Part bread, part cake, this marbled Jewish babka with thick chocolate filling and syrupy topping is irresistible served warm with coffee
- Serves: 12 persons
- 100g unsalted butter
- 60ml whole milk
- 300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 7g fast-action dried yeast
- 50g caster sugar
- ½tsp fine salt
- 2large free range eggs
- 125g unsalted butter
- 125g caster sugar
- 100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
- ½tsp cinnamon
- 25g cocoa powder
- 50g caster sugar
Step 1Start the dough by putting the butter and milk into a small saucepan and gently heating over a low heat until the butter is melted and incorporated into the milk. Transfer to a small jug to cool slightly.
Step 2Combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Gently whisk the eggs together in a separate small bowl.
Step 3Make a well in the middle of the flour mix, then pour in the butter mixture and the whisked eggs. Use your fingers to gently bring everything together. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead well for 7-8 mins until soft and springy.
Step 4Transfer the dough to a lightly buttered glass bowl and cover, leaving to prove and double in size for 1 hr at room temperature. Transfer to the fridge for a further 30 mins.
Step 5Meanwhile, make the filling. Put the butter, sugar, chocolate, cinnamon and ¼ tsp fine sea salt into a small saucepan. Gently heat over a low-medium temperature until everything is melted together. Remove from the heat, stir in the cocoa powder and transfer to a bowl to cool. Leave for 45 mins until thickened.
Step 6Butter and line a 900g loaf tin. Arrange a long strip of baking paper across the middle of the tin, so that it hangs over each end of the tin.
Step 7Remove the dough from the fridge and place on a large floured surface. Roll out to a 30cm x 40cm rectangle, with one of the longer edges closest to you. Evenly spread the chocolate filling on top of the dough leaving a 1 inch gap around the edge. Starting with one of the longer edges, carefully roll the dough away from you into a long tight log, just like you would with a swiss roll. Make sure the seam is underneath at the end.
Step 8Using a large sharp knife or pizza roller, slice the dough tube in half lengthways into two long strips, then face the cut sides upwards. Press the top ends of each strip together to seal the edges.
Step 9To start your dough twist: fold the two strips over one another in the middle by lifting the left half over the right half. Repeat the plait on both ends, as many times as you can until you have a twisted shape with around 6-8 twists. Tuck the ends neatly under, then using the palms of your hands, gently push the two ends towards each other to compress and fatten up the plait.
Step 10Transfer your dough carefully to your lined loaf tin, then cover with a clean tea towel. Leave to prove at room temperature for 2 hours until doubled in size. 30 mins before your babka is fully proved, heat your oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5.
Step 11Bake the babka for 15 mins, then reduce the heat to 170C/150C fan/gas 3 and bake for a further 30-40 mins until a skewer comes out clean.
Step 12Meanwhile, make the syrup for the top. Put 50g caster sugar and 50ml water into a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and then turn the heat down to low. Heat for 2-3 mins, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Step 13Remove the babka from the oven, then gently brush the syrup over the top. Leave to rest in the tin for 5 mins. Using the baking paper handles, carefully lift the babka out and onto a cooling rack.
Step 14Once cool enough to handle, slice and serve warm. Or leave to cool fully, then wrap tightly in foil until ready to serve.