This vanilla chocolate babka recipe is made of soft buttery brioche dough and a vanilla pastry cream and chocolate chips filling, fluffy, soft and delicious!
Babka is a delicious East European brioche cake dessert with such a fancy and gorgeous twirled look. It is versatile as the filling recipes are endless and even sweet or savory.
This recipe is for two babka loaves baked in two 9-inch (23 cm) loaf pans.
Click here for my vanilla pastry cream recipe.
Babka may look difficult or delicate to make, it is a bit delicate but not that hard to make! It only takes time, you can’t expect to make a babka and eat it 2 hours later.
To make babka, you need first to make a buttery brioche dough. Brioche dough is best made in the afternoon or evening and chilled overnight, the chilling will help working with it easily. If you are in a hurry, you might make the dough in the morning and chill it at least 4 to 5 hours.
Then the brioche dough is halved, each half is rolled into a large square, spread with the filling and rolled in a log, it is better to chill each log 15 to 20 minutes. Then the logs are split in the length, twirled, arranged into a loaf pan and proofed again until doubled in size, then they’re finally ready for baking.
How to proceed:
One possible mishap: If you don’t roll your log tightly and evenly, it may rise evenly while baking, then deflate in some parts while cooling!
I hope you enjoy this recipe and if you do, please leave me a comment and let me know how it went!
Brioche dough for 2 babkas:
3 3/4 cups + 1 tbsp. (500g) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. (14 g.) active dry yeast
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk
1 1/2 tsp (10 g.) salt
2 sticks (226 g.) butter, cubed, room temperature
Vanilla chocolate chips filling:
1 cup (240 g.) vanilla pastry cream
1 cup (160 g.) dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup (80 ml) water
1/3 cup (70 g.) sugar
1/2 cup pearl sugar
Warm the milk to a little over lukewarm, add the active dry yeast and 1 tsp of sugar, stir and set aside until frothy
Into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add the flour, salt, eggs and yeast mixture, knead at low speed, once the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and knead for 12 to 15 minutes scraping the bowl as needed until the dough forms, it should be firm and not very stretchy
Continue kneading on medium/low speed and start adding the butter in 3 additions, scrape down the sides of bowl as needed, wait for the butter to be incorporated before the next addition
Once all the butter is incorporated, set the speed on medium and knead 5 more minutes, the dough should be smooth and no longer sticky, Form the dough into a ball and transfer it into a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 2 hours or until it has doubled in size
Deflate the dough, again form a ball, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight
You can make the vanilla pastry cream at the same time or the following day, let cool completely and chill until needed
The next day, remove the dough from the fridge, halve it, keep one half and set the other half well wrapped back into the fridge
With a rolling pin, roll out the dough in a square about 1/4-inch-thick and about 12- by 12-inches large (30 cm x 30 cm)
Spread a thin layer of vanilla pastry cream, it’s important to spread a thin layer so as not to soak the brioche. Sprinkle half of the chocolate chips all over the surface and roll the dough out into a tight even log, straighten it out and push the edges in, wrap the log with plastic wrap and chill about 15 to 20 minutes, chilling the log will help slicing it without stretching the dough
Slice the log lengthwise and twist the two halves together, I only make two twists, pinch the extremities and push them under the twisted log
Place the twisted log into a well buttered loaf pan, push the extremities in, don’t worry if the twisted log is a bit “twisted”, it will fit while proofing, cover the loaf pan with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in side at room temperature
Proceed the same with the other half of dough
Pre-heat your oven at 325°F (160°C), bake for 30 to 33 minute or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean of dough bits
Meanwhile, into a small pan, add the water and sugar, bring to boil, boil for one minute, set aside
As soon as the babkas are out of the oven, brush them with all the syrup and sprinkle their tops with pearl sugar
Once all the syrup has been absorbed, remove the babkas from the molds, if needed slide an offset spatula around all sides, and set them to cool on a cooling rack
Enjoy with a good cup of tea or coffee, you deserve it!
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