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Overhead shot of several slices of white chocolate cardamom babka

White Chocolate Cardamom Babka


  • Author: Kris Osborne & Alex Shimshon
  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Yield: 2 loaves
  • Category: Sweet Bread
  • Method: Easy
  • Cuisine: Israeli

Description

This white chocolate and cardamom babka reveals layers of sweet, airy dough filled with twists of cardamom-flecked white chocolate–a perfect accompaniment to an afternoon cup of coffee.


Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 120 g / ½ cup room temperature milk
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 6 g / 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 500 g / 4 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 75 g / ⅓ cup sugar
  • Large pinch of salt
  • 80 g / 6 tbsp room temperature butter

For the Chocolate Filling

  • 500 g white chocolate cut into pieces
  • 1600 g / 12 tbsp room temperature butter
  • 3 tsp cardamom

For the Simple Syrup

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions

For the Dough

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together vanilla and milk. Mix the yeast into the milk and then add flour, eggs, sugar, salt, and butter in small pinches.
  2. With a dough hook, mix all the ingredients together on low speed. Stop the mixer to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, as needed. If the dough is very dry add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time. If the dough looks too wet, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together. This should take about 5 minutes.
  3. Increase the speed to medium, and mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 7-10 minutes.
  4. Transfer dough to work surface and, using your hands, gently shape into a smooth ball. Place dough into a clean bowl and cover the bowl with a wet towel. Set it aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  5. After this short rest period, press the dough into a 1-inch thick rectangle. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours before proceeding.

For the Chocolate Filling

  1. Shortly before rolling out the dough, make the chocolate filling by melting all of the ingredients over double boiler.

For the Simple Syrup

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Turn off the heat and set the syrup aside to cool.

Assembly and Baking

  1. You have 2 options: You can divide the dough and freeze one for later or proceed with recipes as is. This recipe is enough for two loaves of babka.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease two loaf pans. Place a sling of parchment paper across the width of each.
  3. Unwrap the cold babka dough and set it on a lightly-floured work surface (you need at least 4 feet of workspace). Roll the dough into a 9×24-inch rectangle (it should be just about 1/4 inch thick). If the dough starts to spring back, it means that it needs to rest. Let it rest for 5 minutes before trying again.
  4. Spread the chocolate filling evenly over the dough, leaving a one-inch border at the edges.
  5. Working from the top edge, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Then, holding the cylinder at the ends, lift and stretch it slightly to make it even tighter and longer.
  6. Using a sharp knife slice the cylinder in half lengthwise so you have 2 long pieces, and set them with the chocolate layers exposed up. Divide the pieces crosswise in half, creating 4 equal-length strips.
  7. Take two strips and overlap one strip on top of another to make an X, making sure the exposed chocolate part of the dough faces up. Twist the ends together so you have at least 2 twists on each side of the X. Now that you have this twisted braid, bring the two ends together, you can place it into the prepared pan, exposed chocolate–side up. Cover the pan with wet towel and repeat with the other pieces of dough.
  8. Set the pan aside in a warm place and let the dough rise 2 to 3 hours, depending on how warm your room is. Dough should spring back when pressed.
  9. Place babkas in the oven and bake until dark brown and baked through, about 35-40 minutes. Check on it halfway through. If the babka is getting too dark, tent it loosely with a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  10. Remove the babkas from the oven, and while they are still hot, brush the surface generously with cooled simple syrup.

Notes

The recipe makes enough for two loaves of babka. You can divide the prepared dough and freeze one for later or proceed with recipes as is. If you are only baking one loaf, you’ll want to half the white chocolate cardamom filling, as well. 

Don’t forgo the simple syrup. It makes the top of the babkas shiny and beautiful and also locks in the moisture so the cake doesn’t dry out. You may not need to use all the syrup—save any extra for sweetening iced coffee or tea.

If you’re looking for another babka recipe, this hazelnut and vanilla bean one is  as easy as it is delicious.

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