Yeasted Chocolate Coffee Cake

As a baker, I like to pride myself on keeping my cupboards well stocked so when inspiration strikes I can make whatever strikes my fancy without making a trip to the grocery store. My pantry is filled with the basics—flour, sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar... What can I say? I like sugar. The hall closet doubles as another pantry to keep the extra bags of baking necessities. You'd be surprised how much I go through every week.

Or appalled. Possibly concerned for my arteries.

Yet, no matter how I try, it seems that I'm always missing some ingredient. Always. I try to be prepared; why can't that be good enough?

Today there wasn't milk in the house. Luckily, I had powdered milk on hand from this Mexican Hot Cocoa Mix to save this coffee cake. However, I very often find that I don't quite have what I need. Perhaps I don't have enough butter or cream to finish out a recipe. This is when my desserts suddenly become low-fat.

Sometimes low-fat is on purpose, like when I drag out the whole wheat and chop the sugar in half, like for these banana cinnamon muffins.

Usually, though, its because I was too lazy to take a trip to the grocery store.

This yeasted chocolate coffee cake is decadent and rich. The cake manages to be both dense and flaky at the same time. Each flavor is separated and distinct, yet they complement each other in such a way that you'll find yourself taking bite after bite. This cake is good. Enjoy it with a cup of coffee for the perfect afternoon snack (or breakfast if you feel like a bit of a rebel).

Yeasted Chocolate Coffee Cake
Adapted from My Sweet Life

Yields 1 loaf

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup plus a pinch of granulated sugar
3/4 cup warm milk, about 110° F (43° C)
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick salted butter, room temperature

In a large bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of granulated sugar over the warm milk. Let stand for 5 minutes, or until foamy.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining sugar, the whole egg, and the egg yolk. Stir into the yeast mixture. Add the flour and salt and mix until combined. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Add the salted butter and mix until the dough is soft and sticky, about 10 minutes.

Place the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth. Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon heavy cream, for egg wash

In a small bowl, mix together the chocolate, brown sugar, and a cinnamon. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture is uniform. Reserve 1/2 cup for later use.

Punch down the dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it is an 18-inch square. Brush the egg wash around the edge of the dough to make a 1-inch border. Spread the chocolate mixture (minus the 1/2 cup) evenly throughout the dough, leaving the border clean. Starting at one end, roll the dough tightly like a jelly roll. Pinch the edges closed. Fold the dough in half and twist 2-3 times. Place the dough into a greased loaf pan. Brush the top of the dough with egg wash and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of filling over the top of the dough. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow the dough to double in size, 20-30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake the loaf for 55 minutes, or until the top is deeply golden. Transfer loaf to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Enjoy!