” C’mon, Amy, cinnamon rolls are calling us.” Dan put a hand to his ear. ” Do you hear?’Amy ? Dan ? ” he squeaked . ” Come and get my sugary, sticky goodness!”

Jude Watson, Vespers Rising

So it was my elder one’s birthday a couple of days back. Now no one in our family is very fond of butter cream and fondant loaded cakes. Every time there is a birthday, I have to invoke all my creative powers to bake a cake that looks interesting, tastes divine but doesn’t include butter cream or fondant. Now that’s a challenge, right?!

Donuts, eclairs and cinnamon rolls are a few of the baked baked goodies that my kids are crazy after and cakes with similar texture and flavour profile are a big hit with them too.
For my younger daughter’s birthday, this year, I baked mini lemon donut cakes which led me to thinking of baking a Cinnamon Roll Coffee cake for my elder daughter. To make it more birthdalicious I decided to add lots of chocolate to the filling too.

The idea was to make my usual cinnamon rolls dough, fill it with chocolate and bake the rolls tightly fitted together in a round pan so that when they fluff up, they stick to each other and come out as a neat round coffee cake.

When it came out, I danced my little dance-of-joy that I usually do when some recipe turns out even better than my expectation. The Chocolate Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake was golden on top with beautiful chocolate swirls. The cinnamon rolls were nicely sticking together, more like a pull-apart-bread where you could “pull apart” each roll for individual serving. The whole crown-of-a-cake deliciously soaked in a maple and coffee flavoured frosting.

Yes , it took a long time in preparing the dough. Yes, I had to be patient while waiting for it to come out of the oven…but when it did every second of preparing, waiting and being patient was paid off. We couldn’t wait for to try the cake till her birthday, the next day, so we celebrated as soon as the cake was ready and still warm.

Another one of my demons in the kitchen I’ve faced and defeated , so can you !

Ingredients For Chocolate Cinnamon Roll Cake

2 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 package active dry yeast
4 1/2cups all-purpose flour +more for dusting the work top
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup melted butter
1 cup melted chocolate
1 tablespoon instant coffee
1 cup powdered sugar
4 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Ingredients For the Frosting :

2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon instant coffee

This Is What You Do :

In a sauce pan heat milk, oil and sugar till they are scalding hot but not boiling.

Turn the heat off and leave the mixture to come down to lukewarm temperature. Add yeast to the milk mix and leave for a minute.

Add 4 cups of flour and mix everything, cover the dough and leave it to rise for at least 1 hour. After an hour it should be double its size.

Add baking powder, baking soda, salt and another 1/2 cup flour. Mix the dough , cover and refrigerate if you want to use it later on (it will be fine in the fridge up to 2 days) , or start making the rolls right now.

Clean a work surface thoroughly and sprinkle with flour generously. Take the dough and knead it 2-3 times to form a ball.

Flatten it on the surface with hands in a rectangular shape. With a rolling pin, roll the dough thin, maintaining the rectangular shape.

Pour the melted butter over it, then sprinkle sugar, cinnamon and instant coffee, and in the end dribble melted chocolate and spread it out softly with a spatula.

Starting at the end away from you, roll the dough as tightly and neatly in a line towards yourself as you can ( don’t worry it will be messy, some of the mixture will ooze out at the end).

Preheat the oven at 175 degrees C. Start cutting rolls out of the pipe of dough in front of you, 1 to 1 1/2 inch thick.

Grease an oven proof dish, place the rolls in a dish, tightly packed if you want to bake in a cake form. If you want to bake as individual cinnamon rolls, place them with some space between them to allow them to puff up. Bake 18-20 minutes.

For the frosting – Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Whip everything together till a smooth paste like consistency forms (if the paste is too thick add a little more milk).Pour over hot Chocolate cinnamon rolls coffee cake or simply over the freshly baked individual rolls so that it runs into the rolls and covers them from outside as well. Enjoy !

Bake for a special occasion, for weekend brunch or just to enjoy with your cup of afternoon tea or coffee – you will thank yourself for doing it!

Serves 9-12

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