Pumpkin Walnut Chocolate Chip Cake Recipe
Pumpkin cake for breakfast is not an everyday indulgence, but I wanted to bring in the wonderful flavors of the fall into my 50th birthday morning swim. This easy cake combines the smoothness of pumpkins, the bite of dark chocolate, and the wholesomeness of walnuts. It’s everything an October baby would love if they were just coming out of a morning swim under the ancient trees of Hyde Park.
Picking the Right Pumpkin for Baking
Come mid-October, pumpkins grace the front porch of many London houses and food stores place the orange orbs strategically by their entrance. In England, the variety of pumpkins in big cities is usually not that great but there’s growing demand for more variety, more fun, and more textured pumpkins.
This week alone, I was able to find acorn squash, sweet delica pumpkin, spaghetti squash and the ubiquitous “carving pumpkin.” Nobody thinks the decorative pumpkin is edible but while it’s not the best, it’s certainly OK to eat.
My favorite baking pumpkin has to be the Cinderella pumpkin, which feeds an army and is deep orange with a very tasty flesh.
Pumpkins in Desserts: A Long American Tradition
Until I lived in San Francisco, I never considered pumpkins as a sweet flavor. In France, the only way people eat pumpkins is as savory pumpkin soup. Nobody would ever bake a pumpkin tart or pumpkin pastry. Yet pumpkins are extremely versatile in sweet dishes such as cakes, pancakes, jam or smoothies.
On my bookshelves, I have a few cookbooks with dedicated pumpkin sections and a cookbook only on pumpkins, Old-Fashioned Pumpkin Recipes. The latter is an excellent resource on the early American tradition of eating pumpkins, both before and after the landing of the pilgrims.
Native Americans sliced pumpkins into long pieces and roasted them over an open fire. American Europeans split pumpkins to remove the seeds, put the halves back together and roasted them whole in hearth ovens.
New Englanders boiled their pumpkins, cut them in chunks and ate them salted and buttered or as soup. In the Southern Colonies, they began kneading the pumpkin pulp into their bread dough and it wasn’t long before pumpkin puddings, cakes, and pies were created.Old-Fashioned Pumpkin Recipes, Bear Wallow Books (1979)
Eating Autumn as Cake
Now that trees are showing their best autumn colors, it’s time we enjoyed the flavors of the season as cake. In Japan, people eat maple leaves to celebrate the fall season. How about we eat pumpkins and walnuts as cake? Of course, I’ve added an indulgent smattering of dark chocolate chips in this recipe for kicks and because I love dark chocolate.
I baked this cake for my birthday at the Serpentine Swimming Club and it didn’t take too long for it to disappear.
Pumpkin Walnut Chocolate Chip Tea Cake Recipe
- 1 3/4 cup self-rising flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/3 cup cooked pumpkin (preferably delicata pumpkin or kabocha squash, a flavorful pumpkin)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
- In a bowl, add all dry Ingredients and stir.
- Mix in wet ingredients and combine well until all dry ingredients have been incorporated.
- Preheat oven at 375F/180C.
- Pour batter into loaf pan (9 x 5-inch) lined with baking paper.
- Bake at 375F/180C until a toothpick inserted In the middle comes out dry, roughly one hour.
- Wait until the cake is cool to slice. It will be moist Inside.
- Enjoy with your favorite cup of tea!