Babka is not a casual cake you can bake in just 30 minutes. Baking this Eastern European yeast cake has many steps to take and will need some hours and love to make it. Even though this won’t keep us from making babka quite often. It’s worth every little crumb of this moist, deeply flavored brioche-like cake wrapped around a chocolate and almond butter filling, then topped with almond shavings.
The first time I ate this yummy cake was when I met Omri’s parents for the first time. His mother Yaffa brought us 3 (yes 3!!!!) babka’s all the way from Israel. This meant we ate babka for breakfast and with coffee for weeks. It was actually sad when we finished its last crumbs. There was no other way than for Omri to make babka himself.
It’s said that babka originated in the Jewish communities of Poland and Ukraine. One of the stories tell it appeared first during early 1800 when Polish housewives filled the extra challah dough with cinnamon or jam and then twisted it and baked along with the challah for Shabbat.
Babka is a sweet breaded bread cake and is very popular in Israel. It is prepared with a yeast-leavened dough and rolled out and spread with a filling of chocolate, cinnamon, fruit, or even cheese and then rolled up and braided before baking.
Organic Almond Butter
We have made many variations but this one is considered as a favorite. We spread the yeast dough with a layer of organic almond butter and a second layer of Nutella and topped with almond shavings. The combination make this variation crispy, sweet and creamy. It’s one to love that is for sure!
In this recipe we used Little Monkey Bio Almond Butter. We love to support local produced Portuguese brands like Little Monkey Butter. This almond butter is our favorite, it’s made from pure organic Portuguese almonds. They have many more flavors like crunchy peanut butter, cashew butter, almond butter and macadamia, mix of dry fruits and a mix of peanut butter and cocoa. They’re all very interesting flavors to play with in this recipe!
Almond Butter & Chocolate Babka
- KitchenAid RRK150WH 5 Qt
- English Cake Pans
- ½ cup whole milk
- 7 grams dry yeast
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 600 grams flour we like to use a mix of self rising and all purpose flour
- pinch salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean
- 3 eggs from one egg you only use the yolk
- 140 grams unsalted softened butter
- almond butter
- nutella or any other kind of filling you like
- almond shavings
- 100 gram sugar or honey or agave
- ½ cup water
- 1 slice lemon
- In the bowl of your Kitchen Aid add flour, yeast and sugar. Mix it with a spoon. Turn the mixer on and slowly add the milk (not all at once). It needs to be incorporated really good. Add the vanilla extract and then the eggs one at the time (2 full eggs and 1 yolk). Mix it all together for about 2-3 minutes. Add a pinch of salt.
- Cut the butter (which need to be really soft) into cubes. Add one cube at the time to the mixture while it's still mixing. Once all the butter is added and incorporated within the mixture keep on mixing until you have a good solid dough that isn't sticky and leaves the bowl clean.
- Make a bowl out of the dough. Leave it in a bowl to rest for about 2 hours until it has doubled in size. Cover it with plastic and cover it with blankets or towels in a warm place.
- Prepare two English cake pans with butter.
- After the dough is fully risen, slightly flour a work surface. Cut the dough into 2 or 3 pieces (depends on how many cakes you make). Shape every piece into a rectangle with a roller. Thickness of 2.5 cm to 10 cm length.
- Generously spread the dough half with Nutella and half with almond butter. Sprinkle the almond turnips on top. If you find the spread you use too thick, you can put the jar in hot water to make it softer.
- Now you're going to roll the dough by first holding it on the edges and roll it tight. Try to keep the roll even. Yes you will get dirty, it's part of the deal. Once you are done rolling, cut the roll in the length (vertically) in the middle from top to bottom.
- Turn the rolls with the cuts facing up, so you can look inside. Start braiding it but make sure the cuts are always facing up.
- Fold the edges inwards so the ends will be round shaped.
- Give the edges a little bump. You can't just lift it and put it in the cake pans. You need to lift it from the edges and try to give it a little belly on top by putting them together so it will fit in the cake pans and not be squeezed too much. It needs to stay airy.
- Cover the cake pans with moist towels and let it rest for another 30 minutes. The cake needs to grow itself into the pan.
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees and boil some water. When the cakes are ready you put them in the middle of the oven. In the lower section add a pan filled up halfway with boiling water. Bake the cake between 40-45 minutes. In the last 5 minutes remove the hot water from the oven.
- While you let the cakes cool down for 5 minutes you make the syrup. Mix water, sugar and the lemon slice until the sugar in a pan and bring it up to a boil until the sugar is dissolved
- Use a brush, drop it in the syrup and brush the cakes generously. You can sprinkle it with more almond shavings if you want.
- Important: let the cake rest 1-2 hours in the pan. Don't cut it out yet. Otherwise the chocolate will run out. The cake is still cooking and give it time to become the most delicious babka ever!
This section contains affiliate links to products we love and used for making his recipe.