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This chocolate cinnamon bread is a Starbucks copycat recipe worth making at home! A crunchy sugary topping gives way to moist chocolate bread scented with cinnamon. Just add your favorite cup of coffee!

Chocolate cinnamon bread loaf slices with coffee and bowl of cinnamon sugar
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Starbucks has this way of sucking you into their store. They have yummy drinks and they also have really good pastries. I mean, the lemon pound cake has got to be one of my favorites, and this chocolate cinnamon bread was another before they took it off the menu. (Sigh.)

Chocolate cinnamon bread was one of Starbucks’ holiday treats, and I was eager to see it back on the menu this year…until I realized all of the other holiday items were available again, but the chocolate cinnamon bread still wasn’t. Luckily, the original recipe was posted in 2013, so whether it’s your fave or you never got a chance to try it, you can make it yourself at home.

What I love most about this bread is the crunchy sugary topping and the cinnamon that is just enough to add warmth without being cloying about it. This bread reminds me of the holidays and hot chocolate and all of the other flavors we associated with this time of year.

Half-sliced loaf of chocolate cinnamon bread

What You’ll Need

No unexpected ingredients here! In fact, you probably have a lot of these in your pantry already.

For the bread:

  • Unsalted butter – At room temperature to help it cream and blend easier.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Eggs – Your eggs should also be room-temperature.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Dutch-processed cocoa – Dutch-processed cocoa is less acidic than natural cocoa powder.
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Kosher salt
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Buttermilk – You can make your own with whole milk and lemon juice or white vinegar if you don’t want to buy it. Just place a tablespoon of the acid in a measuring cup, then fill it with milk up to the 1 cup mark. Stir and let it sit until the mixture curdles.
  • Water
  • Vanilla extract

For the crunchy sugar topping:

  • Granulated sugar
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground ginger
  • Ground cloves
  • Sugar sparkles – Or another type of coarse sugar.
Stack of chocolate cinnamon bread slices on piece of parchment

How to Make Chocolate Cinnamon Bread

Note that this makes two loaves, so if you want only one, press the 1/2 button on the recipe card!

Prepare. Preheat oven to 350ºF and line two 9×5 loaf pans with parchment paper. Use enough that the paper hangs from both sides for easy bread removal.

Make the topping. In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar and spices. Don’t add the sparkle sugar yet.

Mix the dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; whisk to combine.

Combine the butter, sugar, and eggs. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar for 2 minutes, or until it’s light and fluffy in texture. Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Mix the wet ingredients. In a third bowl, whisk the buttermilk, water, and vanilla extract.

Finish the batter. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to the bowl of the stand mixer, alternating between the two and mixing at a low speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix until just combined.

Assemble. Divide the batter into two prepared loaf pans, followed by the topping mixture. Sprinkle the sparkle sugar on top.

Bake. Place the pans in the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.

Cool. Let the bread cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then pull up on the parchment paper to remove the loaves from the pans. Let them finish cooling on a wire rack before cutting.

Stack of chocolate cinnamon bread slices

Tips for Success

Here are some tips to help you make perfect chocolate cinnamon bread!

  • Don’t over-mix. As with all quick bread recipes, it’s important to mix juuuust until the dry ingredients are incorporated. This will yield a lighter, fluffier, softer bread.
  • Make it your own. This recipe is great as-is, but you could add chocolate chips or chopped nuts to the bread batter if you like!
  • Use good cinnamon. If you open your jar of cinnamon and you have to try really hard to smell anything, odds are, it’s past its prime. You should be hit with the aroma of cinnamon as soon as you open it up! Since cinnamon is one of the key flavors here, you want to use a good one.
Slices of chocolate cinnamon bread on parchment-lined baking sheet with mug of coffee

How to Store

You can store this bread in an airtight container (or tightly wrapped) for up to 5 days.

Can This Be Frozen?

Yes, this bread freezes well! Wrap it tightly in a layer of plastic wrap, followed by a layer of foil, then freeze it for up to 3 months. Let it thaw at room temperature before serving.

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4.60 from 10 votes

Starbucks’ Chocolate Cinnamon Bread

This Starbucks Chocolate Cinnamon Bread copycat is SO good, with a crunchy sugar topping and warm cinnamon flavor!
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 2 loaves

Ingredients 

  • 1 ½ cups (341 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups (600 g) granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cup (108 g) dutch-processed cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (237 ml) buttermilk
  • ¼ cup (59 ml) water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping:

  • ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground ginger
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • ¼ cup (50 g) sugar sparkles, for decorating

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350 °F (177 °C). Line two 9×5 loaf pans with parchment paper with enough that they are hanging off both sides for easy bread removal.
  • In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the topping EXCEPT the sparkle sugar. Set the topping mixture aside.
  • In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Then add in the eggs, one at a time, incorporating them well after each addition.
  • In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, water, and vanilla extract.
  • Alternating between the dry mixture and the buttermilk mixture, add the contents to the bowl of the stand mixer, mixing at a low speed. Mix until ingredients are well incorporated. You may need to scrape down the sides of your bowl once or twice.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the two prepare loaf pans. Divide the topping mixture between the two loaves then sprinkle the sparkle sugar on top.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes (or longer). Use a toothpick and insert it into the middle of the bread to check for doneness. The toothpick should come out clean when bread is done.
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes before pulling up on the parchment paper to remove the bread from the pan and letting it cool completely on a wire cooling rack. Let cool before slicing.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Notes

Source: Starbucks

Nutrition

Serving: 1Loaf, Calories: 2580kcal, Carbohydrates: 493g, Protein: 32g, Fat: 49g, Fiber: 24g, Sugar: 374g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

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98 Comments

  1. I too LOVED this treat (along with the red velvet cup cakes and red velvet loaf). Starbucks, however, has this annoying habit of keeping the mediocre products and getting rid of the good products (lemon pound loaf). I am grateful that you posted this recipe for me to recreate.

  2. Ah-Mazing loaf cake! I made this (2 loaves) for 2 Christmas parties, and I received rave reviews from our guests. Make this! A few notes:

    -I made these a week before Christmas to travel out of state. I froze them in plastic wrap and then (gently) in foil, and they thawed perfectly. Even the raised craquelin-like top came out perfect.
    -I didn’t have “sparkle” sugar, and the top was crisp and still very pretty, even after freezing and traveling in a cooler.
    -I used the traditional cocoa powder (Hershey’s).
    -I only have one bread pan, so I risked letting the batter for the second loaf sit at room temp while the first loaf baked and cooled, and the second loaf turned out the same as the first (yay!)
    -The loaves took just over 60 minutes to bake…every oven is different as are altitudes, so just keep checking them.
    -As an aside, I made vodka/brandy soaked clementines with similar spices a few months ago, and boy did they pair perfectly with this cake.

    This is such a delicious, warm recipe. I’m going to make 2 more loaves this week to use up the buttermilk and keep in the freezer. A keeper! Have patience when baking and check often!

  3. This is THE most confusing recipe I’ve ever read….thinking I was making TWO loaves, it ended up being for FOUR!! Please change it and eliminate the 1/2, 1x, 2x, 3x choices and just stick to a recipe for ONE loaf; if someone wants more, then they can double it themselves.

    1. hi Sandra, i’m sorry this was confusing to you and i will consider changing the recipe. i do want to point out throughout the blog post and in the recipe card (the servings) it says it makes two loaves. if you hit 2X then you should’ve seen that the serving/yield changed to 4 loaves. i understand how it could be confusing and overlooked so i appreciate your feedback.

  4. Hello – I actually picked this recipe up at the counter of a Starbucks about 10 years ago when they used to give them away. I have their banana bread recipe also. My question on this one is why does it sink in the middle. I’ve made this for years and it always sinks.
    Thanks for any help