Chocolate French Coffeecake

One of my earliest memories in the kitchen is of my mother's mother, my grandmother Lillian, preparing this rich, chocolate coffeecake. Granny Lil was a terrific baker and cook, renowned for her cooking, her sweet personality, and her lovely voice. She was always preparing special, and highly caloric, dishes for me "to put some meat on those bones." At one of my bridal showers, she included this recipe with several baking pans to help me get started in my own kitchen.


Oven Temp: 350°F., 45 minutes
Yield: 9" Bundt pan

Reserve 1/4 cup evaporated milk. Add water to remaining milk to make 1/2 cup. Combine with sugar, salt, and egg yolks in a large mixer bowl. Beat well. Add butter and 2 cups of flour. Beat until smooth. Sprinkle yeast into warm water; stir until dissolved. Add yeast and 1 more cup of flour to the first mixture. Beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. Blend in remaining 1.5 cups flour. Cover, and let rise until double. Heat reserved 1/4 cup evaporated milk in the microwave, just to boiling. Add chocolate pieces and cinnamon, and stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature. Punch down dough. Turn out on well-floured surface. Knead lightly a few times, and roll into a 10" by 15" rectangle. Spread with chocolate mixture; roll up from long side like a jelly roll. Place roll seam side down in greased pan. Press ends together to seal. Sprinkle with the topping mixture. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double in bulk. Bake for 45 minutes.

This cake freezes quite well and remains fresh at room temperature for about 3 days. It's a beautiful and delicious cake to serve for a brunch.

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