If you are a big fan of pastries, you may have heard of Babka. Babka is a brioche-shaped bread made from a special rich dough filled with chocolate or cinnamon. This cake comes in many variations that are primarily different based on their fillings.
Here we present you with a flavorful and moist chocolate babka wrapped around a dark and fudgy filling. Following this recipe, every bite of the final cake will be buttery and soft. The scene of a warm piece of cake topped with chocolate or nuts for extra crunch and accompanied by a warm cup of coffee is irresistible.
Babka is notorious for its complicated recipe. But keep in mind that you can make this sweet loaf over a few days instead of one day. Babka dough can remain in a freezer for up to 3 months, so if you want to make just one loaf, freeze the other one for the next baking, and try it with different fillings.
Not only is the dough freezable, but also you can freeze the baked cake perfectly for up to one month.
First, let’s prepare the dough. Put yeast, flour, salt, and sugar into a dry, clean bowl. Mix all the ingredients with a hand mixer or a standing mixer with the dough hook. Add water and eggs to the mixture. Mix for 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed with your electronic mixer.
It is now time to add a few butter cubes to the dough and mix at low speed until incorporated. Then, raise the speed to medium and mix for ten minutes until you reach a smooth, shiny, and elastic dough. If the dough sticks to the sides of the bowl, scrape the sides down.
Dust your hands with some flour and bring a big clean bowl. Use a clean brush to oil the surface of your bowl and prepare it for transferring the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for half a day or overnight to let the dough rest. Because the dough will harden at a low temperature, this process should not take too long. You can work on the dough around an hour or half an hour before baking.
Line the sides and bottom of a loaf pan and spray it with oil. By doing so, the babka will release easily.
Bring a saucepan and add butter, heavy cream, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and chocolate. Let them boil over medium heat. After that, reduce the heat. You need the final mixture to be completely melted and smooth. Chocolate sauce becomes thick and spreadable as it cools. For extra gooeyness, put it in the fridge.
Cut the dough in half. Save the other half for later, or make two cakes with different fillings. Dust your work surface with some flour and roll out the dough. Then spread it to a rectangle of 40×30 centimeters. Use a spatula and pour half of the prepared chocolate filling on the dough. With both hands, roll up the dough.
Before baking the dough, you should braid it. Slice your bread lengthwise with a serrated knife to give it the brioche look.
Divide the thicker log again into two. The dough and filling layers should be visible lengthwise. Press the halves’ ends together with the cut sides facing up. To braid the dough logs, lift the right half over the left half and create a simple two-pronged plait. Squeeze the other ends of the dough gently.
When you are finished, transfer the cake into the loaf pan very carefully. If you see gaps at this stage, don’t worry. The cake will rise in the pan. You just need to cover the loaf pan with plastic wrap and let it rest for 1 hour at room temperature until the cake is doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 175°C (347F). Put the plastic cover of the dough away, and place the cake on the middle rack of the oven. Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes, until the top turns golden brown.
For this cake, you need sugar syrup as well. It will be poured all over the baked cake, and you will have enough time to prepare it while the cake is inside the oven. Mix the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Do not extra-boil the mixture. Remove it from heat as soon as the sugar dissolves.
Bring it out of the oven and brush chocolate babka all over the top with the prepared syrup. Leave it on a wire rack to get cold, then remove it from the pan. Serve the sliced cake warm or at room temperature with a cup of coffee and enjoy.
When making the dough, you can omit the water and replace it with milk or a water and milk combo.
If you want your cake more crunchy, add ⅔ cup of chopped pecans or other favorite nuts on top after brushing the syrup.
If it is difficult to spread the chocolate due to its firmness, warm it up in the microwave for some seconds. Do not use hot filling because it can raise the temperature of the dough.