Mexican Chocolate Swirl Coffee Cake

Mexican chocolate makes all the difference in this velvety coffee cake. While its flavor is similar to dark chocolate, it has a distinctive cinnamon accent as well as a grainy texture. The chocolate is sold packaged in disks; look for it in the Hispanic or baking section of the grocery store.

COFFEE CAKE

2 (3.1-oz.) disks Mexican chocolate (Ibarra or Abuelita), cut up*
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2/3 cup slivered almonds
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk

GLAZE

4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 teaspoons unsalted butter

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray.

2. Pulse Mexican chocolate in food processor until almost finely chopped with some large pieces remaining. Add 2 tablespoons of the flour, almonds and cinnamon; pulse 5 to 6 times or until nuts are chopped.

3. Beat butter in large bowl at medium speed 1 minute or until blended. Add sugar; beat 3 to 4 minutes or until light and very fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in almond extract and vanilla.

4. Whisk remaining 2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. At low speed, beat flour mixture into butter mixture in three parts alternately with buttermilk just until blended, beginning and ending with flour mixture (batter will be very thick).

5. Spoon one-third of the batter into pan; spread carefully with back of wet spoon. Sprinkle with 6 tablespoons of the chocolate mixture. Spoon and spread another one-third of the batter; sprinkle with 6 tablespoons of the chocolate mixture. Spoon and spread remaining batter. Run thin knife through batter to swirl. Sprinkle with remaining 2/3 cup chocolate mixture.

6. Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove sides from pan; cool completely.

7. Meanwhile, place all glaze ingredients in heavy small resealable plastic bag. Place in medium saucepan of simmering water; remove from heat. Let stand until melted; knead until smooth. Cut small tip off corner; drizzle over coffee cake. Let stand until firm.

TIP *If you can't find Mexican chocolate in the grocery store, you can order it from MexGrocer.com (www.mexgrocer.com).

12 servings

PER SERVING: 510 calories, 27 g total fat (14 g saturated fat), 8 g protein, 62 g carbohydrate, 95 mg cholesterol, 195 mg sodium, 2.5 g fiber


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