Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Chocolate, Hazelnut, Cinnamon Babka

Remember the Seinfeld episode called "The Dinner Party"?  It's the one where Elaine and Jerry go to the bakery to buy a chocolate babka, (because "you can't show up at someone's house with Ring Dings and Pepsi."), but the couple before them purchase the last one?  The only babka left in the store is a cinnamon babka and Elaine doesn't really want it because she thinks it's lesser version.  But, as Jerry says: "People love cinnamon. It should be on tables at restaurants along with salt and pepper. Anytime anyone says, "Oh This is so good. What's in it?" The answer invariably comes back, Cinnamon. Cinnamon. Again and again. Lesser Babka - I think not."  If only she'd been able to get her hands on this one, all her babka problems would have been solved.

NOTE: Begin this recipe a day ahead.

Chocolate, Hazelnut, Cinnamon Babka
slightly adapted from here

For the Dough:
2 teaspoons (1 sachet) dried yeast
330g baker's flour
40g caster sugar
A pinch fine sea salt
1 egg
85ml lukewarm milk
90g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the pan
1 egg whisked with a pinch of salt, for egg wash

For the Filling:
100g unsalted butter
190g caster sugar
80g dark chocolate, chopped
40g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
60g roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped, plus about a tablespoon extra for sprinkling

For the Sugar Syrup:
100ml water
100g caster sugar
1 tablespoon glucose

Make the Dough:
Put the yeast into a bowl and pour the milk over, mix with a fork and set aside for 10 minutes to become foamy.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, put the flour, sugar and salt.  Mix on low to combine.  Add the egg, yeast mixture and butter.  Mix on low for 5 minutes, until it forms a smooth dough.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill overnight in the refrigerator.

Day 2:
Make the Filling:
Melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat.  Remove from the heat, add the sugar and stir to mix.  Add the chocolate, cocoa and cinnamon and mix to combine.  Set aside to cool.  It needs to still be a little warm when spreading onto the dough, but not hot.

Make the Sugar Syrup:
Put all the ingredients into a small pan and bring to boil over medium-high heat.  Boil until the sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool.

Make the Babka: 
Grease and line a 23 cm x 13 cm loaf pan with baking paper.  Set aside.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly flour work surface.  Shape into a rough rectangle and roll out to 50cm x 30cm.  Spread the filling over the dough, right out to the edges.  Sprinkle with hazelnuts and using a longer edge, roll up tightly.

Using a sharp knife, cut the dough in half along its length to expose the layers.  With the cut sides facing up, lift one log over the other at the mid-point, to form a cross.  Twist the strands over each other until you have a large plait.  Fold the plait in half, twisting it over itself again, and place it into the prepared pan.  Cover the pan with a clean cloth and leave to rise in a warm spot until double in size, for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours. 

Preheat the oven to 220C.

Brush the top with egg wash, sprinkle with extra chopped hazelnuts and bake for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, turn the pan around and bake for another 10 minutes.  Reduce the temperature to 190C and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and immediately pour the syrup over the hot cake.  Leave to cool completely in the tin before serving.


  1. that is just so beautiful - I want a slice though I know chances of me making it is as slim as the chances of my loaf tin ever being as clean as yours :-)

  2. I've always wanted to make a babka but I always forget. I think it's time. It seems delicious and really nice to make.

  3. Great recipe! What measurement are you using for the dough flour? Is it grams?