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Yeasted Chocolate Coffee Cake

Inspired by the Danish pastry of Northern Europe, the tender loaf is full of cinnamon and melted bittersweet chocolate.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Serves 10 to 12
Yeasted Chocolate Coffee Cake

Source: Martha Stewart Living, March 2011


  • For the cake:
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (one 1/4-ounce envelope) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons plus a pinch of granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup warm milk (110 degrees)
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for bowl, pan, and parchment
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon heavy cream, for egg wash
  • For the filling:
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (1 1/4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • For the crumb topping:
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature


  1. Make the cake: Sprinkle yeast and a pinch of granulated sugar over milk in a medium bowl. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

  2. Whisk together remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, the egg, and yolk. Whisk into yeast mixture.

  3. Combine flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a mixer. Add egg mixture. Beat on low speed until almost fully combined, about 30 seconds. Switch to the dough-hook attachment. Add butter. Beat until smooth, soft, and slightly sticky, about 10 minutes.

  4. Butter a large bowl. Turn out dough onto a floured surface; knead a few times until smooth. Place in bowl, turn to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

  5. Make the filling: Combine chocolate, granulated sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers until combined.

  6. Punch down dough. Transfer to a floured work surface. Let stand for 5 minutes. Roll out to an 18-inch square (about 1/8 inch thick). Brush edges with egg wash. Spread filling over dough, reserving 1/2 cup and leaving a 1-inch border. Tightly roll dough like a jelly roll. Pinch seam to seal, and fold in half to bring ends together to form a U. Twist 2 or 3 times to "braid." Butter a 5-by-10-inch loaf pan, and line with parchment, leaving 1-inch overhangs; butter parchment. Transfer dough to pan. Brush top with egg wash.

  7. Make the crumb topping: Combine confectioners' sugar, flour, and butter. Sprinkle topping and reserved 1/2 cup filling over cake.

  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drape plastic wrap over dough. Let stand in a warm place until risen by half, 20 to 30 minutes.

  9. Remove plastic wrap, and bake, rotating halfway through, until golden, about 55 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake until deeply golden, 15 to 20 minutes more (cover with foil if top gets too dark). Transfer pan to a wire rack. Let cake cool.

Cook's Note

Coffee cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Reviews (22)

  • Yoginicr 11 Jan, 2015

    This recipe is a keeper! Thank you Martha and company! The only change that I made to the recipe was that I used Earth Balance in the topping (as opposed to the butter); this small fat cutting move still made a delicious bread.

  • Marry Liu 28 Mar, 2014

    Found this to be pretty easy to make. Though it did take some time to make it since I don't have a stand mixer. Everything had to be handmade. I'm not a big fan of bittersweet chocolate, instead I used semi-sweet chocolate morsels in place of the bittersweet chocolate. It was a great hit with my mother, since she's really picky with baked goods.

  • brianNNJ 1 Apr, 2012

    This Easter cake looks great! This year I'm taking a breather and getting my Easter Dessert from They offer many different types of cakes, my favorite being pumpkin. My kids enjoyed the cake so much at our last family gathering, I wouldn't think about NOT having another new jersey style crumb cake around for Easter! Jennifer does an incredible job baking and her cakes are definitely worth trying! You nor your family will be disappointed!

  • Mybobba 17 Jan, 2012

    I just made this and it is gorgeous ! I did not have a 10inch pan so baked it in two smaller pans. More than enough. I used a can of almond paste in the filling too and it is sooo tasty. And beautiful. Will make again. Really like a babka.

  • dmcosenza 23 Nov, 2011

    I have used semi-sweet chocolate morsels and blitzed the chocolate mixture in a food processor and it worked out perfectly. This is probably the most beautiful coffee cake I have ever made!

  • Orca7684 16 Nov, 2011

    Using Ghirardellie 60% coca bars works well, and lowering the temperature to 325 degrees at after 15 minutes works well for melting the chocolate. I used much more cinnamon than the recipe called for and added raisins to give a sweet, flavor along with a bit of texture.
    Also, the crumble top says to use room temperature butter.
    Use cold butter to give you the crumbly top. If you use room temp. butter, the topping will be more of a buttery paste. Delicious bread, though!

  • rizbing 30 Oct, 2011

    I made this and it came out beautifully. It looked almost like the picture. But next time I will use a sweeter chocolate. The rest of my family thought it was delicious but the bittersweet chocolate just wasn't sweet enough for me. The bread dough was delicious.

  • fibromarie 25 Oct, 2011

    OK, so I must be the only person who had a problem with this delicious cake! I used Baker's Bittersweet chocolate and it didn not really melt! it tasted just fine, but looked strange. Just what kind of chocolate did the rest of you use? Thanks!

  • kdroste 29 Jul, 2011

    this recipe is really good, I'm going to try it with cinnamon & raisins next.

  • JGreer 22 Mar, 2011

    The chocolate mix was sinfully good. The chocolate was still melty-like after cooling 3 hours, perfect for dessert time. I loved the delicate texture of the dough. This came out looking just like the picture, the recipe was very easy to follow. My husbands aunt was quite impressed. A keeper!

  • CZaker 20 Mar, 2011

    I seen this on the show and I had to make it. I did and my family loved it! I enjoyed making it.. what a great recipe.

  • lmferragut 17 Mar, 2011

    This came out a picture of beauty! It is a really simple and delightful recipe. Everyone loved the subtle warmth of the cinnamon with the chocolate. Whats wonderful is the twisted dark swirls of chocolate and the soft but not-too-sweet bread. Perfect!

  • jdevine 15 Mar, 2011

    This is an excellent dish. I made a lot of mistakes by not reading the recipe ist and it still came out great. I too am going to try this dough as a savory. There's so much favor it the dough. I am going to make this again and follow the recipe.

    You can grate or chop the chocolate.

  • marlenu 14 Mar, 2011

    For the filling you should melt a chocolate or grate or what?

  • ladyr74 12 Mar, 2011

    This is like a slice of HEAVEN !!! I used a bit less sugar ( I like barely sweet desserts) it has such a great texture and as mentioned by mkriebel I felt it was cooking too long next time I will reduce the time by 5 mins .. try this you love it !!

    I will try cin/sugar and some type of cheese or pizza mixture in the future as I could imagine that this dough would be wonderful savory .

  • ladyr74 12 Mar, 2011

    This is like a slice of HEAVEN !!! I used a bit less sugar ( I like barely sweet desserts) it has such a great texture and as mentioned by mkriebel I felt it was cooking too long next time I will reduce the time by 5 mins .. try this you love it !!

    I will try cin/sugar and some type of cheese or pizza mixture in the future as I could imagine that this dough would be wonderful savory .

  • mkriebel 10 Mar, 2011

    This is a big hit with me and my co-workers today! Turned out perfectly, though I think I over cooked it as it was a little dry even at 60 mins. I added a dash of cracked pepper and a 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper to give it a little kick, which seemed to be the right porportion. It has a little tiny spicy bite to it.

  • frenchdaisy 9 Mar, 2011

    Isn't this just like a Babka?

  • laharrison1269 8 Mar, 2011

    This cake is delicious! I didn't use the chocolate and just made a cinnamon sugar one, but it was still awesome! I also didn't have a big bread pan so I cut the dough in half, twisted it some and put in a smaller bread pan, cooked for 40-45 minutes until brown on top and sounded hollow. It turned out great. I would make this again. It takes some time for the bread to proof, but worth it. Next time I may add some glaze on top.

  • dmcosenza 5 Mar, 2011

    This cake is so easy, so delicious, and looks as though it was bought from a high-end bakery! This is my new go-to!

  • jcap65 5 Mar, 2011

    Awesome! Just made it - love it. I really don't have a lot of experience baking with yeast but this was easy and came out Perfect!

  • Thewhitebunch 3 Mar, 2011

    Amazing recipe! Worked perfectly as written. Rich and decadent!

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