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A copycat from Starbucks, this Chocolate Cinnamon Bread is a rich chocolate bread with a hint of cinnamon, topped with a crunchy cinnamon sugar topping.

Chocolate Cinnamon Bread - A rich chocolate bread with a hint of cinnamon that is topped with a cinnamon sugar crunchy topping.

Originally posted December 19,2007 – I am officially ready for holiday baking!! This next month is going to be filled with all kinds of Christmas goodies, and I’m excited to be bringing a few oldies back to the front as well.

This Chocolate Cinnamon Bread is one of my favorite Christmas treats. I’ve made it pretty much every year since the first time I made it back in 2007. As you can read below in the original post, I used to use regular unsweetened cocoa in place of the Dutch process cocoa that is called for in the original recipe. While it has always worked, the bread would always cave somewhat in the middle. After researching and re-testing this recipe multiple times in the last few weeks, I have come to the conclusion that if you want the bread to work perfectly, you need to use Dutch process cocoa. There is science involved (that I won’t go into because I am not all that great when it comes to science in the first place), but just know that although you will get a delicious bread using regular unsweetened cocoa, if you really want this to be good, use the Dutch process. It was worth sending my husband 2 towns away to the only grocery store I know that carries it by me!!

Chocolate Cinnamon Bread - A rich chocolate bread with a hint of cinnamon that is topped with a cinnamon sugar crunchy topping.

Chocolate Cinnamon Bread - rich chocolate bread with a hint of cinnamon

I keep telling myself that I am going to focus more on recipes from my cookbooks and magazines (to make all of the money I spend on them worth it – right?) but then I see recipes on other blogs and I can’t get them out of my head. This Chocolate Cinnamon Bread is one of those recipes.

I first saw this Chocolate Cinnamon Bread on Baking Bites, but have since seen it on a few other blogs. It sounded delicious, and I had an excuse to make it a few weeks ago. My husband’s aunt and uncle came into town for a few weeks over Thanksgiving. He hadn’t seen them in years, and had fun spending some time with them. On the morning they were leaving, we woke up early to go see them off. The night before, I was in the mood to bake something, and this recipe popped into my mind. I figured it would be nice to bring a loaf of this bread over for breakfast.

This Chocolate Cinnamon Bread recipe makes 2 loaves. I was going to cut it in half, so we had the one loaf to take to breakfast the next morning. I ended up making both loaves, but we had no problem polishing off the second loaf at home that day!! I followed the recipe, except I didn’t have any Dutch Process cocoa, so I used regular cocoa, and it was still delicious*. I also didn’t add the decorating/sparkle sugar to the topping because I didn’t have it.

Chocolate Cinnamon Bread - an easy quick bread with lots of chocolate and cinnamon flavors.

The biggest complaint I have heard from other blogs was that the cinnamon sugar mixture on top doesn’t stay on, and trying to get it to stay on while taking the bread from the pan is quite difficult**. This is true, but since you put a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan, I was able to stick a spatula underneath to get the Chocolate Cinnamon Bread out instead of turning the pan over. You can always leave off the topping, because the bread is sweet enough without it, but I really liked the crunch it gave the bread.

I guess it went over well at my in-laws, because my mother-in-law emailed me the next day for the recipe. I do know that chocolate and cinnamon is now one of my favorite combinations, and there is nothing better than having that smell in my house while this was cooking!!

Chocolate Cinnamon Bread - A delicious chocolate quick bread with cinnamon throughout and a cinnamon sugar topping.

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Chocolate Cinnamon Bread
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A rich chocolate bread with a hint of cinnamon. Topped with a cinnamon sugar crunchy topping.
Serves: Two 9x5 loaves
Chocolate Batter
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature (1½ cups)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ cups Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cocoa-Spice Sugar Crust
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • pinch ground cloves
  • pinch ground ginger
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line two 9x5-inch loaf pans with parchment paper or foil to cover the bottoms and up the sides with at least a 1-inch overhang.** Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In another bowl or liquid mixing cup, combine the buttermilk, water and vanilla.
  4. With the mixer on low, add ⅓ of the dry ingredients, followed by half of the buttermilk mixture, beating just until combined. Add another ⅓ of the dry ingredients, then the remaining buttermilk, followed by the remaining dry ingredients. Divide the mixture between the two prepared loaf pans. Shake the pans back and forth to even the tops, then set aside.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, cocoa, ginger and cloves. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the tops of the batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean, 45-55 minutes.
  6. Let the bread cool completely before lifting out of the pans.
*Dutch process cocoa makes a far superior bread in this recipe. Not only will it help so that your bread doesn't sink on top, but the texture and flavor is much better with Dutch process vs regular unsweetened cocoa powder.

**The original recipe had you just line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. It works much better if you line the bottom and up the sides with a bit of an overhang so that you can easily lift the bread out of the pan without losing the cinnamon sugar topping.

Very slightly adapted from Starbucks.


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44 Responses to Chocolate Cinnamon Bread

  1. Tiffany says:

    I’ve also had this bookmarked for awhile!!

  2. Happy cook says:

    Wow they are just looking delicious. Yeah i too tell the same. That i should use my books more but then i see these delicious recipies in other blogger i have to try them

  3. Gigi says:

    I’ve just printed out the recipe. Your loaf looked sooo good that I have to bake one of my own.

  4. Helene says:

    Thats a big recipe. I wonder how it would turn if I half the recipe. Looks really good. I tend to do the same, take recipe from other bloggers and make them at home. I should start in 2008 to bake more from my own collection.

  5. April says:

    This sounds delicious!!!

  6. Deborah says:

    Helene, if you go to the Baking Bites link above, she has an adaption that makes just one loaf!

  7. Arfi Binsted says:

    I am your opposite. I tend to get recipes from books rather than from blogs. I can read books while watching my kids playing and often get no chance to browse other blogs at daytime, and I have very little time at night. I sometimes feel guilty when I don’t visit and pay the visit back to other bloggers, but I think I have managed so far.

    That bread is delicious. I would be tempted to make a chocolate version like that. I haven’t made any chocolate quickbread. I can imagine the flavour with mixture of spice on top. Amazing!

    Deborah, thank you for being my regular visitor. I know you’ve been a very good one and I do appreciate your attention on whatever I write.

    Happy Holidays!
    arfi binsted

  8. Kevin says:

    Cinnamon and chocolate bread sounds really good. If you can’t get the cinnamon to stay on top you could alway try putting it in the middle. Pour half of the mixture into the pan then the cinnamon and then the rest of the mixture on top.

  9. glamah16 says:

    Looks simple and so sastifying. If I dont ‘read’ you before Christmas, Have a Happy and Blessed One.

  10. eatme_delicious says:

    Happy to hear that the bread worked out well for you Deborah! 🙂 It looks really good.

  11. Emiline says:

    I made this too!


    It’s really good. I didn’t have trouble with the cinnamon-sugar, but I don’t know why.

  12. Caroline says:

    This bread sounds absolutely yummy. I’ve been meaning to make a chocolate bread for a while (sounds healthier than chocolate cake). I should give this a try!

  13. Tai says:

    Holy Cow! That looks amazing! I love the combination of cinnamon and chocolate!

  14. Deborah says:

    Emiline – I knew someone else had made this bread, but for the life of me, I couldn’t remember who it was!! Thanks for reminding me – it has been driving me crazy. I have added the link to your post in my post. 🙂

  15. michelle says:

    I’ve had this one bookmarked for a while, too. I think I may have to make it after the holidays are over. 🙂

  16. Jenny says:

    Yum, I might have to make this for breakfast tomorrow. But maybe I won’t blog about it. Hee hee. I have myself restrained to once a week, so don’t blog everything I bake anyway. But then take pictures in case I run out of stuff to talk about!

  17. Cynthia says:

    Deborah you are such a good baker and cook. Look at how moist this bread is.

  18. Patricia Scarpin says:

    Deb, this bread is on my list, too. And now that I have seen yours… I’ll have to bake it soon!

  19. Hillary says:

    There’s no way anything with chocolate and cinnamon could be bad! Great bread recipe – thanks!

  20. Danny says:

    I’ve made this several times…one loaf for home and one for the office. It’s great bread and I was just named employee of the year!

  21. Jennifer says:

    Ooohhh… What’s not to like about this? Yum!

  22. Nemmie says:

    I have been looking for a loaf recipe to give as gifts, and I think I found a winner! Gorgeous bread, can’t wait to try 🙂

  23. Susan says:

    This looks great, will have to try it. I always make everything in mini loaf pans, I have two different sizes and they’re great as gifts.

  24. kimberleyblue says:

    Oh. My. God.

    So delicious! This is next on my list!

  25. dilla says:

    hi..i just found your blog..!i love it..!! 🙂
    quick question : may i know how many gram is ‘1 stick of butter’?

  26. Baby June says:

    Wow, that looks amazing! Chocolate + cinnamon is such a great combination 🙂

  27. Mercedes says:

    There are few combinations I love more than chocolate and cinnamon, this looks perfect!

  28. Love how soft and fluffy this bread looks! I don’t blame you for making more than one loaf, this would be gone in my house in a heart beat!

  29. Chels R. says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever tried this bread from Starbucks before but it looks amazing.

  30. Taryn says:

    I am wondering if this could be made the night before to have for breakfast the next day…thinking Christmas morning and I know how busy it will be. Is this possible and if so after thoroughly cooling how do you recommend storing overnight?

    • Taryn says:

      And one more question…I am seeing a few different colors of dutch cocoa…brown, reddish brown and black. Is there a difference for this recipe? Thanks!

    • Deborah says:

      Absolutely! I actually think it’s better the next day. I just store it in an airtight container on the counter.

  31. Samantha says:

    Has anyone tried to make this using gluten free flour?

  32. cathy allen says:

    Does the chocolate cinnamon cake freeze well. I want to make them as gifts and give at Christmas time.

    • Deborah says:

      I haven’t tried freezing it, but I’m guessing that it would freeze well. You might want to do a test run just to make sure, though! 😉

      • cathy allen says:

        thank you. I am going to try it. With all the baking I do for the holidays I need to make most of the baked goods a couple weeks ahead for my giveaway packages.

  33. This bread is gorgeous Deborah! Love that crust!

  34. Becky says:

    Found this on Pinterest and just made it for my family. It is a BIG hit! They love it. The cinnamon is very subtle but brings out the flavour of the chocolate. It has a lovely moist texture with crispy crust. As a cake for the Christmas holidays, it is a winner!

  35. Randi T. says:

    I made six loaves of this bread and brought it for church service snacks this morning. I barely made it out to the lobby before people were clamoring for it. I have to tell you that, I have been baking for MANY years, and have even attended as Artisan Pastry School, and THIS is probably one of the top 5 things I have EVER baked. The batter is so smooth and luxurious and the bread comes out perfectly moist and the sugar crust gives it that perfect balance of texture! This is one recipe that will forever stay close and at the top of my go to desserts! And you could not be more right about the use of Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder! It is far superior and gives the bread that beautiful deep dark color and taste! I am interested to know how this batter would do for a layer cake….time for some experimenting! Thank you for this wonderful post!

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