Chocolate Pepitoria Cake

Choc Pumpkin Cake - Slice

I dedicate this post to Ellen, my celiac-stricken friend.

I saw this recipe on Whole Life Nutrition and had to make it right away. It contains an ingredient that has quickly become a favorite since moving to Guatemala, and I find any excuse to add to my meals, salads, and now desserts! This ingredient I speak of is pepita, or pumpkin seeds. It was used in a way I had never seen it before…as a replacement for wheat flour. First of all, I have rarely seen the seeds used in the U.S., especially not in their powdered form (known as pepitoria in Guatemala, and used to season fruits, to make stews, and even prepared as a juice); and I certainly had never heard of it being used for baking in place of flour. Can you imagine my excitement?!

Choc Pumpkin Cake - PepitasChoc Pumpkin Cake - Flour

I love the nutty flavor of pepita, but besides that, they are very nutritious — packed with omega-3 fatty acids and protein. And although it is good for you it has a substantial amount of fat and calories, much more than your average flour. So as a flour replacement it is quite heavy. However, I decided to give this recipe a try because it contains pretty much all good stuff: pumpkin seeds, coconut milk in place of much of the oil, and honey in place of much of the sugar.

Because the recipe doesn’t have flour, arrowroot is added to allow the same binding process to occur. At least that is how I understood it. I could not find arrowroot anywhere in Guatemala, even after asking my agricultural engineer suegro who knows everything there is to know about things that come from the earth. I researched some replacements and found that cornstarch, which is much less nutritious, might work as an alternative. So I used that. I also skimped a little on the oil, but I’m not sure that was a good idea.

So how did it turn out? To be honest, something went wrong with this batch. IMG_3158I’m not sure if it was because I did not use arrowroot, or because I skimped on the oil, both, or perhaps I’m just not a knowledgeable baker. It could be any of those things. The first cake I baked overflowed…oops (When making a full batch of something I have to make two small cakes because I use a toaster oven). I just filled the pan a little too full. And it was also deflated looking. I attributed the deflation in the first batch to the spilling over, but I’m not sure that was correct, because the second batch deflated as well. Sad…

But, despite its appearance, it tastes great! I love the nutty-chocolate flavor, and the cake was very moist. After tasting a piece from the first over-flowed batch, I decided to add a bit more sugar. It was delicious, but not all that sweet for what I was anticipating.  The recipe below contains that adjustment, however keep total sugar/honey to 2/3 a cup if you want to try the original recipe. Finally, the coconut milk was a genius addition. You can feel it in flavor and in the moist texture.

If this combination of ingredients intrigues you, I suggest give it a try. I really would recommend using arrowroot if you can find it. Try natural food stores, or whole foods, or even traditional grocers are getting fancy these days to compete.

Chocolate Pepitoria Cake

2 cups ground toasted pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup coco powder
1/4 cup arrowroot powder (I used cornstarch)
1.5 teaspoons baking soda
.25 teaspoons salt
1 cup coconut milk
3 eggs
2/3 cup honey
3 tablespoon natural cane sugar or brown sugar
1/4 cup butter or coconut oil

1. If you don’t have pumpkin seed flour, you can make your own. For two cups flour, toast 8 oz pumpkin seeds until they pop, about 3-4 minutes. Let them cool, and grind them in a coffee grinder.
2. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, set aside.
3. Whisk together the wet ingredients, and then pour them into the dry ingredients whisking vigorously or use a hand mixer/blender.
4. Bake in deep dish cake pan, at least 9×9, at 350ºF for about 35-40 minutes, checking occationally. You don’t want it to spill over, now do you?


One Response

  1. Thanks SaritaHunter– my globe trotting friend– or at least my western hemisphere globe trotting friend. I may try this though you know me and baking!


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