Chocolate Babka

Babka showed up at my grandmother’s house at various times throughout the year, although once a year I could always count on a great big slice – that was after fasting for the day on Yom Kippur.  She also had chocolate cake, but I usually turned that down for the babka.  She wasn’t much of a baker (she spent most of her time cooking at the stove), but there was a really great kosher grocery store down the street where she got all of her baked goods.

When I was older, I remember watching Seinfield one night – and there was a big debate on the show about which was the better babka – the chocolate or the cinnamon.  They determined on the show that the chocolate was superior.  I actually never knew there were two kinds – and I also thought, why wouldn’t you just put cinnamon in with the chocolate?  Since then I have seen babka at the store, and there are definitely two kinds – and I also prefer the chocolate.  It just has a richer flavor – and often I do taste a hint of cinnamon.

I saw this recipe in Cooking Light this month – and of course had to give it a try.  I had never made babka before, so this was definitely going to be a challenge.  I ended up doubling the cinnamon in what was printed, and made a couple other changes as well – but this recipe was fabulous.  When I sliced it open, my husband and I stared in amazement.  I had done it.  I even had my neighbors come over so they could stare at it as well.  The bonus – it tasted even better than it looked.  It was a good day.



  • 1  teaspoon  granulated sugar
  • 1  package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 3/4  cup  warm 1% low-fat milk (105° to 110°)
  • 6  tablespoons  granulated sugar
  • 1/2  teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1  large egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 7.5  ounces  all-purpose flour (about 1 2/3 cups), divided
  • 5.85  ounces  bread flour (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 5  tablespoons  butter, cut into pieces and softened
  • Cooking spray


  • 1/2  cup  granulated sugar
  • 3  tablespoons  unsweetened cocoa
  • 1  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 4  ounces  semisweet chocolate, finely chopped


  • 2  tablespoons  powdered sugar
  • 1  tablespoon  all-purpose flour
  • 1  tablespoon  butter, chilled, chopped into pieces


Dissolve 1 teaspoon granulated sugar and yeast in warm milk in the bowl of a stand mixer; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in 6 tablespoons granulated sugar, vanilla extract, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and egg yolk. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 6 ounces (about 1 1/3 cups) all-purpose flour and bread flour to milk mixture; beat with dough hook attachment at medium speed until well blended (about 2 minutes). Add 5 tablespoons butter, beating until well blended. Scrape dough out onto a floured surface (dough will be very sticky). Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add 1.5 ounces (about 1/3 cup) all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will be very soft).

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let dough rest 5 minutes.

Line the bottom of a 9 x 5–inch loaf pan with parchment paper; coat sides of pan with cooking spray.

 To prepare filling, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, and chocolate in a medium bowl; set aside.

Place dough on a generously floured surface; roll dough out into a 16-inch square. Sprinkle filling over dough, leaving a 1/4-inch border around edges. Roll up dough tightly, jelly-roll fashion; pinch seam and ends to seal. Holding dough by ends, twist dough 4 times as if wringing out a towel. Fit dough into prepared pan. Cover and let rise 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare streusel, combine powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, and 1 tablespoon  butter, mixing with your fingers until it resembles coarse meal; sprinkle streusel evenly over dough. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until loaf is browned on bottom and sounds hollow when tapped. Cool bread in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool bread completely on wire rack before slicing.

 For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, click here:  Chocolate Babka

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine


11 thoughts on “Chocolate Babka

  1. Great result for your first time making it! It looks gorgeous.
    Besides the chocolate and cinnamon, I’m sure you could get a little creative with the flavors as well.

  2. Hi Dawn, your babka looks amazing, a photo is excellent. Funny thing – you mentioned it is your grandmother’s recipe – in Polish the word “babka” has two meanings: 1. a type of cake and also 2. grandmother. :)

  3. I prefer the cinnamon babkas rather than the chocolate. Do you have a recipe for the cinnamon filling without the chocolate? I must say your picture looks fantastic and reminds me of the babkas we used to be able to get at a local bagel shop. Unfortunately, they stopped carrying them so I’ve been looking for a good recipe ever since then. Yours looks spectacular!!

    1. Unfortunately I don’t – but I bet you could use the same recipe and just omit the chocolate, and add just a bit more sugar and cinnamon.

  4. I made this chocolate babka the other night and it was a huge hit with everyone who tasted it! thank you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s