.

So what did you have for dinner this week that was memorable? Any turkeys?


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63 comments on “Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake

  1. Christina
    November 28, 2009 at 2:00 am

    I’m so glad you made it safe and sound! I thought of you often this evening (I saw on your twitter that you were headed to Edmonton). I was at the Christmas in the Valley (out in Elbow Valley … lots of vendors under one roof) and it was NOT busy AT ALL!! Highway 8 had a big accident right at the start of the show that closed the highway so it was kinda a dud. Anyway, as I sat there, farting around on my iPhone I saw your status about being on the highway and hoped you were safe.
    The memorable dinner of the week were Chicken Enchilada that were absolutely KILLER! (it was the first time I’ve ever made them)! They made a huge batch so I even have a casserole in the freezer I’m dying to bake! Yummmm!

  2. Angela
    November 28, 2009 at 4:11 am

    Yumm the ppkin bread looks really good, will have to give that a try this wknd. Best supper this week was teryaki salmon and jasmine rice (made good leftovers for work lunches too!)
    stay safe and warm Julie

  3. Robin
    November 28, 2009 at 5:44 am

    We love pumpkin cake with chocolate chips at our house, too. We celebrated Thanksgiving this week in my sister’s new apartment. Everything was delicious, but one dish we especially liked was the onion casserole. Topped with homemade croutons and grated gruyere, it was like eating French Onion Soup, without the soup. Yum!

  4. Ellen
    November 28, 2009 at 6:44 am

    i’ve had an entire weeks worth of memorable meals! braised lamb over soft polenta, ethiopian food, roasted pumpkin lasagne, and then a giant potluck style thanksgiving where i ate no less than 6 kinds of stuffing and pie 🙂 i feel rather gluttonous, it must be said.

    i love pumpkin and chocolate together. this sounds delicious, and like the perfect sort of spontaneous cake!

  5. Janice
    November 28, 2009 at 7:27 am

    HI, Wouldn’t you know the highway and city streets would turn ugly at rush hour on Friday night! Took me almost 2 hours to get home…with nothing to eat in my car!

    This week was clean out the freezer week so we had a great batch of turkey chili I made a month ago!

    Have a good weekend

  6. charm
    November 28, 2009 at 7:29 am

    I was doing a cleanse that week so all I had for dinner all week was raw vegetables. I actually made some pretty tasty salads believe it or not.

  7. Lisa
    November 28, 2009 at 8:07 am

    I made a killer chili on Sunday while I was watching the football game. Black beans, the usual veg, and a couple of crumbled up Hoven farm burgers, and a bag of frozen tomato sauce from my freezer. I think the tomato sauce was actually the reason why it was so good – no Hunts!

    I ladled it over rice, and sprinkled way too much cheese (cheddar and jalapeno monterey jack) on top.

    The leftovers improved as the week went on, so I had delicious lunches all week too!

  8. Carol SB
    November 28, 2009 at 8:10 am

    I kept checking back for your “tweets”, Julie, after reading about that 40-car pileup on the highway North of the city. I am so glad you’re safe and sound. http://www.calgaryherald.com/Snow+sparks+road+chaos/2278669/story.html
    One of my daughters, last night, took 5 hours. 5 hours! to get to her house on the bus. Centre street bus; no sanders out; lots of vehicles skating (they’re not that good at it) and her bus was detoured onto the DEERFOOT! because that’s apparently the only road Calgary chooses to maintain. I talked to her on the phone a couple of times: she said everyone on the bus was great; even the little kid (~2 1/2) was a trouper.
    Oh, right. Your “Chicken Thais” recipe, with lots of frozen french-cut green beans. (I love puns)

  9. Tina
    November 28, 2009 at 8:15 am

    Julie, my husband had the same trip you did! Except he left Calgary at 3, hit Red Deer at 7:30, and then had to go on to Edmonton. With NO CAR SNACKS! (Poor planning, that…)

    Anyway, best meal this week – gnocchi with sausage and tomato sauce. A few simple ingredients, just melded into one awesome dish that everyone loved.

  10. Kate
    November 28, 2009 at 8:38 am

    We had Thanksgiving two days ago and leftovers yesterday. It was great with all the trimmings, but our best meal (for me) was a tossed salad topped with grilled chicken and black beans!
    Thanksgiving can be heavy so it was a good preamble!

  11. Theresa
    November 28, 2009 at 8:39 am

    The best meal I had this week was my birthday dinner at the Twisted Fork in Vancouver…duck confit, gruyere and onion tart (shared appies), beef bourginon, lemon tart, chocolate brownie (shared desserts). The lemon tart was served with sour cream ice cream and was frozen in a full orange peel. Sublime.

  12. Jan (Mixing Bowl Kids)
    November 28, 2009 at 8:51 am

    Mmm….I love pumpkin chocolate chip loaf!!!

  13. thepinkpeppercorn
    November 28, 2009 at 9:17 am

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE pumpkin. I might have to make this BEFORE I even clean the kitchen!!

  14. margo
    November 28, 2009 at 9:20 am

    We are a family in the middle of a whirlwind this week… two kids involved in 7 performances of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, so suppers at home have been rotisserie chicken and such. (That said, I did make a scratch coconut cake for 65 cast and crew on my son’s 16th birthday!! Had both my Bosch and Kichen Aid mixer going at once!!) However the best meal was at a restaurant in St. Albert called “Lavia” where we ate prior to my oldest son’s grad into the career of Fire Fighter: delicious ginger chicken, all the other meals looked fabulous too, and finished off with “home-brewed” (no mixes or syrups!) chai lattes. What a treat. Next time I will leave room to taste their desserts though! 🙂

  15. Elaine
    November 28, 2009 at 9:25 am

    We had a Thanksgiving party with some of our friends, and the entire meal was happily vegetable- and cheese-laden.

    Sauteed shallots and fennel and melted aged cheddar over the lot; spinach pies; sliced brussels sprouts w/ your maple-glazed walnuts and a balsamic dressing; and broccoli w/ gorgonzola (holy crap).

  16. Lindsay
    November 28, 2009 at 9:35 am

    We had your sausage, spinache, rotini, tomato, pesto casserole and OMG it was soooo good. I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was. I knew it would be good because everything in there was yummy, but it was way better than the sum of its parts! Thank you again for all the amazing recipes. you make my tummy happy.

  17. steph
    November 28, 2009 at 9:51 am

    That looks delicious!

  18. Rachel
    November 28, 2009 at 9:53 am

    I was eating mostly leftovers this week, but as that included latkes, lentil salad, italian wedding soup and arugula, Asian pear, prosciutto and pomegranate salad, there were no complaints! I think the best dinner was the last one – there’s something delicious about a refreshing salad when there’s snow on the ground. Like I’m cheating Mother Nature (who has actually been quite kind to us Edmontonians this year).

  19. Anne
    November 28, 2009 at 10:32 am

    nothing interesting this week… except maybe for the pheasant on Monday. I was all by myself for the rest of the week so it was just grazing

  20. Joanna
    November 28, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Steamed broccoli and bean thread noodles. With a little sauce made from from soy sauce, ketchup, and garlic, it was actually way good.

  21. Cheryl
    November 28, 2009 at 11:12 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed the snow and some tomatoe, bacon and blue soup last night. Then again, I didn’t have to leave my house. Have a good weekend.

  22. Mama JJ
    November 28, 2009 at 11:13 am

    The holiday food was fine, but not memorable (aside from the sausage stuffing). For lunch today I had a bowl of brown rice and pickled purple cabbage and THAT felt yummy in my tummy. I then had three of Aimee’s maple-pecan cookies. I want another…

  23. Natalie (Georgia)
    November 28, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    Thanksgiving turkey and ham leftovers… yummy meal… especially because my 17mo old fell asleep just as we were being called to the table. The kids table was separated by a kichen and the three of them were actually eating and quiet! I can’t remember eating a full meal like that in a quiet atmosphere for a long while. Peace is so necessary to savor food.

  24. Karen
    November 28, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Everyone’s meals sound so gourmet compared to the pancakes and bacon we had for supper the other night…choc a bloc out of most groceries and no urge to attempt to get them due to the roads. Funny thing though, the smell of the sizzling bacon was met with euphoric and ecstatic looks from my family. Comfort food on a snowy night. 🙂

  25. Corine
    November 28, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Homemade medister sausages…made a batch today for christmas & had to do quality control 🙂 Also chicken & 30 cloves of garlic this week.

  26. Laurie
    November 28, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    homemade sliders and baked fries.

  27. Melanie
    November 28, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Memorable? I’m having a hard time remembering yesterday… Oh yes – I remember! I was lucky enough to have a wonderful girlfriend visiting from out of town and we were lucky enough to score the last table at Brava Bistro on Wednesday night. We happily shared the beet salad and margharita pizza accompanied by their insanely good hard lemonade… the whole thing was washed down with a capuccino and the warm chocolate cake…. Memorable both because of the food and the good company!

  28. Lauren
    November 28, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    I’m sorry you were stuck for so long! I remember once when a 3 hour drive took 7 because of some crashes, its never fun.

    This looks delicious! I love loafs, but haven’t had any recently… My most memorable meal was my last – an omelette with zucchini, spinach, onion, garlic, pumpkin seeds, and goat cheese. Sounds odd, but is very delicious – a new favourite for sure!

  29. Nancy
    November 28, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    My most memorable was a Multicultural Potluck at my daughters’ school! I was on the committee, but we had no idea what a success it would be! Incredible food (which I was sneaking from the table, as I was on dish labelling duty), everything from delicious samosas to cabbage rolls, to Korean bbq, people went all out!! Yum, wish I had more of everything. Now a quick dinner (korean pork chops, inspired by the night!), before we go to City Hall’s Cavalcade of Lights – skating, fireworks, and giant tree lighting! Not to mention the Bay store windows. 🙂

  30. Erica B.
    November 28, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Friday dinner was an attempt to avoid the typical fast food while doing errands.

    In the middle a 3 block big-box shopping maze there is Big Bend Market, by the same people who own Big Bend Bison. I had a delicious Bison Montreal Smoked Meat sandwich, in the same style as Ben’s but since it was bison like 1/2 the fat. I caved in and picked up a lemon cream slice which the counter person promised was “just like lemon meringue pie” and except for the meringue she was bang on. Simple and delicious 🙂

  31. Tagyn
    November 28, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Thank goodness you did not drive home last night!
    Best meal this week was my husband’s stew served over mashed potatoes- real comfort food.
    Drive home safely.

  32. erin
    November 28, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    No turkey – but I will be making turkey soup tomorrow with the leftovers that have been in the freezer for a month!

  33. Dani
    November 28, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    Thanksgiving dinner with all of the recipes from my late mother. (Plus a couple of new desserts.) Even my grandchildren request “Gigi’s” dishes at holidays.

    Thanks for a chance at the giveaway.

  34. Heather
    November 28, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    French lentil salad from The New Best Recipe. Hard to improve on their recipes, but I think I managed it – I stirred in some caramelized shallots and harissa paste from Williams-Sonoma.

  35. Margaret
    November 28, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Our best meal was Portugese Stone Soup, salad, smashed potatoes with garlic and sour cream, balsamic flavoured sliced tomatoes, and baby brussel sprouts. Desert was yogurt over fresh blackberries.

  36. Kris
    November 28, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    This wasn’t a stellar week for meals at our house; dh was away so it was me & the (picky) kids and I was home late most evenings so quick suppers: pancakes, sloppy joes, etc. But Thursday I threw a boneless turkey breast into the slowcooker, dumped in some leftover cranberry sauce and some spices and let the slow cooker do its thing. Turned out quite tasty.

  37. susan
    November 28, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    What a great sounding loaf recipe. Think that I will make it tomorrow. I made pumpkin tarts that I took into the office to celebrate the US Thanksgiving. I still have some pumpkin left over. This looks like a good recipe to use it up. Thanks Julie for the inspiration !

  38. nicki
    November 28, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    Nothing too fancy. We ate leftovers. Chicken, rice, and veggies all week. Hopefully next week will be more interesting. I can’t wait to make your pumpkin loaf!!

  39. Vera
    November 29, 2009 at 3:28 am

    This pumpkin chocolate chip loaf sounds lovely. I will try to make here in London, Eng. I am orginally from Victoria BC so great to see you are Canadian! I have a small 3 year old daughter, and I know she would love it too!

  40. kathy
    November 29, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Best meal this week was a roasted vegetable pasta with chicken. I roasted cherry tomatoes, asparagus & peppers in balsamic vinegar, olive oil ans salt and pepper. Tossed it with penne and shredded one of those bbq chickens from the grocery store. Yummy and easy. I’ll add the loaf recipe to the repertoire, sounds good.

  41. Barb
    November 29, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    That sounds like the road trip form hell. Spagetti carbonara was about the most interesting if I remember correctly. Oh there was a turkey stew that was very tasty, too.

  42. Rose
    November 29, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    Yes! We cooked a turkey with all the trimmings for family visiting from Seattle to celebrate American Thanksgiving. My sister picked up the turkey for me and the price for a turkey is about 1/4 of what I pay in B.C. My favourite part of the dinner was the brussels sprouts which I steamed then sauteed in butter with S and P and fresh lemon juice. Very nice.


  43. Donna
    November 29, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    Glad to hear from you ! We don’t need free stuff every friday.
    Most momroable dinner – Fish of every description served in the dining room of this Holland America Ship. That and the cold soups made with too much cream.

  44. Sarah G
    November 29, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    American Thanksgiving in the South provided me with several corn dishes, including a shoepeg corn salad, green bean casserole topped with Trader Joe’s crispy fried onions, empanadas, southern style stuffings – both cornbread and white bread, fried okra, the smallest turkey I have ever seen in my life (poor thing), braised turnip greens, lovely ham, and a plethora of cakes and desserts made by both my American and Canadian friends – yum for the saskatoon berry pie and chocolate pecan pie.

  45. Vivian
    November 29, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    From the sound of your Calgary weather, we are not doing too badly here just west of Edmonton, if you count rain and a temp hovering around zero! Glad you made it through…white knuckles aren’t fun. I guess it’s true that one should always have some energy snacks in the vehicle for just such times. This week I succombed to the call of comfort food as in a hearty, rich beef stew from the slow-cooker!

  46. Cindy
    November 29, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    The best has been slow cooker chicken stew tonight, with some homemade biscuits on the side. I wanted to let you know that I used your sponge toffee recipe this weekend as part of a science-themed camp for Girl Guides. Spent Saturday afternoon making it with groups of girls to learn some kitchen science – the girls loved it even though it didn’t sponge up as much as usual (I suspect it has something to do with having 5 girls taking turns stirring etc.), but they still enjoyed having it as dessert that night with melted chocolate to dip it in. Thanks for the recipes!!

  47. Natalie from Ottawa
    November 30, 2009 at 7:12 am

    For a few months now, we have started “Meat-Free Mondays”, a concept started by Paul McCartney in memory of late wife Linda. So on Monday we had curried chick peas over Jasmine rice. One of my favourites out of my new “Meat Free Monday” repertoire of recipes.

    One of the “cakes” that we make fairly often in our family is Banana Chocolate Chip muffins. About every other week or so, when we have bananas that have gone too ripe. Sometimes we have to an extra large batch of bananas to make sure that we get a few leftover to go brown!

  48. Nancy
    November 30, 2009 at 8:57 am

    I made stuffed mushrooms last night and with a chicken caesar salad (courtesy of Zehrs), we had a delicious “lightish” supper! Love reading about your life!

  49. Diana
    November 30, 2009 at 10:31 am

    went trail riding yesterday and had smokies, kubbie and hamburgers cooked and eaten outside. A great day!

  50. Lovefood63
    November 30, 2009 at 11:02 am

    When I realized it would (still) be nice enough to grill on Saturday, I quickly defrosted and marinated some chicken in a Thai marinade. Slopped some of it onto sliced up veggies too and threw the whole lot onto the bbq. Served it with brown jasmine rice. Yum!

  51. Evelyn in Canada
    November 30, 2009 at 11:06 am

    My Amazon order came in this week with two new cookbooks: Pioneer Woman Cooks and Family Feasts for $75 (Mary Ostyn). I made Orange Chicken from the Ostyn book and it turned out great. It was basically breaded cubes of chicken fried, served with veggies stirfried in a sticky orange sauce and served over rice. Yum!

  52. Jen T
    November 30, 2009 at 11:27 am

    ate some homemade bran/carrot/raisin/cinnamon muffins. My mom in law just throws things together and they seem to come out perfectly edible. Now that is the sign of a true cook – someone who can make a meal without a recipe in sight.

  53. Jacquie
    November 30, 2009 at 11:32 am

    I was away most of last week for work, many, many meetings in Montréal. We did manage to go out one night to Bis restaurant on Rue de la Montagne. I had a lovely salmon carpaccio with salad and then osso bucco, a beautiful lamb shank deposited on a cushion of risotto. Dessert was a coffee with tiny pistachio biscotti. Sublime…

  54. Robyn
    November 30, 2009 at 11:56 am

    We had the in-laws over for the weekend and the most memorable item on the menu was Creamy Mushroom Soup . . . your recipe Julie. It was amazing! I used mini portobella mushrooms (already sliced from Costco) and I added some fresh thyme that I had brought in from the back deck (it’s sitting in a sunny window and I haven’t killed it yet!). Julie, your website is now my go-to spot when I want to try something different and special. Cheers!

  55. amelia
    November 30, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    My sister and I are fortunate enough to have good friends that are amazingly generous and great cooks.. We had dinner with them on Friday – prime rib, roasted veggies. Then had dinner together again! Hot pot – 3 kinds of mushrooms, veggies, lamb, beef…mmmm.

  56. Lesli Christianson-Kellow
    November 30, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Nothing exciting on the menu this week…but I did think my ricotta cheese and chorizo sausage lasagna turned out great and everyone ate it, which is always a true test of whether I bother making a dish again…of course, no one likes saurkraut, but I still make it…

  57. barinder
    October 7, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    pumpkin pies

  58. Lynn
    October 28, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    I was wondering what size can of Pumpkin puree you used for this recipe as I have seen it in two sizes at my local grocers.

  59. JulieVR
    October 28, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    Lynn – it doesn’t matter what size can you buy, just use a cup of it.

  60. Lynn
    October 29, 2012 at 6:39 am

    now that I am wide awake and my glasses on I see that the recipe said “cup” not can!! Lol sorry for the confusion…..advice to self…never read recipes when tired. Thanks Julie…..today is baking day.

  61. Eva
    November 17, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    I’ve just baked muffins with this recipe for my own bday party (w choc chips and macadamia) and they were a huge success both with kids and grownups… I think I’ll have to bake them soon again… Thx for the recipe and greetings from Italy 🙂

  62. Allison
    September 15, 2020 at 5:09 pm

    Hi Julie. Thinking of adding some pureed red lentils to this recipe to boost the fibre, but unsure of amount and if I’d have to cut back or increase other ingredients. Any suggestions? Thank you!

    • Julie
      September 18, 2020 at 3:47 pm

      You wouldn’t have to adjust anything else. Usually I add about 1/3 cup cooked red lentils (I don’t even bother pureeing them, but you could!) – try that, and then increase to 1/2 cup if it works to your liking!

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