Chocolate Pumpkin Cake Squares

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I use to be addicted to Starbucks Pumpkin Loaf! I like the moist, sweet and mild pumpkin flavor. I like pumpkin…but not overpowering…like a pumpkin pie for instance. That’s just too much pumpkin for me. I use to go several times a week for a slice. Well at almost $2 a slice and the unhealthy ingredients, I decided to make my own little pumpkin dessert and added my own twist. Instead of a “loaf”, I created little cake bites and added chocolate (of course!) and my own topping and they are just as yummy and moist as the Starbucks version…but without all the preservatives and other unwanted ingredients. Moist, chocolatey and a much healthier Starbucks dessert for myself to enjoy. I went for a more chocolatey flavor, rather than a spicy pumpkin flavor. It met the craving and I’m satisfied!

Recipe: Makes 16 cake bites Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (regular whole wheat will make them too chewy)

3/4 cup organic evaporated cane juice

2 tablespoons coconut sugar or organic brown sugar or sucanat

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 cup pumpkin

1/2 cup almond milk

1 tablespoon orange juice

1/4 cup grapeseed oil

1 teaspoon Madagascar bourbon vanilla (or 2 teaspoons regular vanilla)

1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

Topping:

1/2 cup ground almonds (I grind my own using whole almonds, roughly for a crunchy topping, measure 1/2 cup after grinding)

2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or light brown sugar)

Combine the two topping ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, sift together the first 5 ingredients. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, milk, oil, and orange juice. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until everything is combined.

In a small separate bowl, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave. Heat for 30 seconds, stir, then another 30 seconds and stir again. You want them melted but not overcooked. Mine only took two 30 second warmups and stirring the second time finished melting them. If yours still needs a little more, just do 10 seconds at a time. Add the melted chocolate to the liquid batter and beat again until thoroughly mixed. Stir in the vanilla.

Now add half the dry ingredients to the liquid, fold it in, then add the remaining dry ingredients. Spray an 8X8 pan with nonstick spray, lightly, you don’t want the cake bites to get greasy. I blotted my pan with a paper towel. Pour the batter in and spread out evenly and sprinkle with the almond-sugar topping. Bake 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. Let them cool completely before slicing and removing them. Cut into 16 squares. I liked mine slightly reheated and served alongside some coffee or tea! Yum!

Nutrition: 142 calories/1.8g protein/5.89g fat/22.4 carbs (Based on 16 squares)

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