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Chocolate Swirl Coffee Cake

This Chocolate Swirl Coffee Cake combines moist vanilla and chocolate cake batters into an artful swirl, then tops them off with an irresistible buttery cinnamon crumb topping.

Slice of chocolate swirl coffee cake on plate

Moist Marbled Coffee Cake With Streusel

Coffee cake can be a little ho-hum (it’s okay, we can admit that), with a tendency for a dry, albeit serviceable cake layer. This recipe is different, though! Like my Blueberry Coffee Cake, it’s made with yogurt and a lot of butter, which means you get a cake with a moist, tender crumb. And as if that’s not enough, there’s that chocolate swirl—which, I should note, is made with melted chocolate, not cocoa powder, for extra richness.

Of course, the thing that makes a coffee cake a coffee cake is the crumb topping, and we don’t skimp there either! Each bite has the perfect crumb-to-cake ratio, and the cinnamon in the crumb layer really makes the chocolate in this recipe sing.

Whether you’re looking for a special breakfast recipe or something to make for a book club get-together, this coffee cake will be a winner.

Overhead view of Chocolate Swirl Coffee Cake ingredients

What You’ll Need

If you bake often, you probably have most of these ingredients in your pantry already. 

For the crumb topping:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Light brown sugar – You can substitute dark brown sugar if that’s what you have on hand, but it has a more pronounced molasses flavor.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Unsalted butter 

For the coffee cake:

  • All-purpose flour – Measure by weight for best results. If you don’t have a scale, then always spoon and sweep.
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt 
  • Unsalted butter – Soften the butter by leaving it on the countertop for 30 to 45 minutes before you start the recipe.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Eggs – Take the eggs out of the fridge at the same time as the butter.
  • Vanilla extract 
  • Greek yogurt – Use plain Greek yogurt; I recommend the kind made with whole milk.
  • Dark chocolate – Read my tips for choosing chocolate and melting it in this post: Tips for Baking Brownies from Scratch

Can I Use Sour Cream Instead of Greek Yogurt?

Yes, if you would prefer to make a sour cream coffee cake you can use an equal amount of sour cream instead of Greek yogurt. You will still get a tender crumb cake!

Overhead view of coffee cake slices on plate with spoon

How to Make Chocolate Swirl Coffee Cake

Start by making the topping, then make the cake batter. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

For the crumb topping: 

Overhead view of dry crumb topping ingredients in bowl

Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, brown and granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. 

Add the butter. Pour in the melted butter and stir until the mixture is well-combined and forms crumbs. Set aside.

For the cake: 

Prepare. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9-inch round baking pan with butter or non-stick spray. 

Overhead view of dry coffee cake ingredients in glass mixing bowl

Combine dry ingredients. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 

Cream the butter, sugar, and eggs. Use an electric mixer on medium speed to beat the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Beat in one egg at a time, followed by the vanilla.

Finish the batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in three portions, alternating with two portions of the yogurt. 

Add the chocolate. Scoop out 1 cup of the batter and place it in a small bowl with the melted chocolate. Stir to combine.

Assemble. Scrape the vanilla batter into the prepared pan, using a rubber spatula to spread it evenly. Add the chocolate batter on top and use a butter knife to make elegant swirls for a marbled effect. Sprinkle the topping mixture over the batter.

Overhead view of coffee cake in springform pan

Bake. Place the cake in the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

Cool. Place the cake in the pan on a cooling rack; cool completely before serving.

Coffee cake on plate with two slices removed to show inside

Tips for Success

Here are some tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way while making this crumb cake recipe:

  • Mixing the chocolate batter. To save yourself from having to wash another bowl, you can measure out 1 cup of the batter, pour the vanilla batter into the cake pan, then return the reserved batter to the empty bowl and stir in the melted chocolate.
  • Don’t over-swirl. If you swirl too much, you’ll end up with a muddy-colored cake instead of getting a marbled look!
  • Make it your own. You can add chopped walnuts or pecans to the topping if you like, add a pinch of cardamom to the crumble, or make the coffee cake in a square pan instead of round (note that this may alter the baking time a bit, so keep an eye on your cake as it bakes).
Overhead view of two plates of coffee cake with spoons, with remaining coffee cake in background

How to Store Chocolate Swirl Coffee Cake

  • Counter: Let your cake cool to room temperature, then wrap in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. I also like using cake stands with a glass lid. The cake can be stored on the counter for 2-3 days.
  • Refrigerator: This cake can be stored in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Let the cake cool and then wrap it in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container. When you are ready to enjoy some cake, I recommend letting your slice sit on the counter at room temperature for a bit before digging in, which helps bring out that buttery flavor.
  • Freezer: You can freeze this coffee cake in slices by wrapping each piece in plastic wrap and freezing for up to 3 months. Let it sit on the countertop for about an hour to come to room temperature before enjoying.
Half-eaten slice of chocolate swirl coffee cake on plate with spoon

Chocolate Swirl Coffee Cake

Yield 10–12 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes 40 seconds
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes 40 seconds

This chocolate swirl coffee cake is so rich and decadent, perfect for any time of the day. The sweet and moist cake batter combined with the creamy dark chocolate batter is utterly delicious. Add a buttery crumb on top and this combo is your coffee's next best friend! 

Half-eaten slice of chocolate swirl coffee cake on plate with spoon

Ingredients

For the crumb topping:

  • 1 cup (120g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (50g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, melted

For the coffee cake:

  • 1 & 1/4 cups (150g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup (150g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup (85g) dark chocolate, melted

Instructions

For the crumb topping:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, brown and granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. Add the melted butter and mix until the mixture is thoroughly combined and forms crumbs.
  3. Set aside while you prepare the cake (The mixture will become more crumbly as it sits).

For the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9-inch round baking pan.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until combined. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and mix well.
  4. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in three portions, alternating with two portions of the yogurt. Mix until combined.
  5. Take 1 cup of the batter and place it in a small bowl along with the melted chocolate. Mix well until combined.
  6. Transfer the remaining batter to the prepared pan, and spread evenly. Add the chocolate batter on top and make swirls using a knife.
  7. Crumble the topping mixture over the top of the cake. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Cool the cake completely in the pan on a wire rack before slicing.

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    4 Comments on “Chocolate Swirl Coffee Cake”

  1. I only have extra large eggs and regular plain yogurt would this be OK in the recipe would I have to reduce eggs to one egg do I have to reduce the yogurt since plain yogurt is a bit more watery or is it OK 

  2. Can I use Nutella spread instead of the chocolate. Your thoughts?

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