This is just the type of dessert you want to have on hand on a rainy, glum day—paired with a steaming cup of coffee, of course—thus, its name. Unlike a typical coffee cake, which is all nuts and cake, I’ve added cocoa powder, which lends an element of surprise and richness. You can make the cake in advance and freeze it, then pull it out on one of those stormy days. This recipe is based on Norene Gilletz’s Best Coffee Cake from The Food Processor Bible.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a nine-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.
To make the topping and filling, in a food processor, combine the pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa powder and process with six to eight quick on-off pulses until the nuts are coarsely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the chocolate chips. Wipe out the processor bowl with a paper towel.
To make the batter, in the processor, combine the butter, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla and pulse for two minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Do not insert the pusher into the feed tube. In a small bowl, dissolve the baking soda in the sour cream. Add to the processor and pulse for three seconds. Add the flour and baking powder and pulse with four quick on-off pulses, just until the flour is blended into the batter. Do not over process, and stop to scrape down the bowl as needed.
Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with half of the topping. Repeat with the remaining batter and topping.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.
Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for one hour before serving. To freeze, invert onto a plate lined with plastic wrap then again onto a serving plate, being careful not to lose too much crumb topping. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, place in a plastic freezer bag, and freeze for up to one month. Thaw at room temperature before serving.