Chocolate streusel coffee cake, or cupcakes if you prefer, from Rose Levy Beranbaum is a cake-lover’s delight with a tender crumb and a layer of chocolate streusel that adds a satisfying, cocoa texture.

A chocolate streusel coffee cake with a slice cut from it to show the chocolate streusel.

Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum | Rose’s Heavenly Cakes | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009

This terrific cake was adapted from pastry chef Claudia Fleming’s gift to her customers when she was at 11 Madison Park. At the end of dinner, she presented it to the diner to enjoy for breakfast the next morning. I love how the cocoa streusel becomes chocolaty during baking and forms an attractive undulating layer in the middle of each slice of cake. If desired, you can make a total of twelve cupcakes instead of using the tube pan.Rose Levy Beranbaum


This recipe is perfect for making ahead and giving to someone that you really, really like. Freshly baked, this cake will last for up to a week in the fridge, when properly stored. Cover tightly with foil or plastic wrap and you’ll be good to go. Because of their smaller size, refrigerated cupcakes will dry out a little faster (and they’re hard to wrap as well) so you might find they’re at their best within 4 or 5 days.

A chocolate streusel coffee cake with a slice cut from it to show the chocolate streusel.

Chocolate Streusel Coffee Cake

4.72 / 7 votes
A terrific cake that's as good for breakfast as it is for dessert, I particularly love the cinnamon chocolate streusel that runs through the tender cake. This recipe also works perfectly for cupcakes.
Servings10 servings
Calories314 kcal
Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes


  • One 6-cup fluted metal tube pan, coated with baking spray with flour
  • 2 cupcake liners set in ramekins or custard cups


For the chocolate streusel filling

  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar preferably Muscovado, firmly packed
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened (alkalized) cocoa powder (sifted before measuring)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

For the batter

  • 1 3/4 cups bleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup superfine sugar (or blitz granulated sugar in a food processor until finely ground)
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 1 large egg white at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Nonstick baking spray for the rack


Make the chocolate streusel filling

  • In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cocoa powder, and cinnamon. Use a fork or your fingertips to break up the sugar, if necessary.

Make the cake batter

  • Set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) (325°F [160°C] if using a dark pan).
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt just until lightly combined.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium-high speed for 1 minute. Beat in the sugar slowly, taking about 2 minutes to beat it in, and then beat for another 2 minutes.
  • With the mixer off, pour in the egg, egg white, and vanilla and scrape down the sides of the bowl onto the egg mixture. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • With the mixer off between additions, add the flour mixture together with the sour cream in three parts. Beat each addition starting on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened, then raise the speed to medium and beat for 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
  • Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners to fill half full. Sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon of the streusel filling and drop a spoonful of batter on top. Use a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth the batter. The batter should fill the liner almost to the top.
  • Using a silicone spatula or spoon, scrape about half of the remaining batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface evenly with a small metal spatula. Sprinkle the remaining streusel filling evenly over the batter, making a ring around the center of the batter to keep most of the streusel away from the outside and inside edges. Drop the remaining batter in large blobs over the filling and spread it evenly.
  • Bake until the cake just begins to come away from the sides of the pan, 20 to 30 minutes for the cupcakes and 45 to 50 minutes for the cake. In the cupcake liners, the cupcakes should spring back when pressed lightly in the center.
  • Let the cakes cool on wire racks in their pan and liners for 10 minutes. Coat a wire rack with nonstick baking spray. With a small metal spatula, loosen the top edges of the large cake and invert it onto the wire rack. Cool completely.
Rose's Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Adapted From

Rose’s Heavenly Cakes

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 314 kcalCarbohydrates: 43 gProtein: 4 gFat: 15 gSaturated Fat: 9 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 4 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 55 mgSodium: 163 mgPotassium: 122 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 24 gVitamin A: 453 IUVitamin C: 1 mgCalcium: 77 mgIron: 2 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2009 Rose Levy Beranbaum. Photo © 2009 Ben Fink. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This chocolate streusel coffee cake is a delicious and moist coffee cake with a tender crumb. The best part of this recipe is that you can feel the author speaking to you at each step of the way and it appears that each detail in the directives helps to ensure a delicious outcome. The details of the temperature of ingredients combined with mixing times and baking and doneness tips, help the baker to reproduce a wonderful product. I can imagine that this was a welcome gift to diners when presented to them at the restaurant. It looks as lovely as it tastes.

I didn’t have superfine sugar so I blitzed it in my food processor. I used the 6-cup fluted pan plus two cupcake liners set in ramekins. It was nice that I was able to enjoy a cupcake while preserving the entire cake to give as a gift today! The batter filled my cupcake liners in both muffin cups. My pan was dark so I reduced the oven temp to 325°F and found that the cake took 50 minutes and the cupcakes took 30. The cupcakes did spring back when pressed and the cake did start to come away from the sides of the pan. This would serve 6 to 8 in addition to the two cupcakes and pairs beautifully with a hot cup of coffee.

The streusel filling is delicious as is but I imagine it would taste great with some walnuts or chocolate chips added. In an effort to keep the streusel away from the edges of the pan I made a small trough with the back of a spoon so that the streusel would stay in place. I do think that the option to make 12 cupcakes would be a great alternative.

This chocolate streusel coffee cake is a nice light cake with a delicate crust and a touch of chocolate spice for dessert, afternoon tea, or perfect with your morning coffee. I served the cake slices with a caramel chocolate ice cream on top and I look forward to a slice first thing in the morning with my coffee.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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