Thursday, April 7, 2011

Yeasted Chocolate Coffee Cake: Babka

Today is National Coffee Cake Day! Last year I posted a wonderful recipe for Chocolate Marble Coffee Cake. It's quick and easy, but if you have a bit more time, you'll want to try the following recipe for Yeasted Chocolate Coffee Cake. It's similar to a Babka. I have several Babka recipes, but this recipe from Martha Stewart is one of the best and closest to the Babka I used to buy at Greenberg's Bakery in Philadelphia many years ago. Martha doesn't call it Babka, but what's in a name?

This recipe is easy. You just have to have a little patience to wait for the yeast to rise. There's even a fabulous video with Martha and Terry Crews making this crumbly coffee cake laced with chocolate and cinnamon. I definitely think you should watch the video (link on the original page) for several tips. There's nothing quite like the visual for best results.

This Yeasted Chocolate Coffee Cake really holds together when cut, and you can butter it. As if you needed more butter! Tastes great toasted, too!


2 1/4 teaspoons (one 1/4-ounce envelope) active dry yeast
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons plus a pinch of granulated sugar
3/4 cup warm milk (110 degrees)
1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
 Coarse salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for bowl, pan, and parchment
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon heavy cream, for egg wash
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (1 1/4 cups)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1. Make the cake: Sprinkle yeast and a pinch of granulated sugar over milk in a medium bowl. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
2. Whisk together remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, the egg, and yolk. Whisk into yeast mixture.
3. Combine flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a mixer. Add egg mixture. Beat on low speed until almost fully combined, about 30 seconds. Switch to the dough-hook attachment. Add butter. Beat until smooth, soft, and slightly sticky, about 10 minutes.
4. Butter a large bowl. Turn out dough onto a floured surface; knead a few times until smooth. Place in bowl, turn to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
5. Make the filling: Combine chocolate, granulated sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers until combined.
6. Punch down dough. Transfer to a floured work surface. Let stand for 5 minutes. Roll out to an 18-inch square (about 1/8 inch thick). Brush edges with egg wash. Spread filling over dough, reserving 1/2 cup and leaving a 1-inch border. Tightly roll dough like a jelly roll. Pinch seam to seal, and fold in half to bring ends together to form a U. Twist 2 or 3 times to "braid." Butter a 5-by-10-inch loaf pan, and line with parchment, leaving 1-inch overhangs; butter parchment. Transfer dough to pan. Brush top with egg wash.
7. Make the crumb topping: Combine confectioners' sugar, flour, and butter. Sprinkle topping and reserved 1/2 cup filling over cake.
8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drape plastic wrap over dough. Let stand in a warm place until risen by half, 20 to 30 minutes.
9. Remove plastic wrap, and bake, rotating halfway through, until golden, about 55 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake until deeply golden, 15 to 20 minutes more (cover with foil if top gets too dark). Transfer pan to a wire rack. Let cake cool.

Photo: Martha


Bobbi Mumm said...

This looks delicious. Only Martha could make it look easy.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Oooh babka! I've always wanted to make one after seeing them fight over one on Seinfeld! After all something worth fighting over is worth making no? :)

Janet Rudolph said...

Yes, Babka is worth fighting about... Martha calls this Yeasted Chocolate Coffee Cake, but it's definitely Babka!