We’re nearing the end of October which means it’s prime time for all things pumpkin spice. The oh-so-versatile vegetable seems to take over the baking landscape come fall (or earlier for people who really love their PSLs). And while I do enjoy a good pumpkin something or other in autumn, I don’t necessarily want it in every single thing all the time. I want a more curated pumpkin experience in the fall – a cozy bowl of creamy pumpkin soup, some simple but delightful pumpkin packed candy, and definitely a good slice of pumpkin bread. And, this healthy Marbled Chocolate Pumpkin Bread is truly a worthwhile pumpkin experience, even if you (like me) may not be pumpkin-obsessed.
This better-for-you pumpkin bread is a swirly heaven of pumpkin and chocolate-pumpkin bread joined together in one looker of a loaf. It’s actually incredibly easy to make and just a bit more impressive than your standard pumpkin bread. The loaf is just sweet enough to be considered a good breakfast or snack and not so overladen with sugar it crosses into the dessert category. The texture is perfectly soft and moist yet light and complemented by a satisfyingly chewy crust. To achieve a good pumpkin flavor this loaf is packed with one whole cup of pumpkin puree. And, as any pumpkin baked good would not be nearly as delicious without the spices, there is ample pumpkin pie spice to really fill each bite with those autumnal vibes so often associated with pumpkin (pie spice).
And truly, this recipe could not be easier to make. I love a good recipe that’s super simple to execute but looks impressive and this fancied-up pumpkin bread is just that. A simple batter is made, then split into two bowls, one gets hit with some cocoa powder and the other some additional tapioca flour to give each flavor a similar texture. Then scooped, alternating between pumpkin and chocolate, into a loaf pan, quickly swirled with a knife, and viola! ready for the oven. This Marbled Chocolate Pumpkin Bread is made with simple, real ingredients and free from any refined flours, sugar, and oils. Here’s a quick run-down of the main ingredients used in this recipe:
Coconut Sugar – My favorite granular sweetener for healthier baking and keeping treats refined sugar free. I use and love Nutiva’s organic coconut sugar and have found this pack of 3 to be the most reasonably priced for good quality product without having to worry about an extra large package.
Avocado Oil – The avocado oil gives a wonderful lightness and moisture to this loaf. It’s an incredibly neutral flavor so doesn’t interfere with the pumpkin puree or the pumpkin spice. Any good quality avocado oil will do, I use and love Chosen Foods avocado oil, which you can (likely) snag at your local Costco for the best pricing. However, if you prefer, you can sub the avocado oil with olive oil or melted and cooled coconut oil.
Pumpkin Puree – As this is a pumpkin bread, the base is, unsurprisingly, pumpkin puree. Be sure to buy pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling, which has added sweeteners and spices. You can easily make your own puree if you can’t find canned pumpkin near you. Just bake a pumpkin until soft and blend in a food processor until creamy. Here’s a good tutorial.
Almond Flour & Tapioca Flour – The base flours for this recipe, these two flours make a wonderful blend that yields a light but moist texture, while keeping it gluten/grain free and paleo-friendly. I use and love Bob’s Red Mill products. For best pricing on these, check out Thrive Market.
Cocoa Powder – Be sure to use unsweetened cocoa powder, not cocoa mix or cacao powder – these are both completely different from cocoa powder and will affect the outcome of the recipe greatly. I recently used the Organic Cocoa Powder from Whole Food’s 365 brand and found it to be of excellent quality at a great price. Some other great brands of cocoa powder are Equal Exchange’s Baking Cocoa or Guittard’s Cocoa Powder (which is what I used in this recipe).
This Marbled Chocolate Pumpkin Bread is made better-for-you by using real, simple ingredients and is incredibly delicious! It’s paleo-friendly, meaning it’s gluten/grain/dairy free and refined sugar free. It’s perfect on it’s own as a sweet breakfast or snack on-the-go, toasted up and slathered with ghee or a nut/seed butter, cut up and added to a hearty yogurt bowl, or as an accompaniment to your favorite warm beverage. Any way you have it, this is sure to satisfy all your pumpkin spice dreams and make you feel like you’re taking a bite out of fall.
If you make this recipe, please leave a review or rating down below. And I’d LOVE to see your creation! Please tag me on Instagram @freshlydafna and use #freshlydafna.
Marbled Chocolate Pumpkin Bread (paleo)
A super easy but impressive looking swirly chocolate and pumpkin bread made better-for-you. This loaf is just perfectly sweet, light, fluffy and moist! Packed with lots of pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice to satisfy all your fall cravings.
paleo friendly (gluten/grain/dairy free), refined sugar free
- 2 cups almond flour (191 grams)
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour (30 grams)
- 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (6 grams)
- 1 tsp cinnamon (3 grams)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder (7 grams)
- 1/4 tsp baking soda (1 gram)
- 1/2 tsp salt (2 grams)
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (228 grams) not pumpkin pie filling
- 1 cup coconut sugar (141 grams)
- 1/4 cup avocado oil (61 grams) sub for olive oil or melted and cooled coconut oil
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla (4 grams)
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder (23 grams)
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour (30 grams)
Heat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a loaf pan by lining with parchment paper or greasing with additional oil.
In a medium bowl whisk together the dry ingredients until fully incorporated and no lumps remain, set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large bowl if mixing by hand, beat together all the wet ingredients until thick and slightly bubbly.
Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients (keeping the empty bowl handy) and blend together until just fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl once during mixing.
In the medium bowl add 1/4 cup of cocoa powder and whisk with a fork or wire whisk to remove any lumps. Pour half of the batter to the bowl with the cocoa powder, retaining the other half of the batter in the large bowl, and gently stir until the cocoa powder is fully incorporated, set aside.
Add 1/4 cup tapioca to the remaining half of the pumpkin batter and stir until fully incorporated.
Scoop the dough into the prepared loaf pans in two rows, alternating between the chocolate and pumpkin batter, with three scoops in each row. There should be six alternating scoops of chocolate and pumpkin filling the bottom of the loaf pan.
Create the second layer by adding alternating scoops of chocolate and pumpkin on top of the bottom layer and alternate again to create a third layer.
Using a sharp knife create the swirl by making two figure eights in the batter.
After the loaf pan has been filled and swirled, gently rock the pan back and forth to create an even layer of batter.
Bake in the middle of the center rack of the oven for 58 minutes to 1 hr. The top of the loaf should be slightly browned and springy to the touch.
Let cool in loaf pan for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, slice and enjoy!
This loaf will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for 1-2 days. Afterwards, slice and freeze any uneaten portions.
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