Danish Chocolate Streusel Coffee Cake

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).

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

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

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 50 M
  • 4 H
  • Makes 2 loaves
5/5 - 1 reviews
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  • For the coffee cake
  • For the chocolate swirl


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. Originally published April 15, 2006.

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    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.

    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.


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      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!

      1. Ariadne, yes, you can use a sourdough starter. We didn’t test it that way, but if you’re familiar with how it’s done, go for it! And let us know how it turns out.

    1. This recipe was great to follow. I had never made a bread like this, and it produced a wonderful dough. The consistency was just terrific. The loaves rose very nicely into two plump loaves. The final bread was lovely and sweet, yet still remained light and fluffy.

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