A Taste of Venice, CA: Kabocha, Olive Oil, and Chocolate Loaf

Kabocha Olive Oil Chocolate Loaf

I fell in love with this recipe the first time I tried it. Funnily enough, I came across it on Baked NYC’s food blog, Baking Society, not from the Los Angeles restaurant/cookbook, Gjelina, the recipe is originally from.

Kabocha Olive Oil Chocolate Loaf BatterThe use of olive oil instead of canola oil or butter gives this loaf a more complex flavour, especially when paired with the Kabocha squash. Olive oil naturally speaks to my Greek heritage – show me a recipe with it and I’m immediately interested. That, and tahini (tahini shortbread sandwich cookies, anyone?).

The addition of chocolate in this loaf is super delicious, but also not 100% necessary. I would recommend trying it both with chocolate and without and see which option you prefer! 

Kabocha Squash, Olive Oil, and Bittersweet Chocolate Cake

Recipe adapted from  Gjelina Cookbook via Baking Society

Yield: One 8×4” or 9×5” loaf

Notes: You will need ample time for the recipe, as the squash need to be baked, cooled, and strained before using.

Loaf Ingredients:


  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt


  • 1 cup kabocha squash purée (made from one 1-lb piece of squash)
  • 1 cup plus 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ⅓ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 heaping cup semisweet chocolate chips or 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 2 Tbsp hot water
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp seeds of your choice! I used sunflower and poppy


Squash Directions:

I often do this a day or two in advance and store it in the fridge until needed. It should keep for five or so days.

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Cut squash in half, scoop out guts and seeds, and rub the cut-side lightly with olive oil.
  3. Place cut-side onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Roast in the oven until the squash is very soft. I normally test this by poking it with a knife: if it slides in easily, you’re good to go! If there’s a fair bit of resistance, give it a bit longer. This normally takes about 40-45 minutes in my oven.
  5. Let cool, then scoop out all the flesh and purée it in a food processor.
  6. (optional) Wrap puréed squash tightly in a piece of cheesecloth, then place in a collander over a bowl to drain any excess water. Allow to drain for 4 hours. Measure 1 cup from drained squash for the recipe, and get creative with the rest! (I listed this step as optional because after baking this loaf multiple times, I did not find it to noticeably affect the final result).


Loaf Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Butter or grease an 8×4” or 9×5” pan. (The original recipe called for a 9×5”, but I used an 8×4” with great results). Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and also butter/grease it.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, olive oil, squash purée, and eggs.
  5. Whisk the squash mixture into the dry mixture.
  6. Stir in the chocolate.
  7. Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake until browned and a toothpick comes out clean, about 75 to 90 minutes (mine took 85). Rotate loaf 180° about halfway through baking.
  8. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan and let cool completely.


Glaze Directions:

  1. In a small to medium bowl, whisk together confectioners sugar and hot water.
  2. Slowly whisk in 2 Tbsp of olive oil.
  3. If too thick, add additional hot water 1 tsp at a time. If too thin, add additional confectioners sugar 1 Tbsp at a time.
  4. Pour the glaze over the cake, spreading it around with a knife or offset spatula if too thick. Allow some glaze to drip over the sides of the loaf.
  5. Sprinkle the glaze with the seeds of your choice! For extra flavour, toast sunflower or pumpkin seeds in a pan over medium heat for a few minutes before sprinkling over the loaf.
  6. If you aren’t too tempted to eat it right away, allow to set for about an hour before serving. The loaf will keep in the fridge for up to five days.

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