This traditional sweet chocolate babka recipe has become one of our favorite afternoon coffee cake or quick sweet breakfast on the go. Sweet swirls with chocolate and almond filling are just the perfect addition and compliments this sweet bread.
What is babka bread?
What is babka? You must have seen on Pinterest or Instagram thousands of pictures of beautifully risen sweet bread with a hundred of chocolaty swirls. Babka is a dense cake, although it looks a little like bread. It’s a sweet yeast dough filled with fudgy chocolate or cinnamon in layers and baked. It also sometimes has a streusel on top or sugar syrup as a shiny glaze. I have decided to add a bit of almond flour to the chocolate filling to have a bit of twist. And it came out so delicious.
How is babka (sweet bread) made?
The style of baking for this sweet bread is little longer, then for usual yeast dough. You must let rest the dough at one point in the refrigerator overnight. So if you are planning this bread, think about long waiting time of rising. But with all this long time rising and waiting, it’s not a difficult recipe and at the end it comes out delicious and all the work is so worth. If you are in a hurry and want to have babka ready in few minutes, then you must try my version of POPPY SEED & CHOCOLATE BABKA made of puff pastry. If you store puff pastry in your freezer, this recipe is done literally in 1 hour and you have a flaky puff pastry filled with chocolate and almonds.
What filling to choose?
I have chosen to go with chocolate and almond filling. Traditional babka calls for cinnamon and raisins. That also is very delicious. But lately chocolate/almond filling is much more popular in my house. So I stick to this filling. But you may opt for any kind of filling. Such as strawberry jams, streusel filling or simple nuts filling are used in sweet bread babka.
How to make the top of babka shiny
You must be wondering, how come the top of babka is so shiny. I made a little trick with simple sugar glaze to add this shine. And at the same time, it adds a bit of crunchiness, when you take a first bite. This sugar glaze is very simple and it’s made out of sugar and water.
Simmer those two ingredients for 5-10 minutes and it will thicken to syrupy texture. Let the sugar liquid stand for another 5 minutes to cool it a bit. This is where the syrup will thicken even more. But do not let thicken too much. It will crystallize pretty quickly if left on draft or on cooler place.
The glaze needs to be in liquid state to brush it over chilled babka bread. After few minutes o application, it will thicken on the bread and will create sugary crust. Wait until you take a first bite, that slight crunch of sugar crust is so good.
Make a double batch of chocolate babka recipe
It is so worth if you make double of this chocolate babka recipe. Why double batch of babka? You will understand when the first one will disappear under your hands.
If you do not wish to bake both loafs at the same time. You simply freeze the second loaf in airtight container or leave it in the metal loaf pan and wrap it in plastic food wrap. You can freeze it up to 3 months!
And when you feel like having your second babka, take it out from the freezer, place the loaf pan on the kitchen counter and let it prove (this might take up to 6 hours). The dough should double its original size. Then bake it as in the recipe indicated. See for more handful notes in the recipe card!
More sweet recipes
- MINI KOUGLOF ALSATIAN BRIOCHE RECIPE
- CHOCOLATE BANANA BREAD WITH PEARS
- BEST BANANA BREAD
- POPPY SEED & CHOCOLATE BABKA
- HOMEMADE CZECH SWEET PASTRY FRGALE (KOLAC)
These are a few tools and ingredients I recommend for this recipe.
CHOCOLATE ALMOND BABKA
- 8" loaf pan
- 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp (25 g) granulated sugar
- 1 tsps (4 g) instant yeast
- 1/3 cup (90 ml) warm milk 49 C/ 120 F
- 1 large eggs room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1/3 cup (107 g) unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature for buttering a bowl
- 1/2 cup (50 g) sliced walnuts
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1/2 cup (85 g) milk or dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup (80 g) almond flour
- 1/3 cup (80 g) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- 3 1/2 tbsp (40 ml) water
- In a large bowl of a stand mixer, fit the dough hook attachment and combine flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt.
- In another small bowl, whisk together warm milk, eggs, egg yolk, lemon zest and vanilla with almond extract. With mixer on low speed, gradually add milk mixture to flour mixture, beating just until combined.
- Start the stand mixer on low speed and gradually add liquid mixture to the flour mixture. Beat just until combined.
- Reduce the speed on medium and add room temperature butter; approximately 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat until well combined, after each addition and the dough is smooth and elastic (about 3 -5 minutes). Add walnuts and combine.
- Next, butter another large bowl with room temperature butter. Place the dough in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in size. It will take about 1 hour. Knead the dough 5 times with your hands and shape into a ball; return to greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 350 °F (177 °C).
- On the flour dusted surface, knead the dough 4-6 times with your hands and shape into a ball. Return to the greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
- Next day, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it stand for 1 hour on the kitchen counter. Preheat oven to 350 °F (177 °C), butter 8×4-inch loaf pan and line the pan with parchment paper.
- In the meanwhile, melt in a microwave chocolate chips with unsalted butter on 70% power, for 1 minute. Stir the chocolate in half way time. If the chocolate isn't melted, return it back to microwave and repeat the process with 30 seconds interval. Always stir the chocolate every time the microwave stops.
- Add almond flour and sugar to the melted chocolate and stir well. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 10×9-inch rectangle. Spread Chocolate-Almond Filling onto dough and roll it tightly from the wider side.
- Cut the dough lengthwise. Take two pieces of dough and cross them in the middle, with the cut side on top (the filling should be visible) and twist them gently. At the ends tackle the dough behind.
- Place babka in the lightly buttered loaf pan, lined with parchment paper and cover it with clean cloth. Let the dough rise for another 2 hours.
- Place the loaf pan in the oven for 30-45 minutes. Bake until golden or the inside the dough temperature reaches 190 °F (88 °C). Towards the end, you might have to cover the loafs with aluminum foil to prevent excess browning.
- In a small saucepan; simmer water with sugar for 5 minutes or until liquid thickens lightly. Let it stand for 5 minutes, or until it thickens a bit, but not too much. Brush the glaze over the loafs and let stand for another 5 minutes or until the glaze dries. Remove from pans and serve warm.