This recipe was first published here on in 2018 and has been updated with new information and images.

Irresistibly chocolatey chocolate crumb cake – it’s a chocolate lovers dream. All the soft cake and crunchy crumb you want from a classic NY coffee crumb cake but with an added bonus – CHOCOLATE!

Love a crumb cake? Try this strawberry crumb cake and this beautiful almond cherry crumb cake.

A batch of chocolate crumb cake slices on a sheet of baking paper with choc chips behind.

Why you’ll love it

Because, chocolate cake. Just kidding, it’s that and so much more.

This chocolate crumb cake starts with an ultra-soft, fluffy and moist chocolate cake base, there’s a hidden layer of chocolate chips in there, then ends with a gloriously thick layer of chocolate crumb topping (and a few more chocolate chips for good measure).

It also keeps it’s perfect texture for days after it’s baked.

Just like this black magic cake, it has a hidden ingredient – coffee. It does not taste of coffee at all, so don’t worry if you aren’t a caffeine fiend, but it really does intensify the chocolate flavour.

What is crumb cake?

A New York-style crumb cake is a coffee cake or afternoon tea cake with a crumb or streusel topping almost as thick as the cake itself. As a general rule, they are not iced or filled, but sometimes have a very light drizzle of icing over the top.

Coffee cake does not generally contain coffee, or at least it does not require it to be called coffee cake. This is a US term equivalent to a tea cake but it must have a crumb topping.

Ingredients in crumb cake

Using oil and buttermilk, you know this cake is going to be tender. It also makes it incredibly quick and easy to make.

Ingredients for chocolate crumb cake on a marble bench top.

Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.

  • Flour: You just need plain flour / all-purpose flour. Please make sure to weigh it to get a perfect result.
  • Cocoa powder: Use dutched process cocoa powder for this cake. It gives it a lovely dark colour and rounded flavour.
  • Sugar: There are two types of sugar in this crumb cake – white granulated sugar and brown sugar. I generally use caster sugar (superfine sugar) in place of white but both work.
  • Cinnamon: Just a little hint of cinnamon harks back to the classic crumb cake flavours.
  • Butter: Use salted or unsalted butter in the crumb topping.
  • Baking powder + baking soda: For the perfect rise, this cake requires both baking powder and baking soda (some may know the latter as bicarbonate of soda).
  • Salt: Just a touch of salt to intensify flavours.
  • Oil: You’ll want a neutral flavoured vegetable oil and it helps give the cake it’s moistness.
  • Buttermilk: Full-fat buttermilk gives the cake flavour and keeps it tender and soft.
  • Instant coffee powder: You can’t taste it in the baked cake but instant coffee powder or espresso powder dissolved in boiling water, or even a strong brewed coffee, actually increases it’s chocolatey-ness.
  • Eggs: I use large eggs in all my baking. Try to get free-range if it’s within your means.
  • Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract rounds out the chocolate flavour here.
  • Chocolate chips: I find the contrast of milk chocolate chips to the dark chocolate cake here perfect.

If you aren’t a coffee lover, never fear. The cake will not taste of coffee and I don’t recommend substituting it. If you really don’t want to add it, the cake won’t taste the same, but make sure to still  add the boiling water

Tools you’ll need

How to make a crumb cake

There are 3 layers to this cake, however, all are very quick and simple and they all get combined and baked at the same time.

  • Cake batter
  • Chocolate chips
  • Crumb topping
A collage of 5 images showing how to make chocolate crumb cake.

Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.

  1. Make the chocolate crumble: In a mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa, sugar, cinnamon and butter, using your fingertips to press and blend it together until it forms large clumps (photo 1).
  2. Make the batter: Start by combining the dry ingredients, then stir together with a whisk to disperse and aerate. Make a well in the centre and add the wet ingredients (photo 2), then simply mix it all together until combined (photo 3).
  3. Layer it up: Grease and line a 9 inch square baking tin, then pour in a little over half the batter. Top with most of the chocolate chips (photo 4), then drizzle over the remaining batter. Now crumble over the chocolate crumb topping evenly, leaving some larger chunks in there (photo 5).
  4. Bake: Bake for around 45 minutes until a toothpick comes out with a crumb or two attached.
  5. Serving: Let the cake cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before using the baking paper to lift it out and transfer to a wire cooling rack. This cake is perfect at room temperature but you can also serve it warm with ice cream – swoon!
Closeup of two stacked squres of chocolate crumb cake.

Can you freeze crumb cake?

You can freeze this chocolate crumb cake with great results. Store it in an airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months. If you want to go the extra mile, wrap it well in plastic wrap before adding it into the container.

To thaw crumb cake, leave it covered in a cool place for around 45 minutes or until it gets to room temperature.


I literally count 300 reasons this cake is awesome, how about you? Ok, so my maths may be off but chocolate coffee cake is really, really good you guys!

The world can never have enough coffee crumb cake in my opinion. I love the crunch and the softness and the ease of making this crumb cake recipe and I know there are more in my future.

More recipes you’ll love

A chcoolate crumb cake cut into squares on a sheet of baking paper.

IF YOU TRY THIS chocolate crumb cake recipe, please take a moment to leave a rating and comment below. I love hearing from you, and it helps other readers too!

12 squares of chocolate crumb cake on a sheet of baking paper.

Chocolate Crumb Cake

4.5 from 6 ratings
This chocolate crumb cake is an irresistible twist on the classic crumb cake. Soft, fluffy and moist chocolate cake, topped with a thick layer of crunchy crumble, it’s quick and easy too.

Ingredients

FOR THE CRUMBLE TOPPING:

  • 130 g plain (all-purp) flour (1 cup / 4.6oz)
  • ¼ cup dutched process cocoa (30g / 1oz)
  • cup brown sugar (140g / 5oz)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 113 g unsalted butter, grated and chilled (½ cup / 1 stick / 4oz)

FOR THE CAKE

  • 195 g plain (all-purp) flour (1 ½ cups / 6.9oz)
  • 60 g dutch cocoa powder (½ cup / 2oz)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, packed (150g / 5.3oz)
  • cup white sugar (70g / 2.5oz)
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder (notes 1)
  • cup boiling water (80ml)
  • ½ cup neutral-flavoured vegetable oil (125ml)
  • ½ cup full-fat buttermilk (125ml)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ¼ cups milk chocolate chips (225g / 8oz)

Equipment

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced. Grease and line a 9 inch square pan with baking paper.
  • MAKE THE CHOCOLATE CRUMBLE: In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, sugar and cinnamon. Whisk together to remove any lumps.
  • Add the butter, using your fingertips (or a pastry blender) to press and blend it together until it forms large clumps. Set aside.
  • MAKE THE BATTER: In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, brown sugar and white sugar. Stir together with a whisk to disperse and aerate.
  • Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Combine the coffee powder and boiling water and add it to the well, followed by the oil, buttermilk, vanilla and finally the eggs. Whisk it all together until well combined.
  • LAYER IT UP: Pour it a little over half the batter into your prepared pan. Hold back a small handful of chocolate chips and sprinkle the rest over the batter. Now drizzle over the remaining batter.
  • Scatter the crumb mixture over the batter evenly, leaving some larger chunks in there. Finally, sprinkle over the reserved chocolate chips.
  • BAKE: Bake for around 45 minutes (notes 3) or until a toothpick comes out with a crumb or two attached.
  • SERVING: Let the cake cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before using the baking paper to lift it out and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  • This cake is perfect at room temperature but you can also serve it warm with vanilla ice cream – swoon!
  • Please take a moment to rate this recipe. I really appreciate it and it helps me create more recipes.

Notes

  1. Tablespoons: I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons). Many other countries use a 15ml tablespoon.
  2. Weigh the flour & cocoa: For best results, always weigh the flour and cocoa. Too much and you could end up with a dry cake. If you don’t have kitchen scales (first order one, then) spoon the flour into a cup measure and scrape it off with the back of a knife without patting it down.
  3. All ovens vary: Check your bake 5-7 minutes before the recipe suggests. I recommend keeping an oven thermometer in your oven at all times as thermostats are often out of whack.
  4. Buttermilk: You can use Greek yogurt or sour cream in place of the buttermilk still with great results.
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