This traditional sweet bread has become one of my favourite afternoon coffee cake. Sweet swirls of filling with chocolate and almond paste are just the perfect addition and compliments perfectly the sweet dough.
What is babka? You must have seen on Pinterest or Instagram thousands of pictures of beautifully risen sweet bread with a hundred of chocolatey 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.
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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 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.
I have chosen to go with chocolate and almond filling. Traditional babka calls for cinnamon and raisins filling, that also is very delicious. But lately chocolate/almond filling is much more popular in my house, so I stick to this recipe. But you may opt on any kind of filling. I have seen babka filled with strawberry jams, streusel filling or simple nuts filling.
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 crunchy sweetness when you take a first bite. This sugar glaze is made out of sugar and water. You simmer those two ingredients for 5-10 minutes and it must thicken to syrupy texture. You must let it stand for another 5 minutes to cool it down, this is where the syrup will thicken even more, but do not let it crystallize (do not chill the glaze in refrigerator). It still needs to be in liquid state to brush it over your chilled babka cake. Then it will thicken on the cake and will create sugary glaze. Wait until you take a first bite, that slight crunch of sugar glaze has its own magic.
This recipe will give you two babkas of 8×4 inch. Why double 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 can simply freeze the second loaf in airtight container or 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 it in loaf pan, let it defrost and prove (this might take up to 6 hours). Let the dough prove until it double it’s original size. Then bake it as in the recipe indicated.
If you are into the sweet breads like me, you might definitely like also these sweet bread recipes, I have on my blog.
- MINI KOUGLOF ALSATIAN BRIOCHE RECIPE
- CHOCOLATE BANANA BREAD WITH PEARS
- BEST BANANA BREAD
- POPPY SEED & CHOCOLATE BABKA
- HOMEMADE CZECH SWEET PASTRY FRGALE (KOLAC)
You might need this for the recipe
These are a few tools and ingredients I have been using for all my recipes. I trust these brands and I recommend using these in Babka recipe.
CHOCOLATE ALMOND BABKA
Preparation time: 1hr 15 minutes ⭐cooking time: 30-45 minutes⭐ servings: 2 x 8″ loaf
- 4 cups (500 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- 2 tsp (4 g) instant yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) warm milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter; room temperature
- 1 cup sliced walnuts
- 1 cup (160 g) chocolate chips
- 1 cup (125 g) almond flour
- 1/2 (113 g) cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 (100 g) cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) water
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.
- In a small bowl, whisk together warm milk, eggs, egg yolk, and extracts. With mixer on low speed, gradually add milk mixture to flour mixture, beating just until combined.
- With mixer on medium speed, add butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until combined after each addition. Increase mixer speed to medium, and beat until smooth and elastic, 3 to 5 minutes. Add walnuts and beat until combined. Butter a large bowl with melted butter. Place dough in bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 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). Butter 2 (8×4-inch) loaf pans. Line pans with parchment paper.
- Melt in microwave 1 cup of chocolate chips with butter on 70% 1 minute, until melted. Add almond flour and sugar. Mix well.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 20×18-inch rectangle. Spread Chocolate-Almond Filling onto dough. Roll it tightly from the wider side. Cut in half.
- Cut those two rolls lengthwise. Take two pieces and cross them in the middle, with the cut side on top and twist them gently, so the cut side (chocolate filling is visible). At the ends tackle the dough behind. Repeat same with the second roll.
- Place both babkas in the lightly buttered loaf pans, cover with clean cloth and let rise another 2 hours.
- Lightly egg wash both loafs and place in the oven for 30-45 minutes. Bake until golden or the instant read thermometer registers 190 °F (88 °C). Cover with foil to prevent excess browning, if necessary.
- Let cool in pans for 15 minutes.
- In a small saucepan simmer water with sugar for 5 minutes or until liquid thickens lightly. Brush the glaze over the loafs and let stand for another 5 minutes or until the glaze dries.
- Remove from pans and serve warm.
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