My Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake has become such a favourite that I knew I needed to make more coffee cakes for you, and this one is special to me because: chocolate! This recipe for Chocolate Marble Coffee Cake is based on the coffee cake loaf cake from Scientifically Sweet debut cookbook. It is soft and satisfying, made with brown sugar and sour cream in the batter and a dark chocolate swirl. It is easy to make and bake in one pan!
WHAT IS COFFEE CAKE?
Coffee cake, most of the time, does not actually contain any coffee! It refers to a buttery sweet, slightly dense cake that is usually baked in a single layer round or square pan, or even a bundt pan. Coffee cake often can have a crumble topping or crumble swirl through the middle.
It is intended to be eaten alongside a cup of coffee or tea, hence the name. It is generally less sweet than say a birthday cake since it doesn't have frosting which is why it is considered acceptable to eat mid-day or during brunch or breakfast.
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- Brown sugar coffee cake - the buttery batter is made with brown sugar and then topped off with more brown sugar for a crunchy top.
- Easy to make - this recipe is super simple to make and isn't time consuming at all. It uses basic pantry ingredients too so it's easy to make even on a busy weekday.
- Chocolate swirl - dark chocolate is mixed into some of the batter for a rich dark chocolate marble effect. The chocolate part is my favourite because it is extra tender!
- Sour cream coffee cake - the batter is made with sour cream for a nice rich flavour and soft crumb texture.
INGREDIENTS FOR CHOCOLATE MARBLE COFFEE CAKE
- All purpose flour - regular unbleached all-purpose flour works great this coffee cake because it makes a moist and slightly dense crumb which is perfect for this style of cake. If you have bleached cake flour, then you can replace a third of the unbleached all-purpose flour with cake flour and it will give you a finer crumb if that's what you prefer.
- Unsalted butter - butter brings the flavour! Using a combination of oil and butter means we get the taste of butter and the softness of oil.
- Sunflower oil - this recipe uses just 1 tablespoon of oil in addition to butter. Using just a bit of oil will change the fat melting profile so that is has a slightly softer texture while still keeping all the great taste of butter. You can use any neutral tasting oil, but I prefer sunflower oil for its clean taste.
- Pure vanilla extract - vanilla plays an important roll in flavouring the main batter. I like this Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla extract.
- Dark chocolate - I like to use semi-sweet or dark chocolate between 55 and 60% cocoa solids for this recipe.
- Brown sugar - brown sugar is used for the batter and to top the cake for a crunchy crust. It adds rich molasses taste that pairs so nice with the spice.
- Cinnamon - I love the addition of cinnamon and nutmeg to this cake! Feel free to change up the spices or leave them out all together.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
This recipe is simple to prepare and you can make it with a regular wire whisk!
- STEP 1). Melt the chocolate. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot with ½-inch of barely simmering water and stir until completely melted and smooth; set aside.
- STEP 2). Combine dry ingredients. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, nutmeg and salt into a medium bowl and whisk to blend evenly.
- STEP 3). Beat fat and sugar. Combine melted butter, oil and ¾ cup of brown sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes until pale and fluffy.
- STEP 4). Add liquid ingredients. Beat in eggs until evenly combined and smooth. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until well incorporated.
- STEP 5). Add dry ingredients. Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just blended. Add the remaining flour mixture and fold it in by hand using a large rubber spatula until evenly combined and smooth. Do not over mix. The batter will be very thick.
- STEP 6). Make the chocolate swirl. Take about ¾ cup of batter and mix it with melted chocolate so it is evenly blended.
- STEP 7). Spread it out. Spoon regular batter into prepared pan and spread it out. Dollop chocolate batter randomly over top and swirl it in with a knife. Sprinkle remaining 3 tablespoons of brown sugar evenly over top, patting it down slightly so that it sticks to the surface.
- STEP 8). BAKE. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer cake to wire rack and let cool completely in pan.
EXPERT BAKING TIPS
- Sift the dry ingredients - Sifting the flour will eliminate any lumps and separate all of the flour particles which means it will incorporated into the wet ingredients more easily and more quickly. This will minimize the amount of mixing required so that you ensure the cake is soft.
- Do not reduce the sugar - the right amount of sugar will create the right texture for this coffee cake. Do not reduce it as it is already less than most cake recipes.
- Do not over-bake. Over-baking will most definitely lead to dry coffee cake. Make sure you check with a skewer for doneness.
- Do not over-mix. Just fold in the flour gently until well combined, but no need to mix vigorously. Just mix until no streaks of dry flour remain.
- Mix warm chocolate with the batter - if the chocolate is cool, it will seize up quickly and be difficult to mix evenly into the batter so I usually keep it warm or melt it right before you intend to mix it.
Can I freeze chocolate marble coffee cake?
Yes! This cake freezes very well. Just wrap it well in plastic wrap, and then in foil, and then place it in a large resealable freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
What type of chocolate should I use for the swirl?
It's best to use semisweet or dark chocolate for the swirl - not milk chocolate and not bittersweet chocolate. Milk chocolate would be quite sweet, and bittersweet chocolate has a higher cocoa butter content which means that it will set up faster when it mixes with the batter making it quite thick. Chocolate with 50% to 60% cocoa solids works best.
What is a substitute for sour cream in this recipe?
This recipe also works with full fat Greek yogurt if you cannot find sour cream where you live.
How to make marble coffee cake with a soft texture?
To ensure the cake has a soft texture, do not reduce the sugar. Sugar is important to hold moisture in. Also, be careful not to over-mix the batter. Over-mixing will initiate gluten formation which can lead to a tough crumb texture.
If you love coffee cake, check out these recipes!Cinnamon Streusel Coffee CakeSmall Batch Double Chocolate Banana MuffinsThe BEST Blueberry Muffin RecipeCopycat Starbucks Lemon LoafRaspberry Almond CakeMoist Chocolate Fudge Swirl Banana MuffinsBanana Blueberry Oat MuffinsSticky Toffee Date CakeWhole Wheat Chocolate Banana MuffinsBlueberry Peach Upside Down Cake
Chocolate Marble Coffee Cake
- 2 ½ oz 70g dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 ½ cups 215g all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup 75g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 tablespoon 15ml sunflower oil
- ¾ cup plus 3 tablespoon 165g plus 50g packed light brown sugar, divided
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- ¾ cup 180ml full fat sour cream, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon 5ml pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8x8-inch pan with parchment paper leaving a 2-inch overhang at each end.
- Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot with ½-inch of barely simmering water and stir until completely melted and smooth; set aside.
- Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, nutmeg and salt into a medium bowl and whisk to blend evenly.
- Combine cooled melted butter, oil and ¾ cup of brown sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs until evenly combined and smooth. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until well incorporated.
- Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just blended. Add the remaining flour mixture and fold it in by hand using a large rubber spatula until evenly combined and smooth. Do not over mix. The batter will be very thick. Take about ¾ cup of batter and mix it with melted chocolate so it is evenly blended.
- Spoon regular batter into prepared pan and spread it out. Dollop chocolate batter randomly over top and swirl it in with a knife. Sprinkle remaining 3 tablespoons of brown sugar evenly over top, patting it down slightly so that it sticks to the surface. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer cake to wire rack and let cool completely in pan.