I rarely set out to find exact recipes for original restaurant foods, but as soon as I had a bite of my friend’s chocolate cinnamon bread from Starbucks, I knew I had to replicate it. Literally, it was my first reaction – ‘I have to find this recipe!’ I haven’t tried too many pastries from the coffee megachain simply because no matter how tempting, I find it hard to justify spending $3 on a muffin. But now, since my discovery of the original Starbucks recipe, I can pretty much have it whenever I want. For half the cost? Maybe less…
The ‘bread’ in the recipe title is not very accurate because the texture of this loaf is dense and moist, more like a rich chocolate pound cake. Chocolate and cinnamon aren’t two flavors that I would normally think to marry, but it works perfectly in the cake and its cocoa-cinnamon sugar topping (the best part)! I almost halved the recipe to just make one loaf – let’s just say that going with the full amount was one of my better life decisions.
While searching for this recipe (which apparently was freely given out at Starbucks stores several years ago), I discovered that Chef Marcus Samuelsson (of Top Chef, Iron Chef, and Chopped fame) developed this recipe for Starbucks. Yeah, the guy can cook a state dinner for Obama and also make a killer chocolate cake to go with your coffee – incredible. The only adjustment I made was to use half a cup less of sugar, and it was definitely still sweet enough. Make sure you use dutch-processed cocoa to get that deep color and flavor.
Recipe: Starbucks Chocolate Cinnamon Bread
For the Chocolate Batter –
- 3 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2½ cups granulated sugar
- 5 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 cups flour
- 1 ¼ cup dutch processed cocoa (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla
For the Cocoa Spice Topping –
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp dutch processed cocoa
- Pinch of ground ginger
- Pinch of ground cloves
- ¼ cup turbinado (coarse) sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans and line the bottom of the pans with overhanging sheets of parchment paper for easy removal.
- Make the Chocolate Batter: In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar with the paddle attachment on medium speed, until light and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating until each egg is completely incorporated before adding the next and scraping down the sides of the bowl several times.
- Meanwhile in a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, water and vanilla. With mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to butter, beginning and ending with the flour and beating just until blended. Divide the batter between the two pans, shake the pans to even the tops and set aside.
- Make the Cocoa-Spice Sugar Crust: In another small bowl, whisk together the sugars, cinnamon, cocoa, ginger and cloves. Sprinkle the surfaces of both batters with the cocoa sugar mixture, dividing evenly.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool completely, run a thin knife around the sides to release the breads and remove from pans.
Number of servings (yield): 2 loaves
Slightly adapted from Chef Marcus Samuelsson