I came so close to calling this a cake. It's more cake-like than brownie you see. But the recipe that inspired mine came from none other than Martha Stewart, and she called it a brownie. So who am to argue?
That being said though people, go into making this expecting to eat cake. Sure, the pockets of chocolate mixture are brownie-like in their dense nature and intense chocolate flavour. But half of the mixture gets turned into a lovely spiced pumpkin cake, which is then swirled through in alternating layers, resulting in... well, brownie cake?
This is not a bad thing mind you. Chocolate, spice, pumpkin and hazelnuts can never be a bad thing. Trust me.
Pumpkin puree is something I always have on hand. Not in the canned form mind you. We don't have that down in these parts of the world, and to be honest I'm not sure I'd buy it even if it was on offer. Instead whenever I have a pumpkin hanging about, I roast or steam a heap of it. Puree it in the processor, portion it into 1 cup measurements and freeze in small containers or pressed flat in zip-lock plastic bags. It can easily be defrosted overnight in the fridge. Or if like me you forget to plan ahead more often than not, it can be gently warmed in a pot over low heat until defrosted, then cooled before using.
I've found this 'brownie-cake' is quite nice eaten cold, but even better if left to chill and firm up in the fridge overnight. Serve in small slices as is or cut into squares and serve as cake with softly whipped cream, if tolerated.
If you find yourself with left over pumpkin puree and are keen to bake some more. Check out these two recipes from the archives that use roasted pumpkin puree. Steamed would work just fine too.
- Little pumpkin cakes with caramel cream cheese icing (gluten-free w/ dairy-free options)
- Brown butter spice cake (gluten-free w/ dairy-free options)
P.s Thank you all for your well-wishes. My bite has healed beautifully! I don't want to ever go through that again... so it's back to checking the sheets for spiders before bed every night.
spiced pumpkin chocolate brownie
I made this using homemade ghee, which is naturally lactose-free. But if you prefer you can use butter or natural dairy-free margarine. I haven't tried it yet, but I imagine virgin coconut oil would be beautiful in place of the rice bran or olive oil, just warm it enough to be liquid if using. And if you are feeling rich, you could always use coconut oil in place of both the ghee and the rice bran oil in this recipe. If you have hazelnut meal, this would be lovely in place of the almond meal. I like to use Whittaker's 72% Dark Ghana chocolate, which is dairy-free.
makes 15 generous slices
- 120g (8 tablespoons) ghee or butter if tolerated
- 170g dark chocolate (dairy-free)
- 1 cup (120g) fine brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup (60g) quinoa flour
- 1/2 cup (55g) almond meal (ground almonds)
- 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups (300g) organic raw sugar
- 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree*
- 1/4 cup (60ml) rice bran oil or olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/3 cup roughly chopped hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 180 C/350 F. Grease a 18x28cm slice tin or 23cm (9 inch) round cake tin. Line the base with baking paper.
Place ghee (or butter) and chocolate into a small pan, heat gently over medium heat, stirring constantly until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
Sieve flours, almond meal, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Tipping any bits of almond meal that won't got through the sieve. Whisk flours to thoroughly incorporate. Set aside.
Place eggs, vanilla and sugar into a large bowl and whisk with hand-held electric mixer until thick and creamy. Whisk in flour mixture. Divide mixture between two medium bowls. Stir chocolate mixture into one bowl. And add pumpkin, oil, cinnamon and nutmeg to the other bowl. Pour half the chocolate mixture into the greased slice tin, smooth off top with a spoon or spatula then top with half of the pumpkin mixture. Repeat with remaining chocolate and pumpkin mixtures. Using a small knife, swirl the two batters together to create a marbled effect. Sprinkle the top with chopped hazelnuts. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until set and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of it. Remove from the oven and cool in the tin. You can eat at room temperature, or if preferred chill in the fridge for a few hours before cutting into squares.
* To make pumpkin puree, steam chunks of peeled pumpkin until tender. Puree in food processor until smooth and use straight away or freeze in portions for later use.
Inspired by this Martha Stewart recipe.