The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Chocolate Babka

MaxQ's picture

Chocolate Babka

One of the things I like about this nice yeasty cake is its versatility. You can fill it with just about anything you can imagine: the lazy amongst us will just spread some berry jelly or apple-sauce, the more adventurous will chop apples, grind walnuts and start mincing cloves. And on top, well, just about anything you can think of. The most popular is a streusel, but I've seen chocolate chips, sprinkles and even whole plums. Me? I like the simple elegance of a chocolate filling and sugar water on top.

I'm not really sure about the origins of this recipe. I got a recipe from my mother who had gotten it from some cooking book. But it doesn't really matter, since I made drastic changes to the original recipe. I altered all of the amounts, and most of the ratios as well. There were some steps that I omitted entirely, and some that I added, and the bake time is about half of what the original recipe called for.

 Day 1


  • 1/3 cup lukewarm water.
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 Tbs yeast

Combine and let sit for 1 hour.


  • 2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup margarine
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Cream the margarine with the sugar. Add the sponge, salt, eggs and vanilla. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes. Gradually add flour until you get a good dough. Mix on medium for 10-12 minutes.
Remove dough, dust  with flour, cover loosely with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge.

Day 2

Take your dough out of the fridge, and let it rest for twenty minutes while preparing the filling.


  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup white sugar

Combine. I had to use my mixer on fast to get the margarine to blend nicely with the other ingredients.

Split the dough into two equal halves. Do the following for both halves.

Roll it out rectangle, about that big. It really depends on the size of your loaf pans. Then spread half the filling over the dough, leaving some edge. I keep trying not to leave any edge at all, but the filling is really hard to work with, and I give up.

Roll your dough up like a jelly-roll, from the short side.

Then twist it around in your hands a couple of times. You need to do this gently but firmly, since you don't want to tear the dough. Put it in a loaf pan and move on to the second piece of dough.

Let the cakes sit while you preheat the oven (350F/180C) and prepare the topping.


  • sugar
  • hot water

Mix the ingredients together until all the sugar is disolved, then brush it onto the cakes, covering the top and sides liberally.

Bake for 30 minutes, maybe less. The top of the cake should be hard. Baking it for too long will dry it out, but it's still good.

I took one of these to my parents' house for a family dinner one weekend, and got two of the best compliments a home baker can get:

  1. When I brought it in people asked  "You made that? I thought you had bought it!"
  2. It was devoured instantly. Everybody took seconds, and some people took thirds.


Holly96Rose's picture

Wow this really looks great!! I made a Cinnamon Brown Sugar one today using a recipe i found online and it turned out really well! I wanted to try my hand at a chocolate one so i'll keep this recipe in mind next time im baking :)