As much as I love the tropical climate I grew up in, living here has made me feel a different kind of appreciation for nature and the changes each season brings. Even the food is seasonal -- autumn brings to mind pumpkin and warming spices such as cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg.
Chocolate, of course, is an all-season thing. So here's a recipe that gives chocolate an autumn spin:
Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cake
This is my "veganized" version, adapted from The Bittersweet World of Chocolate: Supporting Fair Trade
3/4 cup non-dairy, non-hydrogenated margarine (Earth Balance is great for this)
1 cup turbinado sugar
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
egg replacer, equivalent of 2 eggs (I use Ener-G egg replacer; follow instructions on box)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (great for added fiber!) or unbleached flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup grain-sweetened carob chips (you can also use semisweet chocolate chips if you're ok with dairy ingredients)
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a loaf pan, or line with unbleached parchment paper.
2. Melt the margarine gently in a pan. Remove from heat.
3. Mix in the sugar, pumpkin, vanilla, and egg replacer. Sift in the baking powder and baking soda gradually, stirring to prevent lumps.
4. Stir in the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Sift in the flour and cocoa; mix well. Then fold in the nuts and carob (or chocolate) chips.
5. Pour into the prepared pan. Smooth the top and bake for 45 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, and then invert into a plate. Allow to cool on the rack.