Marion’s Crazy Good Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips

Let’s just say you need something to serve for a morning meeting or an afternoon snack. Or, maybe you need to come up with a contribution to a bake sale or a neighborhood party. Or, maybe you are looking for a healthy-ish dessert. This is your recipe!

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There is something about the way the earthy pumpkin purée in this bread absorbs the heat of the spices and the sweet taste of the chocolate and turns it into a decadent memory of all that is autumn. Bonus points to this bread for being dairy and nut free.


My cousin Marion first emailed me this recipe back in 2008 when I was looking for something to make for a school bake sale. It took me a year to make it because I couldn’t see pumpkin and chocolate tasting good together. When I finally tried it, I was blown away by the flavor. The spices subdued the sweet chocolate, and both did something crazy good to the pumpkin. The combination was brilliant. I started making her pumpkin bread every year for the school bake sale. It was so popular; it was placed on the school’s website where it remains all these years later. This recipe is so well-loved my cousin has to print copies for her customers to take home with them whenever she serves it at her Details and Goods trunk shows.

Yield: Makes 2 loaves, 1 bundt cake, or 18-24 muffins depending on size


Mise en Place:

1½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup canola oil
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
4 large eggs
1  15-ounce can pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350º

  1. Grease baking pans and lightly dust with flour. This recipe will fill one bundt pan, two loaf pans, 18 muffin tins, or six mini-loaf pans.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the sugar, oil, applesauce, and eggs on medium speed for two minutes.
  3. Add pumpkin purée and spices. Mix on medium speed for 30 seconds more. Use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as you mix.


4. Add flours, salt, and baking soda. Mix for 30 seconds on low speed just until dry ingredients are fully incorporated into the batter.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake on the middle rack of oven for 50-60 minutes. To test for doneness insert a knife into the center of the baking pan. If it comes out with orange residue on it, put back in the oven for another 10 minutes. If it comes out with just melted chocolate on the knife, then it is ready.

Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Next, run a knife around the edges of the pans to loosen the loaves. Turn the pans over onto the wire rack and shake the loaves out. Immediately flip them over, so they are right side up. Allow to cool for an hour before packaging.

A few baking notes:

If you don’t have applesauce, use 1 full cup of oil instead of half oil and half applesauce.

If you don’t have whole wheat flour, use 2 cups of all-purpose flour.

In case you’re wondering, a 15-ounce can is equal to 1¾ cups of pumpkin purée.

Marion, thanks for turning me on to this unlikely pairing of flavors! Marion thanks her friend, Marilyn who first introduced her to this recipe in the form of muffins as a crowd-pleasing snack after a high school lacrosse game.

Holding hands with my favorite cousin and first friend, Marion.

Other Nice Fall Desserts
Mom’s Apple Pie with a Cheddar Streusel Topping
Mom’s Pumpkin Pie
Mrs. Walker’s Cranberry Nut Pie
Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce and Whipped Cream
Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

Always check the website for the most current version of a recipe.

© 2014-2017 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. Photos and text may only be used with written consent.

24 thoughts on “Marion’s Crazy Good Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips

  1. This sounds delicious! But my favorite part is that sweet picture of you & Marion. From that twinkle in your eye I have to think you’ve always had a love of life & a life of love!

  2. More than often I make the recipe as muffins and have even made it as a cake !
    Also credit goes to Marilyn Chaney of the Milton Academy faculty who gave me this recipe after bringing the muffins to our daughters field hockey game as a post game snack!

  3. Have made recipe twice this week! Have 4 loaves in freezer for future fall weekend visitors. Easy, flavorful, delicious recipe. My guests and I thank you for the inspiration!

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