Super-moist, tender, and easy-to-make chocolate pecan coffee cake layered with pecans, cinnamon, brown sugar, and chocolate chunks. 

Chocolate Pecan Coffee Cake on stack of plate, napkin and bookHappy National Coffee Cake Day! Or Belated. I told you i’m always late for these sort of things!

The fact that there is still a whole fourth of a chocolate pecan coffee cake sitting on my kitchen counter as I type this is so completely distracting. Write. Focus. No more coffee cake. Until i’m done.

fork going through a piece of chocolate and vanilla swirled cake on two plates

Once you’ve experienced a piece of this delicious crumb coffee cake, it’s hard to get your mind to go anywhere else. I can barely string together coherent sentences!  The texture of this chocolate pecan crumb cake is out of this world! It’s a slightly rich and super-moist cake with a chocolate and pecan swirled streusel in the center. The best part about this coffee cake? A crunchy chocolate pecan and cinnamon scented crumbly topping. And coffee is totally optional. I’m having this cake for breakfast. Lunch dessert. Because there is such a thing. Dinner dessert. And there may or may not have been a piece devoured as a snack.

Confession: I totally just caved and had myself a piece of this cake. No lie.

The best part about this recipe is that the crumbly chocolate and pecan topping as well as the center streusel all start in the same food processor. Start by pulsing the light brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans until they break down into coarsely chopped pieces. Remove 3/4 cup of this pecan/cinnamon mixture to a small bowl and set aside. With the remaining pecan mixture in the food processor combine cake flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and butter and pulse until mixture is crumbly for topping. That 3/4 of a cup of pecan mixture you set aside, gets combined with 2 oz of chopped up semi sweet chocolate. The more chocolate the better, I always say! ingredients to make chocolate pecan coffee cake on white marble surfaceThis recipe calls for both buttermilk and greek yogurt. I used a vanilla greek yogurt but regular greek yogurt works just as well. The combination of the two dairy ingredients leaves this cake super moist and soft. for. days. Seriously. So don’t leave it out! I didn’t have buttermilk on hand so I poured 1 teaspoon on vinegar into a measuring cup and added enough milk to make 1/3 of a cup. Let it sit for 5 minutes. It will be a little curdled when it’s done.

Sprinkling Chocolate Pecan Crumble on vanilla cake batter in springform pan Pour half the batter into a 9 inch springform pan. A 9x9x2 (square) pan will work as well. Sprinkle the chunky chocolate and pecan mixture. Pour the rest of the batter on top. Top the batter with chocolate and pecan crumble.

This chocolatey coffee cake is a wonderful option to make ahead the night before a brunch or even a holiday breakfast. Like Mother’s Day coming up soon. If busy mornings are the norm in your house, make this coffee cake ahead of time.  That’s exactly what I did. I made it on Friday morning and on Sunday, it still tasted incredibly fresh. The chocolatey pecan crunchy crumb on top, the cake hidden underneath was moist and tender, the chocolate pecan swirl in the center and the taste? In.Cred.Ible.

slice of coffee cake on stacked plate with fork on napkin Recipe slightly adapted from Godiva

Yield: serves 10

Chocolate Pecan Coffee Cake

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Additional Time 1 minute
Total Time 1 hour 6 minutes


For the chocolate pecan filling and topping:

  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 oz. chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (won't make it taste like coffee)

For the cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 stick (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 (5.3 oz) container Greek yogurt (I used vanilla)
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk


    1. For the chocolate pecan filling and topping: Place brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon in food processor. Cover and pulse until nuts are coarsely chopped. Transfer 3/4 cup of mixture to small bowl and stir in chopped chocolate for filling, set aside. To remaining mixture in food processor add flour, cocoa powder and butter and pulse until mixture is crumbly for topping.
    2. For the cake: Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 325°F. Butter bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan or a 9x9x2 square pan. Spray pan with cooking spray and set aside.Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into medium bowl and set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed in mixing bowl for 1 minute or until creamy. Gradually add sugar and beat at high speed until well blended and light, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Beat in vanilla extract. Reduce speed to low and add 1/3 of the flour mixture. When incorporated add the buttermilk, then another 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by the greek yogurt. And end with the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Do not overmix.
    3. Bake: Scrape half of batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Sprinkle with filling. Scrape remaining batter over filling and smooth top. Sprinkle with topping. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean or with just a few crumbs. Mine took 55 minutes. Let cake cool in pan set on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove side of pan and cool completely before serving (about 2 hours).

Have you made this recipe?

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