Tsoureki-Chocolate Cake (Tsoureki)

35 minutes
20 slices

For the “tsoureki” dough:
1/4 cup & 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 cup lukewarm water
1/2 tablespoon dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm milk
2 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour, more or less
1/8 tablespoon mahleb powder
1/4 tablespoon mahleb kernels
1/3 cup water, for boiling the mahleb kernels
1/8 tablespoon mastic powder
pinch of vanilla powder
pinch of salt
2 eggs at room temperature
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice, at room temperature

For the chocolate filling:
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skin removed
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, liquid form
1 egg
28 grams semi-sweet chocolate, melted

1. In a small bowl, stir together the yeast, 1/8 cup of lukewarm water and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar until the yeast and sugar have dissolved. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise for ten minutes until frothy.

2. In another bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.

3. In a small pot on the stove, boil 1/3/ cup water and the whole mahleb kernels. Once the water has boiled, take 1 tablespoon of the boiled water and let it cool (until lukewarm temperature) in a small bowl.

4. In another bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of orange zest in a mixer on high speed for 7 minutes until the mixture appears creamy.

5. In another bowl, stir together the melted butter and the milk.

6. Make a small dip in the middle of your dry ingredients. Then add the yeast mixture, creamed sugar mixture, milk mixture, 1 tablespoon lukewarm mahleb water and orange juice and begin to mix the ingredients with your hands until a soft dough is formed. You may not need all the flour, or you may need a little more for a soft dough to form. Vigorously knead the dough for ten minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. If the dough sticks to table, add a little more flour. Place the dough in a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and a blanket and let it rest for 2 hours, until it has doubled in size.

7. Just before the dough is ready, make the chocolate filling. Add the hazelnuts and sugar into a food processor and grind the hazelnuts until a paste is formed (about 3 minutes). Then add the hazelnut oil, egg, vanilla and melted chocolate and process until smooth (about 1 minute).

8. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 1/2 an inch thick. Spread the chocolate filling all over the rectangle. Begin to roll up the dough. Once you have formed a long roll use a serrated knife to cut the long roll into 16 one inch thick rolls.

9. Butter and flour a large bundt pan. Arrange 8 rolls in the bottom of the bundt pan, ensuring that they overlap each other. Repeat with a second layer on top of the bottom layer. Cover with a kitchen towel, and let rise for 1 & 1/2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.

10. Preheat your oven to 160C. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove and let cool for 20 minutes in the bundt pan. Then remove cake from the bundt pan and let completely cool. Decorate with sifted icing sugar and serve.

Just a quick post to say this is my latest recipe for Taste Magazine – their Easter issue. We are getting pretty close to Greek Easter (Cypriot Easter you could call it too I guess). It’s the weekend of 30 April and 1 May. I am baking a little earlier than usual this year for various reasons. This cake I made for Taste Magazine – I wanted something a bit different, so I combined a classic “tsoureki” recipe with a homemade chocolate-hazelnut spread and made it into a bundt-cake form. What I love about this month’s article, is that there are two recipes here for your choice – follow the traditional if you wish, or follow the bundt-cake version. Both are great. I am a purist, but I have to say I enjoyed the cake! Happy Easter everyone. If you are looking for more Cypriot recipes, I will probably share some on my facebook page next week.

TIP: If making traditional “tsoureki”, follows steps 1 to 6. After step 6, shape your dough into two large braids and place on a baking tray. Cover the braids with a tea towel and let them rise for 1 & 1/2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size. Before placing the braids in an oven, brush the braids with egg wash (one egg beaten with one teaspoon water). Bake in a preheated oven at 160C for 30 to 35 minutes. Remember, the trick to getting a shiny smooth crust is to knead the dough (do not punch it) until it is smooth and elastic and to ensure that you let the dough rise, so don’t skip these steps!

TIP: When you remove the cake from the bundt pan, it will not be shiny like braided “tsoureki”. In order to make the cake look pretty, simply sprinkle icing sugar on top. Slice the cake before serving, as the slices will show off the wonderful swirls.

TIP: I found the bundt cake is best enjoyed the day after it is made. If you want an extra special touch, sprinkle each slice with chopped candied oranges. This will really bring out the orange flavour of the “tsoureki”.



  1. I’m confused about what to do after step 8 and how this turns into a bundt cake? Do you put the 16 one inch rolls into a bundt pan and then bake? At what temperature and for how long? I’d like to make this for Easter this weekend but I feel the recipe isn’t finished! Please help! Thank you!

        1. Alithos Anesti! One more tip, when I remove the cake from the oven, I removed it from the pan just to make sure it had cooked. But because I wanted to have a little more colour, I put it back in the oven for about 5 minutes upside down without the pan. You don’t have to do this, but I liked having a little more golden-brown colour on the cake for the photography! Happy Easter!

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Cyprus Cuisine

“Cyprus Cuisine”, published by Whitecap Books in 2021, is now available for purchase. Christina Loucas shares over 80 recipes that showcase the very best of Cypriot cooking.

Cyprus Cuisine