Whatever you call this cake, Babka, Brioche, Old-world cake, Crunch or is it Cruntz? Kruntz? Or even plainly Yeast cake, this cake is in my top 5 list of most favorite cakes. I love it so much that I want to show you all 50+ photos I took of it. Alas, the aroma of fresh yeast cannot be captured in photos.
I cannot quite describe this scent. It’s beyond words. Or maybe,” intoxicating” will do it justice? On the other hand, my 5.5-years-old son always makes a scene when we make this cake: “I’m going to faint, it smells so good. I can’t wait until the cake is baked”, and he pretends to fall off his feet and wants to eat the raw dough.
Sadly, fresh yeast is hard to find in your conventional grocery store. Is nobody baking with yeast anymore? There’s no demand, I guess. I’m going back and forth down the refrigerated section, looking again, than I drive to a second and a third store and no fresh yeast to be found!
I know that many people don’t bake yeast cakes at home anymore. Oh, well, let’s be honest here, many people don’t bake these days to begin with. Why is that?
I think the worst home baker making the worst cake EVER is still going to create something far superior to the average store-bought-who-knows-when-it-was-baked-and-what’s-in-it cake.
Well, anyway, I HAD to give you this recipe and get it off my chest because this cake is one of my favorites and I can’t hold this a secret from you any longer. And it’s so easy to make. It practically makes itself while you sleep. And the reward? Yes… a good night sleep… but also Glorious Glorious cake! 2 cakes!!!
So now the ball is in your hands. What are going to do about it?
Oh, before we get to recipe, did you see the giveaway post? No??? Then click the Secret Stash Artisan Sea Salt Giveaway
The recipe is a combination-variation on a few different recipes. I got the idea of adding halva – a confection usually made from crushed sesame seeds (tahini) and honey – from an Israeli cookbook that I read a while ago that had another recipe for this cake.
Chocolate-Halva Babka Cake
Makes 2 free-form cakes, or 2 loaves using long loaf pans ((12 by 4.5 inch, measured at the top)
For the dough:
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 packets (0.5 oz. /14 grams) active dry yeast
¾ cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1- 1/3 cup lukewarm milk (about 100 F)
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 lemon, zested
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, diced
1 egg, lightly beaten, for glaze
For the filling:
#1: My favorite
1-2 cups chocolate/hazelnut spread, use as much as you like
½ lb. halva, crumbled
A handful chocolate chips/chunks
A handful chopped toasted walnuts and/or pecans
Cocoa powder- optional
Cinnamon – optional
#2: chocolate spread, orange marmalade
#3: chocolate spread, poppy seeds
#4 planning to try a classic Rugelach filling
To make the dough:
In a mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook, put all the dough ingredients besides the butter, and mix for 5 minutes. Add the butter gradually until it is fully incorporated. Kneed about 3-5 minutes longer until dough is smooth and soft.
Wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Go to bed. Good night.
The next day, divide the dough into two equal parts.
Roll each part into a rectangle, about ¼-inch thick.
Spread generously with chocolate spread and the rest of the ingredients you are using as filling. Be generous as you like. (See photos).
Roll dough into a roulade shape. Cut lengthwise into two long strips and then turn them one over the other/twist, like a braid. Repeat with second portion of dough. (I tried one time to only roll it without cutting and twisting, as you can see in the photo, but I prefer the twisted variation).
Place each cake in a well greased loaf pan (line the pans with parchment paper), or free-form on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper with enough space between them.
Cover loosely with clean towel and place in a warm spot. Let cakes rise about 45-60 minutes until they double in volume.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 360 F degrees.
Brush cakes with the beaten egg. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until cakes are nicely browned.
Remove from oven and let cool. Remove from the pan and cool on a rack.
Note: once cooled, the cake/s can be frozen, wrapped in plastic wrap and foil. Thaw in room temperature and reheat in the oven before serving.
Enjoy your weekend,
This post was subbmitted to YeastSpotting, click here to visit her blog: Wild Yeast
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