Baking a chocolate babka is no casual undertaking. The Eastern European yeast-risen coffee cake has 16 steps and takes 2 days to make. But the results are worth every sugarcoated second – with a moist, deeply flavored brioche-like cake wrapped around a Jubli filling.
Note that you can use as the filling Jubli honey and Jubli Cocoa sesame butter or you can mix that every braid is a different flavor (our favorite). Also note you can make this over a few days instead of all at once. Babka freezes well for up to 3 months, so if you need only one loaf now, freeze the other for later.
prep time | 20 minutes
cook time | 50 minutes
total time | 24 hours
servings | 10
- 5 cups (625g) all-purpose flour
- 1 package (1/4 ounce/7 grams) active dry yeast
- ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 stick (118g) soft butter
- 3 eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten
- 2/3 cup (150ml) warm milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups Jubli® Coco spread or Jubli® Honey spread
- 1 cup dark chocolate, finely chopped
GLAZED SUGAR SYRUP
- 2/3 cup of sugar
- 2/3 cup water
- 2 drops of vanilla extract (optional)
- 3 tablespoons rum / brandy (optional)
- Sift the flour
- In a large mixing bowl pour the yeast, a pinch of sugar and warm milk and let sit for five minutes.
- On a low speed using the dough hook slowly stir in 4 cups of flour, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt. After 3-4 minutes of slow kneading, add the soft butter and increase to medium speed and knead for another 3-4 minutes until receiving a uniform dough.
- If the dough sticks to the side of the bowl and doesn’t come together, add a tablespoon more flour at a time until it does, beating very well in between additions.
- Butter a clean bowl, form the dough into a ball and roll it around in the bowl so all sides are buttered. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place until it puffs and rises, about 1 hour. It may not double in bulk but it should rise.
- Press the dough down with your hands, re-cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight (or, in a pinch, for at least 4 hours, but the flavor won’t be as developed).
- Prepare the syrup: In a small saucepan, combine sugar water Vanilla and brandy. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then simmer for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves.
- Butter two 9-inch loaf pans, then line with parchment paper, leaving 2 inches of paper hanging over on the sides to use as handles later.
- Remove dough from refrigerator and divide in half. On a floured surface, roll one piece into a 9-by-17-inch rectangle. Spread the entire rectangle with a thin coat the Jubli filling (there’s no need to leave a border). Now drizzle chocolate flakes over the filling.
- Starting with a long side, roll into a tight coil. Transfer the coil onto a dish towel or piece of plastic wrap and stick it in the freezer for 10 minutes. Repeat with the other piece of dough.
- Slice one of the dough coils in half lengthwise to expose the filling. Twist the sliced halves together as if you were braiding them, then fold the braid in half so it’s about 9 inches long. Place into a prepared pan, letting it curl around itself if it’s a little too long for the pan.
- Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until puffy (it won’t quite double). Alternatively, you can cover the pans with plastic wrap and let them rise in the refrigerator overnight; bring them back to room temperature for an hour before baking.
- When you’re ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Transfer to oven and bake until a tester goes into the cakes without any rubbery resistance and comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. The cakes will also sound hollow if you unmold them and tap on the bottom.
- As soon as the cakes come out of the oven, brush the cakes with the syrup. You don’t need to use the entire amount of syrup. You want to keep the cake moist and not soggy.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.