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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:
  • Servings: 12
  • Yield: Makes one 5-by-10-inch 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 Notes

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

Reviews Add a comment

  • 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!