This Danish chocolate streusel coffee cake draws from the Jewish babka of western Europe and Russia, the folares of southern Portugal, and even a bit from Italian panettone. Regardless of its mixed origins, it tastes purely of indulgence.Renee Schettler Rossi

Danish chocolate-streusel coffee cake with chocolate filling and slivered almonds topping on a white plate

Danish Chocolate Streusel Coffee Cake

5 / 2 votes
This Danish chocolate streusel coffee cake is swirled with a buttery chocolate and cinnamon mixture and sprinkled with sliced almonds. A spectacular holiday dessert (though we’ve been known to indulge in it at breakfast, too).
David Leite
Servings24 servings
Calories204 kcal
Prep Time50 minutes
Cook Time3 hours 10 minutes
Total Time4 hours


For the coffee cake

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water, 105°F to 115°F (41°C to 46°C)
  • Pinch of granulated sugar, plus 6 tablespoons (74 g)
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the baking sheet
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, or 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
  • 1 cup warm milk, 105°F to 115°F (41°C to 46°C)

For the chocolate swirl

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg white, beaten until foamy
  • 3 tablespoons sliced almonds


Activate the yeast

  • In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Add the pinch of sugar, stir to dissolve, and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

Make the dough

  • In a large bowl, beat the 6 tablespoons sugar, the butter, salt, and vanilla or cardamom together with a heavy-duty electric or stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat well. Add 1 cup of the flour and beat until smooth.
  • Add the milk and then gradually add 2 cups of the flour, 1 cup at a time, beating well. Stir in the yeast mixture. Gradually add enough of the 1 1/2 to 2 cups remaining flour to make a soft dough.
  • Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Place in a buttered bowl, turn to coat, and cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Make the chocolate swirl

  • In a bowl or a food processor, mix the sugar, flour, butter, cocoa, and cinnamon together. Cut the butter in or process until crumbly.

Assemble and bake the coffee cake

  • Punch down the dough and turn it out on a lightly floured surface and knead lightly until smooth, 1 or 2 minutes. Cut the dough in half. Roll 1/2 the dough at a time into a 10-by-14-inch rectangle. Spread evenly with half of the chocolate streusel. Roll up and place, seam side down, on a buttered baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling, placing the loaf on a separate buttered baking sheet.
  • With clean scissors, snip each loaf at 3/4-inch intervals, cutting 3/4 of the way through the dough. Starting at 1 end, pull and twist each cut slice on its side to lie flat on alternate sides. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Brush the coffee cakes with the egg white and sprinkle with the nuts. Place in the oven, reduce the heat to 325°F (160°C), and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer the loaves to wire racks to cool completely. Cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices to serve or let cool, wrap in a couple layers of plastic wrap, and freeze for up to 2 months.


Almond Paste Filling Variation

In a small bowl, combine 8 ounces almond paste, 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) finely chopped almonds, and 1 egg. Beat until blended. Use instead of the chocolate streusel.
Coffee Cakes: Simple, Sweet, and Savory by Lou Seibert Pappas

Adapted From

Coffee Cakes

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Serving: 1 sliceCalories: 204 kcalCarbohydrates: 26 gProtein: 4 gFat: 9 gSaturated Fat: 5 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 3 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 43 mgSodium: 66 mgPotassium: 76 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 6 gVitamin A: 270 IUVitamin C: 1 mgCalcium: 27 mgIron: 1 mg

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

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2006 Lou Seibert Pappas. Photo © 2006 Maren Caruso. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Great taste and very popular with all of my friends. The combination of the chocolate and cinnamon gave the coffee cake that extra special touch. It keeps well and can be made the day before a party

This was a straightforward description and a great introduction to yeasted dough, which can be intimidating to those not familiar with working with yeast. The recipe yields an impressive looking result, and the chocolate-cinnamon streusel is delicious.

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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    1. Lora, we haven’t tried making it in a bread machine, so we can’t say for certain, but I suspect it would work.

    1. Marge, because this is a yeast-based cake, you start assembling it about 3 hours before you want to bake it. There are a few steps along the way, but it is mostly assembled before the final rise, which takes about 45 minutes. I wouldn’t let it sit longer than the time it takes for the final rise or your dough may overproof. I hope that helps!