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Chocolate Ripple Coffee Cake

Scott Phillips

Servings: sixteen.


  • 1 Tbs. softened unsalted butter

For the streusel topping:

  • 2 oz. (4 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • 3 oz. (2/3 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs. light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans
  • 6 oz. coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbs. light brown sugar
  • 3 Tbs. Dutch-processed or natural cocoa powder

For the cake:

  • 11-1/4 oz. (3 cups) sifted cake flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. table salt
  • 10 oz. (1-1/4 cups) unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 11-1/2 oz. (1-2/3 cups) superfine sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 16 oz. (2 cups) sour cream

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 600
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 330
  • Fat (g): 37
  • Saturated Fat (g): 18
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 12
  • Cholesterol (mg): 115
  • Sodium (mg): 310
  • Carbohydrates (g): 64
  • Fiber (g): 3
  • Protein (g): 7


  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350ºF (325ºF if using a dark nonstick pan). Generously butter a 10-inch tube pan with a removable bottom.

Make the topping:

  • In a 2-quart saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat until almost melted. Remove from the heat and cool to tepid. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, pecans, both sugars, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt and stir with a fork. Add the flour mixture to the butter and stir until evenly moistened and crumbly.

Make the filling:

  • In a food processor, pulse the pecans, chopped chocolate, both sugars, and cocoa until the chocolate is finely chopped, 12 to 14 pulses. Set aside 1/2 cup of this mixture as an additional topping.

Make the cake:

  • In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar slowly, beating until combined. Scrape the bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time, blending each one completely before adding the next. Scrape the bowl and blend in the vanilla. On low speed, alternate adding the dry ingredients and the sour cream, adding the flour in four parts and the sour cream in three parts, beginning and ending with the flour, and scraping the bowl as needed.

Layer and marble the batter and filling:

  • Spoon 2 generous cups of the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth with the back of a soupspoon, spreading the batter to the side of the pan first and then to the center. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of the filling evenly over the batter. Cover the filling with about 2 cups of batter, dropping dollops around the pan and smoothing with the spoon. Sprinkle another 1/2 cup filling evenly over the batter and cover with 2 more cups batter. Layer on another 1/2 cup of filling and then the remaining batter. (You’ll have four layers of batter and three layers of filling.) Insert a table knife 1 inch from the side of the pan straight into the batter going almost to the bottom. Run the knife around the pan two times, without lifting up the blade, spacing the circles about 1 inch apart. Smooth the top with the back of the soupspoon.

Top and bake the cake:

  • Take a handful of the streusel crumbs and squeeze firmly to form a large mass. Break up the mass into smaller clumps, distributing the streusel evenly over the batter. Repeat with the remaining streusel. Clump the reserved chocolate filling mixture together with your hands and sprinkle over the streusel. Press both toppings lightly into the surface of the cake. Bake until the top of the cake is golden brown, the sides are beginning to pull away from the pan, and a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 70 to 75 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for at least an hour before removing from the pan.
  • See our test kitchen’s tip on how to keep the streusel from falling off when you remove the cake from the pan.

Make Ahead Tips

This cake keeps at room temperature, well wrapped or under a cake dome, for up to 5 days; you can freeze it for up to 3 months.


Check out Carole’s article for more information on superfine sugar.


Rate or Review

Reviews (6 reviews)

  • User avater
    ColleenCC | 04/21/2014

    Very good but not as exciting as I was expecting based on other reviews. I added 1 tsp cinnamon to the batter to make it less plain (would do again). I used a good quality chocolate and the flavour really came thru; this is what "made" the cake. The topping was good but not remarkable - would have preferred it a little sweeter and crispier. My husband and I both agreed that we both prefer a more "cinnamon" type coffee cake, but a couple of the people who we made it for raved about it, so I guess it's a matter of preference.

  • javajunkie | 02/28/2012

    ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! I will definitely make this again! As mentioned, its a bit labor intensive, but its worth it! Just allow time to assemble and bake. I made the toppings and struessel the night before, and in the morning made the cake batter and assembled. This will qualify you as a domestic goddess!

  • PaulaH | 02/19/2009


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