Spiced Chocolate-Orange Pull-Apart Loaf

Bake this easy, festive loaf from scratch for a holiday brunch treat.

Spiced Chocolate-Orange Pull-Apart Loaf

Fred Hardy

Prep Time:
35 mins
Cook Time:
0 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 15 mins
1 loaf

Not only is it fun to pull apart the layers of this chocolatey treat, but the bread's structure also makes for an irresistibly tender and light loaf. Festive spices like cardamom and cloves flavor the homemade spiced dough, while the orange zest is subtle enough to offer just a little citrus flavor. The pull-apart bread is best served right out of the oven while the top crust is crisp and the chocolate is warm and melted. But you can get ahead of the game and make the dough the day before. Let it rise in the refrigerator overnight, roll it out in the morning, and let it puff up once more in the pan before popping it in the oven.



  • 3 cups all purpose flour, plus more for work surface

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 1/4 oz. envelope instant or quick-rising yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)

  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1/2 tsp cardamom

  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves

  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

  • 1 tbsp orange zest

  • Cooking spray


  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 tbsp cocoa

  • 1 tsp cardamom

  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, very soft

  • 3 oz. dark chocolate, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)


  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

  • 2 tbsp whole milk


  1. Make Dough: Beat flour, sugar, yeast, salt, cardamom, and cloves with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on low speed until combined, about 15 seconds. Add eggs, milk, butter, and orange zest; beat on low speed until a shaggy dough forms, about 30 seconds. 

  2. Scrape down sides of bowl and switch to dough hook attachment. Beat on low speed until dough is soft, elastic, and shiny, about 10 minutes. (Dough should be sticky; do not add more flour.)

  3. Transfer dough to a bowl coated with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place (about 75°F) to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

  4. Make filling: Whisk sugar, cocoa, cardamom, and cloves in a small bowl. Punch down dough and transfer to a floured work surface. Roll dough into a 10-by-15-inch rectangle. Spread butter over dough and sprinkle with sugar-cocoa mixture. Sprinkle with dark chocolate and press down gently. 

  5. Use a sharp knife to cut dough into 5 (3-inch-wide) strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 3 squares for a total of 15 squares. Arrange squares vertically in an 8 1/2- by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray, turning last square inward. Sprinkle any pieces of chocolate that fall off between and on top of squares. Cover pan with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until puffy, 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. 

  6. Uncover loaf pan and place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake until deep golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes, tenting with foil after 30 minutes to prevent overbrowning. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. 

  7. Make icing: Whisk sugar and milk in a small bowl until smooth. Invert bread onto wire rack, then transfer to a plate. Drizzle with icing. Serve warm.

  8. Make ahead: If you want to sleep in a bit, let the dough rise overnight in the fridge. In the morning, bring it to room temperature for a half hour, then go to step 4.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

477 Calories
13g Fat
81g Carbs
10g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 477
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 7g 37%
Cholesterol 68mg 23%
Sodium 73mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 81g 30%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 41g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 1mg 6%
Calcium 49mg 4%
Iron 4mg 20%
Potassium 205mg 4%

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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