Recently my baking has taken a back step. My free time has become shorter and shorter so I have resorted to making quick and easy recipes that I can make after work. There is nothing wrong with that and it actually makes most of my recipes very approachable, but I used to love experimenting in the kitchen and really pushing my cooking abilities. Hence my love of the Great British Bake Off and sheer excitement that it is back on TV. I used to try some seriously weird combinations and attempt some outrageous bakes. Some would come off, some would bring shame to my family name, but either way I had great fun making them. Then Doisy & Dam got in touch and challenged me to bake something for #GBBO week 3, bread week. So I wanted to make a recipe for this blog post that would not only push me outside of my cooking comfort zone but something that wouldn’t take 15 minutes and that I could pour my heart and soul into, allow me to introduce you to the Chocolate Babka Cake. It is a spongy – brioche like – yeast cake made mainly in Central and Eastern Europe. It is traditionally baked for Easter Sunday. Traditionally it does not have any filling, but instead is glazed with a vanilla or chocolate flavoured icing and twisted to create a beautiful rippled pattern.
Why it is a difficult bake:
The yeast obviously means it requires proving and the light brioche sponge will be difficult to replicate with only healthy ingredients.
The chocolate icing will obviously need to be replaced with a sugar free alternative, so I will need to come up with something creative for that.
Lastly the twist. Getting those beautiful chocolate ripples throughout the bake will no doubt prove difficult.
Chocolate Babka Cake
- ¼ cup warm water
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 2 tsp traditional yeast
- 3 bananas
- ½ cup almond milk
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ½ tsp salt
- 3½ cups of spelt flour
- ½ tsp vanilla essence
- ¾ cup chopped dark chocolate
- 1 cup coconut cream, from the top of a full-fat can of coconut milk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp salt
- In your mixer, add the warm water and maple syrup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let it sit for 15 minutes to activate.
- In a food processor blend the bananas, almond milk, maple syrup, salt, and vanilla essence.
- Add the banana mixture to your mixer containing the yeast.
- Turn the mixer on and add the spelt flour through a sieve ½ a cup at a time.
- Keep adding flour until the mixture forms a ball and starts to clean the bowl, then you can place the dough into a large greased bowl, cover it with a clean kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size.
- Prepare the ganache while the dough is proofing.
- Line a bread tin with parchment paper and set aside.
- Melt the dark chocolate in a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water (don't let the bowl touch the water).
- Once all the chocolate has melted, whisk in the coconut cream, vanilla, and salt, then place in the fridge to cool until the dough is ready
- Once the dough has doubled in size, sprinkle flour over your kitchen worktop and place the dough onto it.
- Roll your dough about 3cm thick and so that one side is the same length as your bread tin. Spread the ganache over it evenly then roll the dough from the longest edge, then cut it lengthwise.
- Cross over the two strands of dough, and then wrap each over the other until a plait forms. Gently pick the dough up and place it into the lined bread tin, tucking the ends underneath. Put it back in the hot tray to rise for another 30mins.
- While the dough is rising again, preheat the oven to 375F/190C.
- Bake the bread for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is golden.
So if you some free time this weekend and fancy challenging yourself in the kitchen (and enjoying some delicious Chocolate Babka Cake) then give my recipe a try.