You can tell the holidays are in the air. Chatter about family plans, and talk of holiday baking may make you want to start preparing early, but how do you choose from all of the delicious options?

 I was forced to make a decision quickly when I was stuck with some chocolate milk that was almost at its best before date. Chocolate milk is typically a household favourite, so it usually doesn’t last long, but it’s nice to have a recipe on hand for those not-so-often occasions when you need to use it up.

 While it’s very easy to find a recipe that uses milk, one using chocolate milk is much less common. This recipe took a little bit of tweaking, but I think I’ve found a nice balance of chocolate and coffee.

 If you’re like most of us Dairy Divas, we love milk, and we also love the festive season. Gingerbread means holidays to us and this Chocolate Café au Lait Coffee Cake pairs beautifully with a gingerbread flavoured steamed milk or latte.

 You can make your own simple Gingerbread Syrup by following these easy steps:

1.      In a medium sauce pan, whisk together 2 cups (500 ml) water, 1 cup white sugar (250 ml). Bring to a rolling boil. Reduce to medium heat.

2.      Whisk in 1 tbsp (15 ml) cinnamon, 1 tbsp (15 ml) ground ginger, ½ tbsp (7 ml) all spice, ½ tbsp (7 ml) nutmeg, and ½ tbsp (7 ml) ground cloves.

3.      Cook over medium heat until mixture reduces by half and syrup coats the back of a spoon.

4.      Heat 1 cup (250 ml) of milk and mix with 1 tbsp (15 ml) gingerbread syrup (and espresso if you’d like a latte).

5.      Store extra syrup in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 2 weeks.

You can also mix this syrup into your favourite morning coffee for a special holiday treat.

 What holiday treat combinations are your favourites at this time of year?

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Chocolate Café au Lait Coffee Cake
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour 5 minutes
16 servings


Crumb Topping

1 tsp (5 ml) instant coffee granules
1/2 cup (125 ml) brown sugar
2/3 cup (150 ml) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp (7 ml) ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (125 ml) cold butter, diced
3/4 cup (175 ml) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup (250 ml) chopped pecans


1/2 cup (125 ml) butter, softened
1/2 cup (125 ml) sugar
2 eggs
1 cup (250 ml) sour cream
2 tbsp (30 ml) instant coffee granules
2 tbsp (30 ml) warm water
2 3/4 cup (680 ml) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp (15 ml) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 ml) baking soda
1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt
1 cup (250 ml) chocolate milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan.
  2. For the crumb topping, in a medium bowl, stir together instant coffee, brown sugar, flour and ground cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly and stir in chocolate chips and pecans.
  3. In a small bowl, dissolve instant coffee in warm water.
  4. In a large bowl beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well until smooth. Beat in sour cream. Beat in coffee mixture.
  5. In a small bowl, stir together remaining dry ingredients. Gradually stir into the creamed mixture. On low speed, begin with 1/3 of the dry mixture then half of the chocolate milk. Alternate, beating well after each addition and ending with the flour mixture.
  6. Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with one third of the crumb topping mixture. Cover with remaining batter. Sprinkle with remaining crumb topping.
  7. Bake for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. If the top begins to brown too quickly, tent with foil and continue baking until done.