Chocolate Swirl Babka

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Chocolate Swirl Babka

star rating (13) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

Babka is traditional Eastern European Easter bread. This version is a good dessert bread, and it’s great with coffee.

1 cup (8 ounces) water
1/4 cup (2 ounces) milk
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk (reserve the white for brushing on top)
2 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) sugar
3 cups (13 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

2/3 cup (5 ounces) sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
1 tablespoon Instant ClearJel(r) (optional; it keeps filling from overflowing during baking)

2 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) glazing or confectioners’ sugar, or non-melting white sugar
1/4 cup (1 ounce) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Place all of the dough ingredients into the pan of your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Program the machine for dough or manual, and press Start. Check the dough's consistency about 7 minutes after the kneading cycle begins, adding additional water or flour to form a soft, smooth ball of dough.

While the dough is rising, combine all the filling ingredients in a small bowl, and then set them aside.

Shaping: Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, and roll it into a 10 x 14-inch rectangle. Brush it lightly with melted butter, and sprinkle the filling over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border along the edges. Starting at a short end, roll the dough up jelly-roll style. Pinch the ends closed, and tuck them under. Place the loaf, seam-side down, in a lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Brush the top of the dough with the reserved egg white. Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle over the loaf in the pan.Cover with greased plastic wrap (or a proof cover). Let it rise for about 45 minutes; it won’t double in size, but should just barely crown over the rim of the pan.

Baking: Bake the loaf in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until its sides have pulled away slightly from the pan. Remove the loaf from the oven and, after about 5 minutes, remove it from the pan. Transfer it to a rack to cool completely. Yield: 1 loaf, 16 slices.

Nutrition information per serving (1 slice, 72g): 192 cal, 2g fat, 5g protein, 25g complex carbohydrates, 13g sugar, 2g dietary fiber, 6mg cholesterol, 287mg sodium, 149mg potassium, 37RE vitamin A, 2mg iron, 52mg calcium, 81mg phosphorus, 1mg caffeine.

This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. XII, No. 3, Early Spring 2001 issue.


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  • 05/02/2015
  • member-kdcbelle1 from KAF Community
  • Question.....Can I use the KA Cinnamon Filling instead of the chocolate? Thanks!
    I think that would work fine, although it might not be quite as thick of a filling. Barb@KAF
  • star rating 04/04/2015
  • Sharon from New England
  • In the ingredients for filling, no butter is listed. When I got to the stage of putting the filling on the dough, the recipe said brush the dough with butter. How much? It should have been in the ingredient list for the filling. I used 2 Tbls because I thought maybe it was the butter listed in the topping. Now my filling looks a little liquidy. So I am thinking maybe 1 Tbls would have been better. I also had some difficulty getting this out of the pan. I had been careful to spray it lightly like the recipe said. Next time i would just spray it like usual. In the blog, you mention adding 1/2 cup mini chips. Are they added to the filling or added to the dough.? I added mine to the dough. Maybe that is why it was a little tricky to get out of the pan? The butter issue is the only thing that stopped me from giving this 5 stars. The filling is excellent. I will make this recipe again.

    We're sorry that was a bit confusing! Spray as you usually would, and put the chips in the filling next time. We'll get the line about the butter fixed, too. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  • star rating 03/31/2015
  • NC Baker from KAF Community
  • This was fun to make and turned out delicious, but my yeast went a little crazy - it rose so big in the bread maker, and bubbles were forming as I was rolling it out, and then rose again so fast in the pan (second rise) I had to throw it in the oven as soon as it hit 350! It got so big while baking that bits of the streusel fell off and burned on the oven floor, so I called the hotline to see if I did something wrong. The wonderful KAF baker on the other end, as always, was full of good cheer, friendly interest and helpful suggestions - turns out I did everything right, it's just that "yeast is very happy in my house" which was one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me! Next time, she suggested I either cut back on the yeast or rise time, and I will as the taste is incredible but sure enough, when I cut the cooled loaf I had a huge air pocket between most of the load and the top layer of the roll. Great recipe, great suggestions, great learning experience - thanks, KAF, you're the best!
  • star rating 03/25/2015
  • John from Bridgewater, new jersey
  • Outstanding!!!! works very well, used an instant starch for the clear gel had not 1 problem. Maybe loaves can be a little smaller, doesn't really matter 110% well done KA.
  • 03/23/2015
  • Diedre from Pa
  • Can I use the quick dough cycle in my Zo?
    yes, you may. Enjoy! Elisabeth@KAF
  • star rating 08/02/2013
  • babbittjennifer from KAF Community
  • Sooooo good. I have made this several times and the finished product never lasts long in my house!
  • 03/30/2012
  • nlwhite911 from KAF Community
  • is it possibly to use unflavored gelatin in place of the clear gel? perhaps dissolving it in some liquid and then use a tablespoon?
  • 06/04/2010
  • Denise from Ohio
  • This looks delicious!!! I just had a quick question about the size. If the dough is rolled out to a 10x14 rectangle and then rolled up, how does it fit in a 9x5 loaf pan? My dough always seems to get longer when I roll it up. When you tuck under the ends, do you use enough to make it fit the pan? If so, does that cause it to be taller on the ends? Thanks so much for your help! I can't wait to try this!
    When you roll your dough up be careful not to press on it. This way you will not be making it longer. Yes, you tuck the ends so it fits the pan. Enjoy this and have fun doing it. JMD @ KAF
  • 04/05/2010
  • Ky from Chicago
  • if I don't have a bread machine can I still make this using my dough hook in the kitchenaid? Would I still knead it for 7 minutes? Thanks
    Yes you may use your dough hook. You will want to knead till your dough is smooth and elastic. JMD @KAF
  • 03/17/2010
  • Louise from Weston, Florida
  • I did not make this recipe but I have 2 comments. I make babka all the time and it is one my trademark desserts. First, I was surprised this recipe does not have any eggs. Also, Babka is a traditional Jewish dessert - because they emigrated from Eastern Europe.
    Thanks for sharing your babka expertise. We like to publish recipes that meet many baking or pantry needs, in this case no eggs are required to make this delicious bread. Irene @ KAF
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