Chocolate Coffee Cake


This is a family favorite coffee cake that is perfect for a cold summer morning and best enjoyed with some fresh fruit, smoothie, and/or hard boiled eggs. Excellent as a dessert as well! It is a scrumptious special treat, especially for any chocolate lovers! I have just been experimenting lately with adapting it to including the benefits of soaking the whole wheat flour, and I have had success! Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour, but feel free to experiment with using other whole grain flours as desired)
3/4 – 1 cup natural sweetener (we use rapadura or sucanat, which are delicious!)
1/2 cup butter or coconut oil (or combination of both), in its solid state
1-2 Tbsp cocoa powder (as desired, we use 2 Tbsp)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking powder
dash of salt
dash of cloves
1/2 cup nuts (we used candied pecans for the top!), if desired
1 cup cultured buttermilk, kefir, whey, yogurt (or your preferred acid medium for soaking)

SOAKING STEP: In a large bowl, combine flour and acid medium (buttermilk, kefir, whey or yogurt, as desired). Cover and allow to soak for 12-24 hours.

After soaking, combine remaining ingredients. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 pan and cover with chopped nuts, if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

If you want to skip out on the soaking, follow these directions:

In a large bowl, combine the flour and sugar; cut in the butter/coconut oil until crumbly. Add cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, salt and cloves; mix well. Make a well in the center; pour in the buttermilk and stir until moistened. Transfer to a greased 8 x8 baking pan and sprinkle with nuts. Bake as instructed above.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

72 Responses to Chocolate Coffee Cake

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  6. Amanda April 16, 2013 at 10:54 am #

    I just ran across this recipe. I can’t wait to try it out!!! Do you sift your flour?

  7. Rebecca January 27, 2013 at 6:05 pm #

    Hi, if I do the soaking process, how do I cut the solid coconut oil into it after soaking? Is it pretty easy to do?

  8. Heather July 25, 2012 at 8:24 am #

    This recipe is by far my FAVORITE recipe that includes rapadura. I have tried so many different recipes, none have been this awesome. I don’t care what anyone says, you cannot subsitute 1/1 with white sugar because rapadura obviously sucks up the moisture. We recently moved to Germany and I dreamed of this recipe during our move and have since been able to make again. Sounds obsessive, but this recipe always works for me, even with subsitutions. Great with a plain cappucino! thank you so much!

  9. Debra @ Sweet Kisses and Dirty Dishes January 17, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    What a delightful cake! I actually just made the cake (without the nuts on top) in my sheet pan. Then layered it in my loaf pan with chopped hazlenuts and a mixture of powdered sucanat, sour cream, and apple butter. It was SOOOOO good! Sour cream and sucanat frosting with chocolate cake is one of my favorite combinations right now. So, I am glad to find an even healthier chocolate cake recipe to do it with.

  10. Sarah November 16, 2011 at 6:23 am #

    Hi Lindsay,
    I’m curious with soaking, is the object to make sure it doesn’t dry out over the course of 12-24hrs? I just made the raspberry muffins the other day, and soaked my ww flour, but it was super dry when I came back to it to add the other ingredients. I ended up adding some water–but did I hurt the soaking process? I live in Denver, so it is very dry here. Any thoughts?

  11. CindyKay Clark January 5, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    This is a great recipe. I found this site by googling recipes using sprouted flour. I used my sprouted spelt flour and added chocolate chips, put in round 9″ deep cake pan, baked for 45 minutes. It turned out sooooooooooooo good. I will definitely make this again. Thank you for thinking of others and sharing your gift with us. God Bless you.

  12. Joy August 15, 2010 at 6:43 am #

    LIndsay- I have been using your recipe index over the past 6 months. I have worked through making a ton of your recipes, and my, my- they are so yummy. I currently have this in the oven (doubled the recipe because it is so good). Thanks for glorifying the Lord through your website, what a blessing you have been to our family! I really appreciate you sacrificing your time and effort to bless other families (like ours) that you have never even personally met. What a christlike, servant heart. May the Lord bless you and your family this day!

  13. Gi April 25, 2010 at 1:08 pm #

    Loved all your comments about soaking that you just blogged about! Answered my questions.

    • Christine July 19, 2010 at 3:34 pm #


      I love your recipes, use them frequently, and while I know you don’t do many desserts, my daughter wants a carrot cake (shaped like her new pet bunny, Carrots) for her 5th birthday…but I don’t want to send these sweet children home with poor sugar choices in their bellies and don’t want the leftovers in my house from that…so, do you have any recipes or suggestions for a more natural carrot cake…can I substitute rapadura straight across or rapadura/honey? And if I use hard red wheat, will I need to combine it with soft white to make a fluffy cake…I’m not a cake-maker, have always gotten away with pies and cheesecakes for birthdays, so I’m a bit intimidated by the thought of a cake for her birthday! Any ideas are much appreciated!
      Thanks so much!

      • Lindsay July 20, 2010 at 6:43 am #

        I do have a more natural carrot cake recipe. I’ll try emailing it to you.

        • Annie March 14, 2011 at 9:12 am #

          is it a soaked flour carrot cake recipe> i would love to get it, too! =)

          • Lindsay March 14, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

            No, it is not soaked. Just uses whole wheat flour…of course, you could use sprouted wheat as well.

  14. Gi April 17, 2010 at 7:21 pm #

    I would LOVE to make this but need to have a non dairy version…do you have something else I could use for the acid base that is non dairy? I would need an acid though b/c of the baking soda, right?

    • Lindsay April 18, 2010 at 8:06 am #

      You could try replacing the buttermilk with water and a bit of lemon juice.

      • Amanda May 3, 2010 at 8:20 am #

        in another recipe of yours i used almond milk and a dash or apple cider vinegar as a replacement for buttermilk and it worked great!!! It just happened to be what I had on hand.

  15. Kate April 2, 2010 at 4:24 pm #

    Lindsay, I made this the other week, and I remembered to add the baking soda. It overflowed! (I had to self-clean my oven, and the fumes were AWFUL!) Does the baking soda act like eggs and makes it rise?

    • Lindsay April 7, 2010 at 1:29 pm #

      Baking soda is a leavening and makes it rise. Did you perchance measure incorrectly? This has never happened to me.

    • Becki August 4, 2010 at 8:26 am #

      I did the same thing this morning…my kids were so disappointed to smell their breakfast! And since I had read your reply last night before baking, I was certain to measure accurately! It just rose too big, spilled over the top and what was left in the pan was a uncooked gooey mess after 30 minutes. Would sure like to try this, but not sure how to try again???

      Thank goodness for a self-cleaning oven! But we will be leaving the house because of the stench!

      • Becki August 5, 2010 at 8:11 am #

        Ok, after cleaning the oven yesterday, the mess of the cake left in the pan, part gooey, part crisp, looked so good, the kids and I tried the crumbs. It was really good! So we tried it again this morning – but in a bigger pan! It turned out terrific! We will definitely be keeping this recipe, but will always bake it in my bigger 9X9 pan, and would recommend that anyone else with that might have this problem try that also.

        Thanks for a great recipe that my kids get up early for!

  16. Nicole March 3, 2010 at 10:43 pm #

    This was a great hit with everyone who tried it! Here’s how I adapted the recipe to what I had on hand…

    1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
    3/4 c. raw sugar
    1/2 c. extra virgin coconut oil
    2 Tbsp. Cocoa powder
    3/4 tsp. baking soda
    1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
    1/2 tsp. baking powder
    dash of salt
    1/2 c. cut and dried apricots (I think this really made the recipe great! Added a nice tart but still sweet flavor to the mix)

    And then I used yogurt to soak the grains in! In the end, it was delicious. Although I did have one minor problem, it took probably twice as long for me to cook it than you stated on here. I’m not sure why, but I think the nob on my oven might not be set correctly.

    • Nicole March 3, 2010 at 10:43 pm #

      Oh yes, and I added about 1/2 c. of chocolate chips

  17. Kelly February 24, 2010 at 4:45 am #

    Made this yesterday w/ my 2 year old, and it was GREAT! my husband thought it tasted like his favorite chocolate pound cake. Thanks so much!!

  18. Kim February 12, 2010 at 2:43 pm #

    Where do you get rapadura? I am having a hard time finding it.

    Thanks so much!

    • Lindsay February 12, 2010 at 2:57 pm #

      Rapadura is harder to find. I buy it through Azure Standard. You can easily substitute with sucanat, which is more common.

  19. Kate February 7, 2010 at 4:13 pm #

    I made this twice this weekend. The first time was eh ok. But too cinnamony. So I adapted it to my taste. the first time I did soak the flour (Lindsay you would be proud!!!!) Second time I didn’t have the time. (I wanted to take it in for a co-worker tomorrow)

    This is what I did.

    WW flour I kept the same.
    1 c Sugar (sorry, all I had on hand)
    1 tbsp cocoa powder (2 tsp wasn’t enough for my taste)
    1/2 c butter
    Baking soda I missed by accident both times didn’t notice a difference
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp nutmeg, and b.powder
    salt a pinch
    capful of vanilla extract in place of the cloves
    I used a small bag of pecans the first time, and a small bag of walnuts the second time
    1 c buttermilk

    • Kate February 8, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

      You should mention it’s TWICE as good the next day!!! The nut flavor goes thru the whole cake… YUMMMMMMO! My co-worker loved it! I ended up having two pieces today.

  20. Kate February 1, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

    Is the cocoa powder sweetened or unsweetened? I bought Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder (only ingredient was cocoa!!).

    • Lindsay February 1, 2010 at 1:55 pm #


      • Kate February 1, 2010 at 2:44 pm #

        Thanks!! I’m going to make this, this weekend. I can’t wait!

  21. Julie H. January 16, 2010 at 6:18 pm #

    This has become a favorite recipe of mine. I have the flour soaking right now and plan to bake it for tomorrow’s breakfast. I wanted to tell you I made it last weekend as well and completely forgot to add the butter/coconut oil and it came out delicious! The cake fell a little but I probably would not have noticed had I not made this before. I will add coconut oil tomorrow but will only use 1/4 cup and see what happens. Thanks again!

  22. Miss Rachel September 26, 2009 at 9:22 am #

    This looks very interesting. My family uses as much organic food products as possible. We use (already ground) organic flour, evaporated cane juice, natural honey, and many other organic ingredients in our cooking. This would be interesting to try, especially since my sisters and mother and I love coffee. :) Thank you for sharing.

  23. Emily May 25, 2009 at 5:41 am #

    I made this today for breakfast and it was so good! Almost more like dessert than breakfast. I did substitute 1/2 cup of honey for the cane sugar, added 1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract, and lowered the temp. by 10 or 15 degrees. For the top, I sprinkled on some toasted pecans. Great with a glass of cold milk. Thanks a bunch!

  24. Susanna April 24, 2009 at 4:27 am #

    We made this for breakfast this a.m. and it was nice, but not chocolatey enough (for me) to justify the chocolate and sucanat in it. I guess I had unrealistic expectation since the photo shown looks nearly like a brownie (which sounded like a great way to start the day. :) I even added extra cocoa powder, but it still tasted only faintly of chocolate. Everyone has different tastes, so I’m sure it will be perfect for some families, but just wanted to share our experience since I always rely on comments to help me select recipes.

  25. Amber April 15, 2009 at 1:16 pm #

    Mmmm – this is so good I did a blog post about how mine turned out!

    Thanks for the recipe! And thanks for the soaking instructions. I kept hopping from post to post on here, reading about soaking, then I went and spent about an hour looking at other stuff on the internet about it. You’ve gotten my wheel rolling!

  26. Alyssa April 6, 2009 at 3:41 am #

    I made this over the weekend, and it was delish. I didn’t have any soaked or canidied nuts on hand, so cooked it without. the kids gobbled it up. It was very moist. Thanks again for a great recipe!!!

  27. Erin Wilson April 5, 2009 at 7:53 pm #

    Wow…another fabulous recipe! I soaked about 24 hours in Kefir and they turned out perfect. My Mother in Law was over for the night and she always likes some sort of sweet after dinner. I don’t usually make dessert and was so thrilled to find a recipe that was so healthy and delicious!
    Thank you!

  28. Heidi April 4, 2009 at 7:24 am #

    This looks so good! I just took yogurt out of the freezer to use for this – I will try soaking for the first time.

    I will substitute 1/4 c applesauce for 1/4 c of the coconut oil (which I’ve just started using after reading your site). Applesauce does change the texture a bit but it helps lower the fat & calorie content and keeps it moist – and it’s a good way to use up the dozens of jars of applesauce I canned (and is considerably cheaper than butter or coconut oil).

    Yay! I’m excited!

    BTW, just got Organic Formula mascara on your recommendation and it’s WONDERFUL! It doesn’t hurt my eyes, which I thought all eye makeup would do, so I’d given up.

  29. Tribal Talk April 3, 2009 at 12:38 pm #

    This recipe came at just the right time (and it’s the first thing I have ever made with soaked grains-kind of exciting)!

  30. Natalie April 3, 2009 at 11:24 am #

    I just took a bite of this cake! It is great! My kids love it! I did add one more TB. of cocoa powder to be sure it tasted choclatey enough though. I followed the recipe exactly the same as written other than that. I used kefir as the acid medium and soaked it for about 22 hours. It has a fabulous texture and rose nicely. Also isn’t too dry! Thanks SO much for sharing! I’m thinking I could make these into muffins as well.

  31. Aja April 1, 2009 at 5:37 pm #

    This looks fantastic! I’m definitely trying it tomorrow!

  32. Emily Balling April 1, 2009 at 3:37 pm #

    Hi! I have been using your website as a valuable resource for some time now and this is the first time I am getting around to saying thank you!! I really appreciate your sharing!

    I am just getting into healthy and green ways to simply live, and I am excited for all that I am learning, it feels like a wonderful and worthwhile adventure!

    I made this coffee cake and thought it so divine. I used honey and soaked my flour like you taught, even. (I usually use sugar) I will have to read up more on soaking to see if I should start doing that, as I do make my own whole wheat bread. (I added three extra scoops of cocoa, for good measure :) And the nuts, and coconut oil, it was simply beautiful the way it tasted. Not like the cakes and brownies I am used to, sweet and pleasing, but not so indulgent, I would describe it.
    Thanks again,

  33. Megan April 1, 2009 at 5:09 am #

    Thank you for the recipe! This coffee cake was wonderful.

  34. Tribal Talk March 31, 2009 at 7:34 pm #

    That makes so perfect sense. Thanks for your help. I am so excited about soaking grains and exploring fermented foods!

  35. Cory March 31, 2009 at 6:53 pm #

    When you say cultured buttermilk, is the store bought kind okay? I assumed all buttermilk is cultered, so I am a but confused. Love your blog and congrats on the birth of your son!

    • Lindsay April 1, 2009 at 6:54 am #

      Yes, as long as it says it has been cultured…which I believe is all the standard brands. Cultured products, such as buttermilk, kefir, yogurt, etc are needed to break down the phytates in the flour, which enables you to be able to digest the whole grains better and receive all their nutrients.

      • Kate April 2, 2009 at 12:52 am #

        Instead of buying buttermilk, can you just add a few tablespoons of lemon juice to milk?

        • Lindsay April 2, 2009 at 9:02 am #

          Of course!

          • ashley January 16, 2010 at 12:52 pm #

            the family loved this! i soaked the flour in yogurt (it didn’t say anything about being cultured) but put it in the fridge…it was harder to mix..obviously…so you can leave this (the milk with added lemon juice) sitting out at room temp?

          • Lindsay January 17, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

            Yes, it needs to be left at room temperature in order to break down the phyates that block the absorption of minerals.

  36. Organizing MOmmy (Jena) March 31, 2009 at 5:09 pm #

    Can I ask why you soak.. everything? Are you allergic to grains or something?

    • Lindsay April 1, 2009 at 6:54 am #

      No, I am not allergic to wheat. You can read why I soak grains here.

  37. Tristan March 31, 2009 at 4:59 pm #

    Okay, I baked this tonight and the whole family loved it! I did a few changes in interest of time and what I had on hand: I doubled the recipe and baked in a 9″x13″ pan. I used yogurt but did not soak the flour. I used a mix of sugar and brown sugar(what I had on hand). Also I only sprinkled 1/4c or pecan bits on top as I have some nut haters in my family.

    Thank you for a great recipe! It is the first cake my 4yo son has ever eaten willingly! He’s allergic to eggs and so finding a recipe has always been a challenge, and this was perfect.

  38. Lisa March 31, 2009 at 3:02 pm #

    This looks great – it looks much more ‘chocolatey’ than just the 1TB of cocoa sounds like it would be. YUM!!

  39. Livie March 31, 2009 at 1:24 pm #

    Wow this looks so good. I’m a big chocolate fan but gave it up for Lent. I will be sure to try this after Easter.

  40. Kate March 31, 2009 at 12:04 pm #

    Ok I saw this first thing in the morning. I was on here before you posted it, it’s REALLY scary that you are up late, and I’m just getting up!

    But did you HAVE to post on chocolate w/nuts no less?????? I’m soooo trying to lose weight! You need a warning or something lol.

  41. Natalie March 31, 2009 at 11:55 am #

    Hi — I’m new to soaking grains and this is probably a silly question, but I assume I soak them in the fridge right?? or do I leave them out on the counter. I’m new to your site, but am so thankful you have figured so many things out and I don’t have to re-invent the wheel on so many of these topics. Thanks!

    • Lindsay March 31, 2009 at 12:10 pm #

      No, you are supposed to soak it at room temperature for it to be effective in breaking down the phytates in the grain. Definitely read my soaking post for more information.

  42. Alyssa March 31, 2009 at 11:09 am #

    Wow, this looks delicious!!! I am going to try it this weekend!!! Thanks so much. I am always a fan of a nice chocolate recipe!!!

  43. Lauren Z March 31, 2009 at 11:06 am #

    Thanks so much for including the soaking instructions! I always have a hard time getting things like this to turn out well with soaking. I’ll definitely give this one a try!

  44. Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home March 31, 2009 at 9:57 am #

    That sounds really good. I love making Sue Gregg’s blender coffee cake, but this has inspired me to see if I can adjust it slightly to make it a chocolate one. I think that would be even nicer for when I want to use it as a desert. :)

  45. Shannon Hazleton March 31, 2009 at 9:49 am #

    I’m always disappointed that “Coffee Cake” doesn’t have coffee in it!! :) But THIS one looks delicious. Definitely will try this one.

  46. sarah March 31, 2009 at 8:58 am #

    This looks so good, can’t wait to try it out. Please do share any other recipes you come up with that include soaked flour – I’d love some more!

  47. Tristan March 31, 2009 at 7:48 am #

    does this recipe really have no EGGS???? I will try it! One of my boys is allergic to eggs (deathly allergic) so we don’t have any in the house and I’m always looking for recipes without eggs!
    I’ve never soaked grains before… what is the point? Hmm, well, i should just go seach your site to learn that probably….

    • Emily March 31, 2009 at 9:56 am #

      Whole grains have phytic acid in them, which inhibits your body from absorbing all the beneficial nutrients that whole grains contain. Soaking helps break this acid down so that you can get all the benefits of whole grains.

      Hope this helps!

  48. Brianna @ Heart(h) Management March 31, 2009 at 4:14 am #

    Did you say “chocolate”? I’m so on this one! Yummy!

  49. Tribal Talk March 31, 2009 at 3:51 am #

    How would you soak the wheat, with the buttermilk?

    • Lindsay March 31, 2009 at 5:48 am #

      Buttermilk is your acid medium, so when I say combine flour and your choice of acid medium, you are choosing buttermilk. Simply combine your flour and buttermilk, cover and soak for 12-24 hours. Tada! Does that make sense?