Chocolate Babka Recipe – Crunchy Creamy Sweet

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This Chocolate Babka is made with sweet yeast dough and delicious chocolate filling, braided and baked until beautifully golden. This dessert is made from scratch, just like a Polish grandmother would make it!

Thanks to my easy step by step recipe, you can make it and serve for the holidays!

chocolate babka A Chocolate Babka

When it comes to holiday desserts, I tend to put a little more effort. Don’t get me wrong. It still needs to be easy but it needs to look impressive. This Chocolate Babka is just that. If you ever made cinnamon rolls from scratch, the process will look familiar. You could actually use this recipe to make amazing chocolate rolls! The filling is made with real chocolate (not Nutella!), just like a Polish grandmother would make.

Ingredients:

You should have most of the ingredients in your pantry. You can use chocolate chips in place of chocolate.

for the cake:

  • all-purpose flour
  • granulated sugar
  • yeast
  • milk
  • egg
  • butter
  • salt

chocolate babka ingredients 1 Chocolate Babka

for the chocolate filling:

  • semi-sweet or dark chocolate
  • powdered sugar
  • butter
  • cocoa powder
  • vanilla extract
  • cinnamon, optional

chocolate babke filling ingredients 1 Chocolate Babka

How to make Chocolate Babka?

You can make the filling up to 2 days in advance. The yeast dough needs to rise, so please, remember that when planning.

to make the dough:

  • Start by whisking together half of the flour amount and yeast.
  • In a small saucepan, combine milk, sugar, salt and butter. Heat it up over medium-low heat until the butter is almost melted. Whisk until smooth. If the mixture gets too hot, check out my tips below for troubleshooting.

chocolate babka step 1 Chocolate Babka

  • Add milk mixture to the flour and stir in with a wooden spoon until smooth.
  • Add beaten egg and stir in.

chocolate babka step 2 Chocolate Babka

  • Stir in remaining flour and knead the dough for 1 minute on a floured surface.
  • Lightly oil a bowl and place the dough. Let it rise in warm, draft-free place until it doubles. See my tips below for my secret to creating a warm space for the dough to rise.

chocolate babka step 3 Chocolate Babka

to make the filling:

  • Place chocolate and butter (both cut into chunks) in a microwave-safe bowl and heat up in 15-second increments until almost melted. Stir until smooth.
  • Add cocoa powder and powdered sugar and whisk in until completely smooth. See my tips below!
  • Add cinnamon and vanilla and whisk in.

chocolate babka step 4 Chocolate Babka

  • Let the filling cool completely. See my tips how to make it in advance.
  • Roll out the dough. The thinner you roll it out, the more chocolate folds your babka will have. I don’t like to have too many, because it prevents the dough from baking properly. It is a yeast dough and you need to let it bake right.

chocolate babka step 5 Chocolate Babka

  • Roll up the dough, starting at the long side, just like you would for making cinnamon rolls.
  • Slice the roll LENGTHWISE with a knife and cut side up.

chocolate babka step 6 Chocolate Babka

  • Starting at the top, pinch two ends together. Then braid the halves, just like in the photos below.
  • Once you have one long braid, cut it in half.
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chocolate babka step 7 Chocolate Babka

  • Place each half in a loaf pan, lined with parchment paper. Let them rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and bake babkas for 30 to 35 minutes.
  • Brush with simple syrup while still warm.
  • Let your chocolate babka cool completely in the pan before slicing. Otherwise, your layers will fall apart because the filling will be too soft.

chocolate babka step 8 Chocolate Babka

Best tips:

  • I highly recommend letting the butter and egg come to room temperature. If you use cold butter, the milk mixture will be too hot by the time the butter melts and it will destroy your yeast. If you forgot to take it out of the fridge, cut it up into chunks and let it sit on the counter while you get the rest of the ingredients ready.
  • If your milk mixture gets too hot, pour it into another container and let it cool until warm to the touch and then add to flour and yeast mixture. Do not cool it in the fridge.
  • Every time, I make yeast dough (for pizza, focaccia or this babka), I heat up 1 cup of water in a microwave-safe container, until it boils. Then I quickly remove it to the side and place the bowl with dough (covered with plastic wrap) inside and shut the door. Do not turn it on! Just let it sit in the warm environment until it doubles in size. It works every time!!
  • I always sift cocoa powder and powdered sugar if I am adding them to a wet mixture. This prevents clumps from forming, especially from the cocoa.
  • You can make the filling a few days in advance. After whisking until smooth, cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and place in the fridge. It will be good for 2 days. Take it out and let it come to room temperature so it’s spreadable. If it’s too cold, it will give you hard time spreading it over the dough.
  • Most importantly, do not stress about making it perfect. This dessert is the prettiest while rustic. The braid does not have to be perfect, the filling does not have to be evenly spread out. It will still bake wonderfully and it will be delicious. Enjoy the process!

How to keep it from getting dry?

To prevent babka from drying, I recommend brushing it with a simple syrup right after baking. Combine 1/3 cup of water with 1/3 cup of granulated sugar, whisk until the sugar dissolves while cooking it over medium heat. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, then cool while the cake is baking. Brush it with a pastry brush.

Chocolate Babka origin:

Babka is a traditional Polish and Ukrainian dessert. It’s a sweet braid cake made with a sweet yeast dough and chocolate filling. If you have eastern European heritage, you may be familair with this dessert. Chocolate babka was made popular in America, starting in New York City, thanks to the Jewish-owned bakeries. It is very similar to challah. Babka means “grandmother” in Polish.

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chocolate babka Ea Chocolate Babka

How to serve chocolate babka?

I like to serve it just like any cake. It’s delicious with a cup of tea or coffee, like my Pumpkin Spice Latte. Cut it with a serrated knife into thin or thick slices. You can dust it with powdered sugar before serving.

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Storing:

If I know I will be serving the cake the same day, I keep it on my counter. If you need it to last longer, keep it in the fridge. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months, just make sure to use freezer bags or containers.

Variations:

  • cinnamon babka: add 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the chocolate filling
  • nuts and dried fruit: add chopped nuts and dried fruit like raisins, dates, figs, etc.
  • jam: use your favorite fruit spread, jam or marmalade for the filling
  • cinnamon roll: mix softened butter with cinnamon and brown sugar and spread over the dough for the cinnamon roll version

chocolate babka B Chocolate Babka

More holiday desserts:

For more recipes like this one, feel free to browse our Dessert category.

pin it button Chocolate Babka

If you like this recipe and make it, snap a photo and share it on INSTAGRAM! Tag me @crunchycreamysweet so I can check it out and leave a comment!

chocolate babka A 150x150 Chocolate Babka

Chocolate Babka Recipe

This Chocolate Babka is made with sweet yeast dough and delicious chocolate filling, braided and baked until beautifully golden. This dessert is made from scratch, just like a Polish grandmother would make it!

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: Polish

Keyword: chocolate babka, Polish babka

Servings: 10 servings

Calories: 458 kcal

Ingredients

for the dough:

  • 3 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons yeast
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • cup unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg beaten

for the chocolate filling:

  • ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chopped OR chocolate chips
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon optional

for syrup:

  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

Instructions

to make the dough:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 and ¼ cup of flour and yeast. Set aside.

  2. In a small saucepan, combine milk, sugar, salt and butter. Heat it up over medium-low heat until the butter is almost melted. Whisk until smooth. If the mixture gets too hot, check out my tips below for troubleshooting.

  3. Add milk mixture to the flour and stir in with a wooden spoon until smooth.

  4. Add beaten egg and stir in.

  5. Stir in remaining flour and knead the dough for 1 minute on a floured surface.

  6. Lightly oil a bowl and place the dough. Let it rise in warm, draft-free place until it doubles. See my tips below for my secret to creating a warm space for the dough to rise.

to make the filling:

  1. Place chocolate and butter (both cut into chunks) in a microwave-safe bowl and heat up in 15 secon increments until almost melted. Stir until smooth.

  2. Add cocoa powder and powdered sugar and whisk in until completely smooth. See my tips below!

  3. Add cinnamon and vanilla and whisk in.

  4. Let the filling cool completely. See my tips how to make it in advance.

assembly:

  1. Roll out the dough. The thinner you roll it out, the more chocolate folds your babka will have. I don’t like to have too many, because it prevents the dough from baking properly. It is a yeast dough and you need to let it bake right.

  2. Roll up the dough, starting at the long side, just like you would for making cinnamon rolls.

  3. Slice the roll LENGTHWISE with a knife, and expose the cut side up.

  4. Starting at the top, pinch two ends together. Then braid the halves.

  5. Once you have one long braid, cut it in half.

  6. Place each half in a loaf pan, lined with parchment paper. Let them rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size.

  7. Preheat the oven to 350° F and bake babkas for 30 to 35 minutes.

  8. Combine water with ⅓ cup of granulated sugar, whisk until the sugar dissolves while cooking it over medium heat. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, then cool while the cake is baking.

  9. Brush with simple syrup while still warm.

  10. Let your chocolate babka cool completely in the pan before slicing. Otherwise, your layers will fall apart because the filling will be too soft.

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Recipe Notes

  • I highly recommend letting the butter and egg come to room temperature. If you use cold butter, the milk mixture will be too hot by the time the butter melts and it will destroy your yeast. If you forgot to take it out of the fridge, cut it up into chunks and let it sit on the counter while you get the rest of the ingredients ready. If your milk mixture gets too hot, pour it into another container and let it cool until warm to the touch and then add to flour and yeast mixture. Do not cool it in the fridge.

 

  • Every time, I make yeast dough (for pizza, focaccia or this babka), I heat up 1 cup of water in a microwave-safe container, until it boils. Then I quickly remove it to the side and place the bowl with dough (covered with plastic wrap) inside and shut the door. Do not turn it on! Just let it sit in the warm environment until it doubles in size. It works every time!!

 

  • You can make the filling a few days in advance. After whisking until smooth, cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and place in the fridge. It will be good for 2 days. Take it out and let it come to room temperature so it’s spreadable. If it’s too cold, it will give you hard time spreading it over the dough.

 

  • To prevent babka from drying, I recommend brushing it with a simple syrup right after baking.

 

  • Please note, that the nutrition value can vary depending on what product you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use calorie counter you are familiar with.

Nutrition Facts

Chocolate Babka Recipe

Amount Per Serving

Calories 458 Calories from Fat 207

% Daily Value*

Fat 23g35%

Saturated Fat 13g81%

Cholesterol 60mg20%

Sodium 140mg6%

Potassium 218mg6%

Carbohydrates 58g19%

Fiber 4g17%

Sugar 22g24%

Protein 8g16%

Vitamin A 543IU11%

Calcium 52mg5%

Iron 3mg17%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.



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