Vegan Chocolate Pumpkin Babka

Did you know that in the UK alone 8 million pumpkins are thrown away after Halloween? If they are not collected by the local council (which nearly half of UK councils stopped doing nowadays) and sent to an anaerobic biodigester, they will end up in landfill, where they are left to rot and release methane gas, a potent greenhouse gas (GHG).

So loads of pumpkins are being grown using land, fertilisers and pesticides (which, by the way, also cause GHG emissions as well as eutrophication and freshwater use) only to go uneaten and thrown away! Carving pumpkin is fun but it would be even more fun when it is eaten!

We love chocolate (who doesn’t!) and try to eat it in moderation. Not only is it unhealthy when eaten in excess but believe it or not, it is also has a very high carbon footprint. Producing 1kg of dark chocolate involves emitting 19kg of carbondioxide, which is very similar to the carbon footprint of managing cows for dairy production. This is because it requires a large area of land to cultivate the cacao tree (to produce 1kg of dark chocolate requires just under 70 square metres of land, which is big!).

Some scientists predict in 50 year’s time, chocolate will become so scarce that it will be considered the same as caviar! For everyone to continue enjoying chocolate we must do everything possible to help save the planet by reducing carbon emissions and stop the destruction of the environment through pollution including plastics.


Queensland blue

Starchy pumpkins are not just yummy but make the best moist and soft bread dough (see my Vegan Japanese Milk Bread and Purple Potato Loaf to see why including such extra starch makes such moist bread).

Last year I did a lot of research to make sure that I can grow (and eat) hearty starchy pumpkins this season. Queensland Blue is an Australian winter squash with ribbed and beautiful blue-coloured skin. Each fruit weighs between 3-5kg and stores well after harvesting. The flesh is bright orange, sweet and starchy – the best candidate for this recipe.

If you don’t have this particular variety, then any squash would do (or even sweet potato!).


Vegan chocolate

Plamil baking chocolate drops are currently the only chocolate we have at home. It works really well as baking chocolate – also as a cheeky snack on its own. Plamil is a vegan company and I love the fact that their catering pack now comes in a paper bag instead of plastic. So I don’t have to worry about plastic pollution.

Pumpkins are fantastic because they can be cooked either sweet or savoury. They are technically a type of squash, usually with orange and yellow flesh having a stiff and spiky stem.

There is no better time than autumn to eat pumpkin. This time of year is all about enjoying comfort foods and this is my contribution to a beautiful autumn season!




1lb cake tin
Rolling pin
Small food processor such as this one (optional)
Baking sheet
Dough scraper and cutter (optional)

For the dough

150g water
100g cooked pumpkin (I steamed my Queensland Blue pumpkin but any pumpkin will do the job)
2.5g dry yeast (I use Lallemand Dry Baker’s yeast)
260g strong white flour (I used Shipton Mill Finest Bakers White Bread Flour No.1 101)
4g salt

For the chocolate spread

70g vegan chocolate (I used Plamil Vegan Baking Chocolate Drops)
2tbsp sunflower oil
2tbsp plant-based milk (I used Oat milk)


Prepare the dough

Add yeast into the water.
Into the yeast-water mix, add cooked pumpkin.
Using a food processor (I use a small food mixer but you can just mush it evenly if you don’t have a machine), completely mix the yeasty water and cooked pumpkin.
Put the pumpkin liquid into a mixing bowl.
Add the strong flour.
Using the dough hook, mix the dough at low speed for 1 min.
Add salt
Using the dough hook, mix the dough at medium speed for 2 min.
Dust the surface with flour and shape the dough into a ball.
Place the dough with the seam-side down into the slightly olive-oil greased bowl. Cover and proof until the size nearly doubles.
Dust the surface with flour and shape the dough into a ball.
Place the dough with the seam-side down into the bowl. Cover and proof until the size becomes almost 1.5 times.

Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate

Place the chocolate into a dry bowl and float on hot water (bain marie).
Add sunflower oil and plant-based milk
Gently mix the chocolate evenly


Dust the surface, flatten the dough to degas.
Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to approx. 5cm wider at either edge of the baking tin. Length wise, it should be approx. 30cm.
Spread the chocolate sauce evenly.
Roll the dough from the opposite end carefully.
Cut the rolled dough into half along the long side.
Carefully braid the 2 pieces like a rope.
Place the babka into the baking tin (I find it easier to transfer babka if you put on a baking sheet first).
Cover the final proof.

Preheat the oven to 200C (fan 180C / 400F / gas 6).


When the babka is about an inch above the rim of the baking tin it is time to bake.
Bake for 35 min or until the colour is a beautiful golden brown on top.
Let the bread cool for 5 min so that you can handle better.
Take the bread out from the tin and cool the bread.

Slice and take a big bite with a nice cup of cappuccino!