Saturday, May 17, 2014

Chocolate Babka for World Baking Day

Sunday May 18th is World Baking Day 2014 and they ask the question, Who Will You Bake For?  Who is special in your life that you would like to bake for?  I'm baking Chocolate Babka for my husband Jim, because as a carpenter, his work is very demanding physically, he always puts forth his best and well, he deserves chocolate!

 This recipe's origin is associated with the Eastern European Jewish tradition.  Chocolate Babka is a rich Brioche like yeast cake with a chocolate filling, rolled, twisted and baked in a loaf pan, topped with Streusel.  So now I ask the question, who will you be baking for?


For the dough...

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 egg at room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons butter at room temperature

For the chocolate filling...

1/3 cup (3/4 stick) butter
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour 
2 tablespoons Dutch processed cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon honey
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup chocolate cookie crumbs, ground in a food processor until fine

For the Streusel...

1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract  

For the egg wash...

1 egg
1 teaspoon water
pinch of salt 

Spray an 8 inch bread pan with pan spray.

1.  To make the dough, combine the flour, sugar, salt and the yeast in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.  On low speed, stir to combine.  In a small bowl, with a whisk, combine the egg, milk, almond extract and the lemon zest. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture along with the butter and mix on medium speed until a soft smooth dough is a achieved, about 5 minutes.  Remove the dough from the bowl and form into a ball.  Place the dough into a clean bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.  let the dough rest for an hour in a warm draft free place.

2.  While the dough is resting, make the filling by melting the butter in a small saucepan on low heat.  When melted, remove from heat and allow to cool.  In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, cocoa and salt.  In a small bowl combine the cooled melted butter, egg, honey and vanilla whisk to combine.  Add the egg mixture to the dry mixture and mix until smooth.  Add the cookie crumbs and mix.  Set aside.


3.  To make the Streusel, in a medium bowl, combine the sugar, brown sugar,  salt and flour.  Add the softened butter and vanilla and with your fingers, work together the dry ingredients with the butter until a sandy texture is achieved and the butter bits are all incorporated into the flour.

4.  To assemble the Babka, lightly flour your work surface.  Roll out the dough to a 10 by 24 inch rectangle.  With the long edge facing you, spread the filling over the dough with an off set spatula, leaving a 1/2 inch boarder around the edges. 

5.  Starting at the long edge closest to you, roll the dough up carefully only as far as the middle of the dough, then roll the top edge down to meet the first roll in the middle.

6.  Fold the left third of the dough over the middle third, then fold the right third over the left. 

7.  Turn the folded dough over onto the seam side. Pick up the dough at each end and give it a single twist in the middle and place it in the prepared loaf pan.  

8.  Whisk together the ingredients for the egg wash in a small bowl and brush the dough lightly.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set in a warm draft free place, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  It will be ready to bake when the dough holds a dimple when pressed lightly with your finger.  Reserve the remaining egg wash in the refrigerator for later use.

9.  Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375° F.

10.  Brush the Babka again with the egg wash and spread the Streusel evenly over the top.

11.  Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, turn the pan and bake for another 25 minutes.  Babka should be a deep golden brown color.  Internal temperature taken with a probe thermometer should read 190° when inserted in the middle of the loaf.  Remove from the oven and cool slightly on a wire rack, then remove from the pan and cool completely before cutting.
This ones for you Jim, Enjoy!

My friend Patricia over at Pattern Pattisserie
for World Baking Day posted a fabulous looking 
Twice Baked Banana Cake for renowned primatologist  
and very much admired
Jane Goodall.
Click the links to check out this and all of Patricia's wonderful British inspired baked goods recipes!


  1. That's a perfect looking babka. I will attempt to make it and hope that it comes out looking likes yours!

  2. Thanks Sheryl, I enjoyed making this, I'll admit it was the first time I'd made it. I couldn't wait to see how the swirl would look when I cut into the loaf. lol Do let me know how it came out!