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Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

Sometimes a really simple cake is best, and that is usually how I classify a coffee cake. Even though they generally have a streusel or crumb topping, the cakes don’t need any frosting and never require the same time commitment that a layer cake does. It is also nice that coffee cake lends itself to many different flavor variations, so no matter how simple, it is never boring.

This coffee cake is a plain vanilla buttermilk cake with chocolate chips mixed into the batter and topped with cinnamon streusel. It straddles the line between a breakfast cake and a dessert cake for two reasons. First, the chocolate is a desserty addition because coffee cakes often stick with fruit – blueberries, strawberries, etc. – as a mix-in. Second, the texture of this cake is quite rich. It has a tight, tender crumb, and almost seems to melt into your mouth as you eat it. The vanilla comes through in the finished cake, but you also taste the richness of the butter and buttermilk in the batter. The streusel topping, which is also buttery, contributes to this.

Speaking of the topping, this is not the kind of cake that has an extra-thick layer of crumb topping. The streusel mix just about cover the top, adding a bit of extra sweetness and some great texture to the cake. Even though I’m a big fan of topping on coffee cakes, I think that this amount of streusel was just right for this particular cake.

You can use any 9-inch round cake pan for this coffee cake. The cake can be cooled right in the pan and served from it, so there is no need to worry about trying to pry it out of the pan before you slice it. That said, it’s nice to use a springform pan if you have one because it gives you the ability to remove the sides of the pan – making it that much easier to slice and serve.

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup chocolate chips


3 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch salt
3 tbsp butter, chilled

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan (a springform is a good choice).
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt together.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla extract. Mix in half of the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk and then the rest of the flour mixture. Stir only until no streaks of flour remain, then stir in chocolate chips.
Pour batter into prepared pan, then prepare the topping.
In a small or medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, ground cinnamon and salt. Cut butter into several chunks and add to flour mixture. Rub in with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse sand. Sprinkle evenly onto cake batter already in pan.
Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes in a 9-inch round pan, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Cool cake completely (in the pan is fine) on a wire rack before serving.

Serves 10.

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  • StuffCooksWant
    April 3, 2009

    Can’t even describe how good that looks to me…can’t eat wheat and THIS makes me want to!!!

  • Eliana
    April 3, 2009

    I would have never thought to add chocolate to a coffee cake but this is brilliant.

  • Elyse
    April 3, 2009

    Looks delicious! I love a good coffee cake. So glad I found this recipe before Saturday morning.

  • Jenn's Baking Chamber
    April 4, 2009

    This looks perfect, just the recipe I was looking for! Do you think it would work if you tried to make them into muffins?!

  • Nicole
    April 4, 2009

    Jenn – You could try, but I’m not sure how it would turn out. This is not a particularly thick cake to begin with and I think the result would be more like cupcakes than muffins

  • StuffCooksWant
    April 4, 2009

    Can’t even describe how good that looks to me…can’t eat wheat and THIS makes me want to!!!
    Should add good post. Looking forward to reading your next post!

  • Scott at Realepicurean
    April 5, 2009

    Yum. Gimme some of that cake!

  • Baking and Mistaking
    April 5, 2009

    Oh, this is definitely on my list of things to try next!

  • Kara
    April 5, 2009

    Can you revise this post to eliminate the part about the coffee cake being equally close to a dessert? I will be (probably in a few hours) making this and want to give myself permission to eat the entire thing for breakfast and knowing that you said it’s close to a dessert doesn’t help. 🙂 All kidding aside… it looks delicious… love the light crumb topping and chocolate addition.

  • Robyn
    April 5, 2009

    I made this after seeing the beautiful picture and it’s delicious, great texture, love the topping. I used the springform pan and it made it very easy to remove it and serve it. thanks:)

  • Anonymous
    April 5, 2009


  • Trish Barton
    April 8, 2009

    I think chocolate chips sound delicious in this recipe.

    For now, do you think cinnamon chips could be used instead…because that’s what I have on hand, and I want to make these before making another trip to the store! 🙂

  • Anonymous
    April 18, 2009

    That combination really looks delectable. Just to make sure of the baking temperature – is it 375F or 350F?
    Thanks for posting the recipe!

  • Susan
    April 26, 2009

    I just made tis coffee cake. It’s just delicious, but the crumb topping just dissapeared in the cake after baking. What went wrong here? Too much butter?

  • Nicole
    April 26, 2009

    Susan – The crumb topping does melt into the cake somewhat. All that butter is what really helps make the cake super moist and tender. It shouldn’t disappear entirely however. I’d try just adding an extra tablespoon or two of flour next time to keep it on the surface a bit better.

  • Nicole
    April 26, 2009

    Susan – Oh, you can see in my photo about how far it should “sink” into the cake. If the butter is a little firmer, that will help, too!

  • Susan
    April 28, 2009

    Thanks for the reply, Nicole! My crumble indeed sunk too much into the cake, but I’ll try a bit more flour next time!

  • Natalie
    December 13, 2009

    It was delicious – thanks. Choc chips sank to bottom of cake, but did not matter. Thanks for the tip about using a springform tin! I did not think I would like the cinnamon/chocolate combination but I was very wrong. Make this it’s easy, and perfect straight from the oven.

  • Baby Jane
    January 6, 2010

    Always so fun to look for recipes here… Another one to add to my to-try-for-next-party collection…

  • Sav
    August 7, 2010

    Looks beautiful. I am looking for recipes that has coffee as my brother is a coffee lover. He lives miles away from where I do. I was wondering if I could mail it to him. Do you think it would survive and taste well once it gets done with a journey of 3 days?

  • Alex
    August 9, 2010

    I was trying to find something to make with my leftover buttermilk and mini chocolate chips before I move. This looked fabulous and turned out wonderful and a delicious hit with my fiance and his coworkers.

  • Jay
    August 25, 2010

    The cake was perfect and delicious. Will make it again. The combination of chocolate and cinnamon was a hit. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful cake.

  • Adria
    October 15, 2010

    Can anybody tell me why my topping & choc. chips sank? Besides that it tasted great!

  • Kayla
    April 26, 2011

    I made this about an hour ago and here’s the proof. 😉


    I was looking for something quick and easy yet flavorful and it took me 10 minutes using Google Image search to find the picture which looks pretty delectable.

    I doubled the vanilla extract, quadrupled (at least) the cinnamon and added more chocolate chips.

    I love this cake! I baked it in a springform pan as recommended and it turned out beautifully. The cake portion is very tasty, much tastier than the batter I might add and the crumble on top was a perfect match for the cake. A really nice combination of “real” cake, cinnamon and chocolate.

    Thanks for sharing this recipe, it’s definitely one I’ll make again.

  • Rebecca
    August 26, 2012

    I have visitors at least 3 times a week and a coffee cake seems the easiest thing to rustle up. This recipe was absolutely delicious…the cake was sooooooo soft and buttery and light and the moist at the same time..with or even without the streusel it was fantastic. love ur recipes!!

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