Chocolate Pumpkin Cake Squares

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 squares 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 squares  Prep time: 15 mins  Cook time: 20 mins Print recipe


  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (regular whole wheat will make them too chewy)
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons organic coconut sugar, 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
  • 2 teaspoons Madagascar bourbon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips


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


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray an 8X8 square pan with nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together the first 6 ingredients and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, milk, orange juice and oil. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until everything is combined.
  2. 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 warm-ups 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.
  3. Now add half the dry ingredients to the liquid, fold it in, then add the remaining dry ingredients. 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)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Chocolate, Party Platters, Sweet Treats, VEGAN, VEGETARIAN


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52 Comments on “Chocolate Pumpkin Cake Squares”

  1. September 12, 2012 at 1:05 AM #

    I know that loaf from Starbucks, it is delicious. Your version is much better, healthier and sounds just as good.

    • September 12, 2012 at 1:18 AM #

      Thank you! Well, I’m certainly biased to mine and while it doesn’t have the exact same flavor (more chocolatey) it is moist and cake like from the pumpkin (like Starbucks) and it is what inspired this recipe and met my craving! So, no need for the Starbucks version anymore! 🙂

  2. September 12, 2012 at 2:08 AM #

    These look delicious! Thank you for sharing!

  3. September 12, 2012 at 2:09 AM #

    I am definitely going to bake these! Fall = pumpkin anything for me 🙂 (I pressed post comment too soon) 🙂

    • September 12, 2012 at 2:57 AM #

      Thank you so much!! I agree…I have everything Fall on my mind!! Hope you enjoy them as much as I did! Love your new blog btw! 🙂

      • September 12, 2012 at 3:38 AM #

        Thank you! You are so sweet! 🙂

      • September 14, 2012 at 7:08 PM #

        hey, just asking. . you can totally turn me down if you think this is lame. . I’m starting a thing called #FlyFridays. . just trying to get people to bake, share, pause, reflect and be thankful for what we have:

        Seriously, no need to even respond to this. . but if you’d like to join just one Friday, please let me know. thank you!

  4. September 12, 2012 at 2:25 PM #

    Um, that looks so much tastier and healthier than the starbucks version! I must admit I love pumpkin and that I’m totally down with pumpkin pie, but pairing it with chocolate puts it through the roof!

    • September 12, 2012 at 6:08 PM #

      Aww thanks so much Somer!! I agree..chocolate makes everything BETTER! Ha! 🙂

      • September 12, 2012 at 9:41 PM #

        It’s the dang endorphins and antioxidants 😉 Can’t be beat! (or at least that’s my excuse)

  5. September 16, 2012 at 3:06 AM #

    Yay. It’s Fall, and that means it pumpkin time. I like this recipe. Looks great in the photo too!

  6. Tiffany Cockrell
    September 16, 2012 at 1:18 PM #

    Making this today for minnie me and hubbt!!

    • September 16, 2012 at 5:38 PM #

      Wonderful Tiff! I hope you love them..let me know and give me feedback later! Yay!

  7. Karol Abercrombie
    September 17, 2012 at 2:49 PM #

    Can you substitute the grapeseed oil for another one? Coconut oil maybe?

    • September 17, 2012 at 3:23 PM #

      Hi Karol-you can certainly try. Coconut oil is much heavier and concentrated than grapeseed so it might make the cakes more dense but it’s worth a shot. Try it out and let me know how it turns out! Thanks for your comment 🙂

  8. September 19, 2012 at 9:22 AM #

    They look so good!!

  9. petit4chocolatier
    September 20, 2012 at 10:05 AM #

    Another “WOW” recipe! This looks so good. I have bookmarked and am going to definitely make these. Triple yummy!!!

    • September 20, 2012 at 5:46 PM #

      Thank you so much Judy, I appreciate the compliment!! My friend made these for her husband and son and it won them over, when a kid approves it, I know I’ve won lol! They are the pickiest eaters on the planet! 🙂 I hope you enjoy it!

  10. Healthy Glow Nutrition
    September 20, 2012 at 1:06 PM #

    I love that loaf from Starbucks except for all the added ingredients that do not need to be in there. I need to try your recipe. I will try to substitute almond flour/coconut flour to make this gluten free. I will experiment and It I will let you know how it turns out. Great recipe, thank you!

    • September 20, 2012 at 5:49 PM #

      Wonderful! That’s a great idea, hopefully the coconut flour won’t make it too dense and they hold together, but I’d love to hear if they turn out! ! Thank you so much for the comment! 🙂

      • Healthy Glow Nutrition
        September 20, 2012 at 6:22 PM #

        Thank you! I will use very minimal coconut flour. I have many baking disasters before I learned how much liquid it can absorb. I’ll probably use 80% almond and 20% coconut. It is all about experimenting after all isn’t it? 🙂 I’ll share how it turns out when I bake it 🙂

      • September 20, 2012 at 7:07 PM #

        Absolutely, I’ve had my fair share of disasters lol! I have coconut flour too and if I remember, on the bag it says to use like a 1/5 to 1 cup ratio of flour, so it’s very minimal. I LOVE baking with almond flour, you just definitely have to combine it with another ingredient or it falls apart because of the lack of gluten…if the coconut and almond flour combo alone doesn’t work, you can try adding a little corn starch or arrowroot powder….or even potato starch. Have fun experimenting! 🙂

  11. September 20, 2012 at 5:49 PM #

    Looks divine Brandi!!! Can’t wait to try these. LOVE the new Gravatar btw. : ) So pretty!

    • September 20, 2012 at 5:56 PM #

      Awww thanks Lauren!! Hope you like them. They are my most popular recipe thus far…I guess because of Fall and them containing pumpkin. Thank you, I just had it lightened as a strawberry blondish color…was getting too many grays, LOL!! 🙂

  12. September 23, 2012 at 6:35 PM #

    I have made your stunning pumpkin spelt squares & they were superb!! Yummy yummy Yummy! xxx

    • September 23, 2012 at 7:09 PM #

      That’s wonderful Sophie!! So glad to hear that, I appreciate you trying so many of my recipes! 🙂

  13. September 26, 2012 at 6:49 PM #

    This looks sooooo delicious! Like you, I love the pumpkin flavor but not when it’s too much like in pumpkin pie. Can’t wait to try these out with a hot cup of tea one evening soon 🙂

    • September 26, 2012 at 11:12 PM #

      Oh wonderful Amanda! I hope you love it as much as me and my friends who’ve tried it do!! I just love them with some warm Chai tea and the squares slightly warm…mmmmmmm…. 🙂
      Thank you so much for your comment! 🙂

  14. Tiffany Cockrell
    September 28, 2012 at 7:50 PM #

    I luv luv luv these pumpkin squares! I have made them three or four time for friends&they luv these too!!! They are so most thick and soft. It can pass for a birthday cake that’s how good these are!!

    • September 29, 2012 at 6:28 AM #

      I am so happy to hear that Tiffany!! So glad everybody, including your son, loves them!! Thank you! 🙂

  15. September 30, 2012 at 6:45 PM #

    My daughter is going to absolutely love this blog of yours!!!

    • September 30, 2012 at 8:54 PM #

      Oh that’s wonderful!! Thank you so much for sharing it, she can join and receive all my recipes by email if she’d like. I really appreciate you sharing it!! 🙂

  16. October 2, 2012 at 2:33 PM #

    This looks soooo delicious! I love your use of whole grains and orange juice in this chocolately pumpkin recipe! I might have to try that combo soon!

    • October 2, 2012 at 4:41 PM #

      Thank you so much Erika! It really is so yummy and amazing warmed up with some hot coffee or tea! Enjoy! 🙂

  17. October 9, 2012 at 1:09 AM #

    love this !

  18. October 23, 2012 at 11:38 PM #

    I love the recipe but something occurred to me.I had heard that vegans do not use cane sugar because of the bone charcoal that is used in the processing.Do you know if that is true? I love meatless foods, but I have to admit to still being a bit of a hypocrite, meat-wise.There may be hope for me yet.

    • October 24, 2012 at 12:12 AM #

      Yes, that is true for regular white sugar you buy, but that’s why I listed organic evaporated cane juice. It is not processed to the degree of regular white sugar. It even says vegan on my bag 🙂 Same with the brown sugar. 🙂

      • October 24, 2012 at 12:26 AM #

        Here’s the link on it. If you type in vegan it tells you all the info on the process 🙂

  19. October 24, 2012 at 12:35 AM #

    Thanks for the info.I try to take all into consideration.I want to teach people how to understand and entertain people of differing sensitivities,(physical, religious, moral) on my blog. I try to include vegan alternatives to many recipes, as well.

    • October 24, 2012 at 6:22 AM #

      Absolutely, no problem! Yes, I understand. Whenever I entertain or have a party I have vegan and “regular” food too of course. I don’t expect people to only eat vegan just because I am. Luckily though, everybody who has eaten my vegan food and especially desserts have all loved them and requested them so I’ve gotten lucky lol! 🙂 My blog however is dedicated to my husband and I’s vegan lifestyle, it was a necessity for health reasons and a choice we are very happy with. People certainly don’t have to be vegan to enjoy the food though, thats for sure!

  20. October 24, 2012 at 3:09 PM #

    Oh, absolutely! I have more request for recipes of my vegan offerings than meat dishes whenever I have a buffet ,party , etc. I love it!

  21. October 31, 2012 at 1:47 AM #

    Thank you, Brandi~ this dessert is FaBuLoUs!!! My husband loves it as much as I do!!

    • October 31, 2012 at 3:07 AM #

      Oh, I’m so happy to hear that Susan!! Thank you so much for trying the recipe, I’m truly honored! Thanks a million 🙂

  22. kahht
    November 7, 2012 at 12:01 AM #

    Oh this looks so scrumptious! Great recipe.

  23. November 26, 2012 at 12:23 AM #

    Starbucks pastries are crazy! Love the idea of a healthier twist. Thanks for the inspiration.

  24. May 8, 2013 at 11:14 PM #

    These squares look incredible Brandi! Can’t believe that they can be this delicious and still reasonably healthy; yay!! Love your blog. You’re gorgeous x


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