Chocolate Babka

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Categories: Specialty Breads

Chocolate Babka

When we visited my Polish grandmother, there was always a delicious babka waiting for us. This Eastern European yeast cake is halfway between bread and cake, and is often topped with a fruit-flavored icing.

This gluten-free version combines many of the favorite flavors in our household. We start with a vanilla babka, stuff it with a dark chocolate filling, and top it with a cinnamon streusel. A delicious blend of flavors with every bite.

Use your favorite chocolate bar in this recipe. Our preference is a dairy-free 70% dark chocolate, but it will work with sweeter or darker chocolate.

Filling:
3 oz of fine-quality bitter-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 TBSP sugar
2 Tbsp butter, softened

Streusel Topping:
3 TBSP confectioners’ sugar
3 TBSP (about 1.5oz or 42.5g) Better Batter Gluten Free Flour
1 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp butter, softened

Egg Wash:
1 large egg white, room temperature

Cake:
1 packet yeast
1 tsp sugar
¾ cup warm water
¼ cup sugar
5 TBSP butter, softened
1 tsp salt
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups Better Batter Gluten Free Flour
Grease an 8×4 inch loaf pan.

FILLING:
Combine all filling ingredients in a food processor and pulse just until it combines enough to hold together in clumps. (If you do not have a food processor you can instead melt the chocolate bar in a double boiler, let cool slightly, and then mix with the sugar and butter until blended.) Set aside.

STREUSEL TOPPING:
Combine dry ingredients. Cut butter into dry ingredients using a food processor or fork until crumbs form. Set aside.

CAKE BATTER:
Mix 1 tsp of sugar into warm water (between 110 and 115 degrees F). Stir in yeast. Wait 5 minutes. Yeast should foam slightly.

Beat sugar and butter until creamy. (Separate an egg now, saving the white for the egg wash later and using the yolk now.) Add salt and egg yolk to creamed sugar and butter and beat until smooth. Add two eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each. Add vanilla and beat until smooth. Add yeast water and flour. Beat on high for three minutes.

ASSEMBLE:
Pour 1/3 of the cake batter into prepared loaf pan. Take marble sized pieces of chocolate filling and press into the cake batter, leaving enough space between the chocolate marbles so that the cake will have structure between the chocolate. The goal is to make sure that each piece of cake will have a nice bite of both filling and cake. Pour half the remaining batter on top and spread to cover the chocolate marbles. Repeat the chocolate marble step. Top with the remaining batter. Brush egg wash over dough. Sprinkle streusel topping on top, shake to distribute evenly, and gently press into dough.

Place in oven and let sit for 10 minutes. With cake still in oven, set oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for about 55 to 60 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool slightly before devouring.

Simple Traditional Babka Variation:
For a simpler, and more traditional babka, leave out the chocolate filling and streusel topping and instead top with an orange glaze made from 2 to 4 TBSP water or milk, 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, and the finely grated zest of one orange. Just whisk the glaze until smooth and drizzle over the top of the babka after it has cooled slightly. You may bake the babka in a Bundt pan for a fancier shape. When baking, check the unfilled babka after 45 minutes.

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