In the wise words of Jerry Seinfeld “Cinnamon takes a back seat to no babka!” and I think Jerry would be mighty happy with this Cinnamon and Chocolate Babka. Best of both worlds.
A bit like a brioche cake with a delicious chocolate swirl and sweet crumble on top, Babka is the perfect thing for morning tea with a coffee or tea.
There are different types of Babka, this is the Eastern European Jewish version which is a twisted, yeasted cake made in a high loaf tin. A very common item in New York bakeries but definitely a little harder to come across here in Australia. So, give it a go.
Chocolate and Cinnamon Babka
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons plus a pinch of granulated sugar
3/4 cup warm milk (110 degrees)
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
115g unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for bowl, pan, and parchment
1 large egg, lightly beaten for egg wash
1 1/4 cups bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
Make the cake sprinkle yeast and a pinch of granulated sugar over milk in a medium bowl. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Whisk together remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, the egg, and yolk. Whisk into yeast mixture.
Combine flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a mixer. Add egg mixture. Beat on low speed until almost fully combined, about 30 seconds. Switch to the dough-hook attachment. Add butter. Beat until smooth, soft, and slightly sticky, about 10 minutes.
Butter a large bowl. Turn out dough onto a floured surface; knead a few times until smooth. Place in bowl, turn to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Make the filling combine chocolate, granulated sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers until combined.
Punch down dough. Transfer to a floured work surface. Let stand for 5 minutes. Roll out to an 18-inch square (about 1/8 inch thick). Brush edges with egg wash. Spread filling over dough, reserving 1/2 cup and leaving a 1-inch border. Tightly roll dough like a jelly roll. Pinch seam to seal, and fold in half to bring ends together to form a U. Twist 2 or 3 times to “braid.” Butter a loaf pan, and line with parchment, leaving 1-inch overhangs; butter parchment. Transfer dough to pan. Brush top with egg wash.
Make the crumb topping combine confectioners’ sugar, flour, and butter. Sprinkle topping and reserved 1/2 cup filling over cake.
Preheat oven to 350°C. Drape plastic wrap over dough. Let stand in a warm place until risen by half, 20 to 30 minutes.
Remove plastic wrap, and bake, rotating halfway through, until golden, about 55 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°C. Bake until deeply golden, 15 to 20 minutes more (cover with foil if top gets too dark). Transfer pan to a wire rack. Let cake cool.