Babka is a yeasted baked treat which straddles the line between cake and bread.
In my mind, that means that a Chocolate Babka like this splendid example from Cupcakes and Cashmere can be served for dessert or for breakfast (or any time in between). So it’s not a question of when can you eat babka, it’s more when can’t you eat babka.
Babka is an Eastern European treat traditionally baked with either a chocolate or cinnamon swirl. You may remember babka made a special appearance in the TV show Seinfeld. As the bakery has sold out of her beloved chocolate babka, Elaine refers to cinnamon babka as the “lesser babka”. Jerry is outraged at the suggestion and as a lover of cinnamon, I have to agree with Jerry.
There is no such thing as a “lesser babka” in my view – chocolate babka is delicious, cinnamon babka is delicious. And all other babka favors I have tried including poppy seed and raisin, right down to the simple yet satisfying, plain babka, are utterly delicious too. There’s a babka flavor for everyone. A slice of babka with a cup of coffee – bliss.
Be aware that yeasted cakes take longer to make than your usual baked cakes as you have to factor in the time required for the yeast to rise (technically called “proving” or “proofing”). This particular Chocolate Babka recipe takes about 6 hours – although there is an alternate method where you let the dough rise for 8-12 hours in the refrigerator. Not a cake to bake if you’re short of time.
This recipe makes enough for two Chocolate Babka cakes. If you can manage not to eat the second loaf, it can be stored frozen for up to three weeks wrapped in plastic cling film and then foil.
- ¾ cup warm milk (105–115°F)
- ½ cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
- 3 teaspoons active dry yeast (from two ¼-oz packages)
- 3¼ cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
- 2 whole large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1¼ sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream or whole milk
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, well softened
- 2 (3½- to 4-oz) bars fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao if marked), finely chopped
- ¼ cup sugar
- For the full recipe please visit: Chocolate Babka Cake