I don’t eat a lot of coffee desserts, reserving my coffee fix normally for my morning brew, but I certainly enjoy them. This Chocolate Coffee Crumb Cake though is one I’ll make over and over.
Why do I love this crumb cake recipe so much?
- It stays soft and fluffy for days – truly
- The chocolate ribbon running through the middle
- That crunchy crumb topping is like cookie on top of a cake
- It freezes perfectly and comes out of the freezer as soft and lovely as it went in
- It’s not super sweet which means you can go back for seconds
And, while the coffee flavour is there, it’s a light flavour so you can add more coffee if you want it to have a strong coffee flavour or leave it as is for just a background hint.
The “chocolate ribbon” merges into the cake so it isn’t running chocolate but it gives a lovely chocolate hit halfway through. And that crunchy topping is the perfect contrast the soft cake.
Easy to make and fills a 9×13 baking tin, this is a great cake for afternoon tea or morning tea or any time you feel like coffee and cake all at once.
Hubby, aka Chief Taste Tester Extraordinaire (CTTE), doesn’t like coffee but, you know, sometimes you’ve gotta take one for the team. So …… well …… he liked the chocolate. Win! Whoop, whoop 🙂
What is crumb cake?
Crumb cake is a coffee cake or afternoon tea cake with a crumb or streusel topping. As a general rule, they are not iced or filled in any way so they are nice served with a little cream on the side.
Interesting side note: coffee cake does not always mean a cake has coffee in it. This is a US term used more to describe that it is a cake you would eat with a coffee. In the UK you may hear the same thing referred to as a tea cake.
How to make crumb cake
There are 3 layers to this cake, however, all are very quick and simple and they all get combined at the same time.
- Cake batter
- Chocolate sauce
- Crumb topping
First make the crumb topping, that way it can stay in the fridge, keeping the butter cold until you’re ready. Keeping the butter cold will keep the crumb topping light and crisp rather than just another cake layer.
The other thing that makes this crumb topping super crisp is the rice flour so don’t skip it if you can help it.
Use your fingers or a pastry cutter to gently rub the flours, cinnamon, sugar and butter just until the pieces of butter are no more than the size of a small pea. Add the almonds (photo 1) then gently stir them through with a fork (photo 2).
Now make the chocolate sauce. Stir together the butter, cream, sugar over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Take it off the heat, then add the salt, vanilla and chocolate (photo 3) and stir until it’s a smooth sauce (photo 4).
Now for the coffee cake batter. Beat together butter and sugar until lightened and fluffy (don’t skimp on this part). Add the eggs (photo 5) and beat well. Add 1/3 of the flour (photo 6) and just carefully mix it through.
You’ll add the coffee / milk mixture (photo 7) and remaining flour in parts, carefully mixing after each until it’s all just combined (photo 8).
Spread half the batter over the bottom of a lined 9×13 baking tin (photo 9). Drizzle the chocolate over the top of that (photo 10).
Now dollop over the remaining batter in spoonfuls then gently spread it out (photo 11). Don’t pour it all into the middle as it will be difficult to spread.
Scatter your prepared crumble mixture all over the top (photo 12) then bake for around 30 minutes.
Can you freeze crumb cake?
Absolutely. This crumb cake freezes beautifully. Store it in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 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.
- Don’t like coffee? Simple, leave the coffee powder out. Still add the hot water so the liquid ratios don’t change but try adding some almond or vanilla extract instead.
- Want to swap the chocolate out? For sure. If you’re also leaving out the coffee, then why not use some jam or fruit curd instead. You can put it through the middle like this one or just on top and spread the crumble over it.
I literally counted 300 reasons this cake is awesome, how about you? Ok, so my maths may be off but it is really, really good you guys!
The world can never have enough crumb cake in my opinion. I love the crunch and the softness and the ease of making this Chocolate Coffee Crumb Cake recipe and I know there are more in my future.
More recipes with coffee
- Chocolate Coffee Bundt Cake
- Coffee Panna Cotta
- Coffee Cake Muffins
- Walnut and Coffee Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream
- Mocha Fudge Crunch Bars
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Chocolate Coffee Crumb Cake
For the crumble topping:
- 95 g plain (all-purp) flour (¾ cup / 3.4oz)
- ¼ cup rice flour
- ⅓ cup dark brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 113 g unsalted butter, cubed and chilled (½ cup / 1 stick)
- ¼ cup flaked almonds
For the chocolate sauce:
- 30 g unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons thickened cream (40ml / ⅙ cup) (notes)
- 25 g dark brown sugar (0.9oz)
- Pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 40 g dark chocolate, chopped (1 ½ oz)
For the cake batter:
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar, packed (150g)
- ¼ cup caster (superfine) sugar (50g / 1.8oz)
- 160 g unsalted butter, softened (1 ½ sticks)
- 2 large eggs
- 260 g plain (all-purp) flour (2 cups)
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup milk
- 1 ½ tablespoons instant coffee powder (notes)
- 2 tablespoons hot water (notes)
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced. Grease and line a 9×13 baking tray with baking paper.
Start with the crumble topping:
- Mix the flours, sugar and cinnamon together to combine, then add the butter. Use your fingertips (or a pastry cutter) to rub the butter through the dry ingredients until the largest piece are no bigger than a pea.
- Mix through the almonds with a fork and place in the fridge until required.
For the chocolate fudge sauce:
- In a saucepan over low heat stir together the butter, cream, sugar and salt until well combined and sugar has dissolved.
- Turn the heat off. Stir through the vanilla, then add the chocolate. Let it sit for a couple of minutes before stirring well, until you have a smooth, glossy chocolate sauce.
For the coffee cake:
- Beat together the sugars and butter until light and creamy, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each and scraping sides of bowl.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and stir well to distribute evenly.
- In another small bowl, mix together the hot water and coffee powder. Stir until coffee has dissolved, then add the milk.
- Add one third of the flour mixture to the sugar / butter mix. Fold through gently. Add half the milk / coffee mixture, and stir until combined. Add another third of the flour, again folding through gently, followed by the remaining milk. Stir, then finally the remaining flour.
- Spread half of the cake batter over the base of the lined baking tin. Drizzle over the chocolate sauce. Use a spoon to dollop the remaining cake batter over the top then gently spread it. Sprinkle over the crumble topping, in some large chunks and some smaller bits.
- Bake for around 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with just a crumb or two. Allow it to cool in the tin, then slice and serve.
- I use an Australian standard 20ml tablespoon (= 4 teaspoons worldwide)
- The amount of coffee in this recipe is quite a mild flavour. Add more coffee if you like a stronger flavour.
- When spreading the second layer of cake batter (over the chocolate sauce) make sure to use a spoon and dollop it over, this way it will spread better without messing up the chocolate ribbon through the middle. Spread it out gently until all the chocolate is covered.
- For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
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