Last week, I made a simple orange cake, it turned out very airy and high, and was very simple yet very tasty. Though that cake was very simple, it had one special thing about it. According to my father, this cake tasted just like the cake that his grandmother used to make. My great grandmother was known for her cakes, so this was one of the biggest compliment that I`ve ever got.
You must be confused here, and you`r probably asking yourselves whats the connection between chocolate babka and orange cake? Well, after that cake I decide to attempt to try one of my great grandmother famous cakes – the babka.
So, I`ve made this chocolate babka, that according to my father is different from his grandmother, but very delicious.
Though this was not like my great grandmother`s, this babka is outstanding. One of my favorite things about this cake is the dark chocolate vains that run through the cake, and give it the most gorgeous look.
This dough is a brioche-like, it is very airy, and has a slight buttery taste to it. I recommend that you make this dough by using a mixer, since it turns out very sticky and wet. Don’t panic when it`s wet, and don’t attempt to add more flour, simply work with it with oiled or floured hands, and it will be just fine.
I made one big babka in a pan called the “wonder pan” which you could find only on Israel, this pan is very similar to a angel food cake pan or bundt pan. The instructions for the babka shape are written below, plus an idea for an alternative chocolate filling.
Chocolate Babka/ www.epicurious.com (makes 2 loaves, or one big babka)
3/4 cup warm milk (105–115°F)
1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
3 teaspoons active dry yeast (from two 1/4-oz packages)
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
2 whole large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
For egg wash :
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream or whole milk
For chocolate filling
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, well softened
2 (3 1/2- to 4-oz) bars fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao if marked), finely chopped
1/4 cup sugar
Stir together warm milk and 2 teaspoons sugar in bowl of mixer. Sprinkle yeast over mixture and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If yeast doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)
Add 1/2 cup flour to yeast mixture and beat at medium speed until combined. Add whole eggs, yolk, vanilla, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low, then mix in remaining 2 3/4 cups flour, about 1/2 cup at a time. Increase speed to medium, then beat in butter, a few pieces at a time, and continue to beat until dough is shiny and forms strands from paddle to bowl, about 4 minutes. (Dough will be very soft and sticky.)
Scrape dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Assemble babkas with filling:
Line each loaf pan with 2 pieces of parchment paper (1 lengthwise and 1 crosswise).
Punch down dough with a lightly oiled rubber spatula, then halve dough. Roll out 1 piece of dough on a well-floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into an 18- by 10-inch rectangle and arrange with a long side nearest you.
Beat together yolk and cream. Spread 2 1/2 tablespoons softened butter on dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around. Brush some of egg wash on long border nearest you.
Sprinkle half of chocolate evenly over buttered dough, then sprinkle with half of sugar (2 tablespoons). Starting with long side farthest from you, roll dough into a snug log, pinching firmly along egg-washed seam to seal. Bring ends of log together to form a ring, pinching to seal. Twist entire ring twice to form a double figure 8 and fit into one of lined loaf pans.
Make another babka with remaining dough, some of egg wash, and remaining butter and chocolate in same manner. Chill remaining egg wash, covered, to use later. Loosely cover pans with buttered plastic wrap (buttered side down) and let babkas rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until dough reaches top of pans, 1 to 2 hours. (Alternatively, let dough rise in pans in refrigerator 8 to 12 hours; bring to room temperature, 3 to 4 hours, before baking.)
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F (175 degrees C.).
Brush tops of dough with remaining egg wash. Bake until tops are deep golden brown and bottoms sound hollow when tapped (when loaves are removed from pans), about 40 minutes. Transfer loaves to a rack and cool to room temperature.
Alternative chocolate filling:
100 gr. butter
75 gr. bittersweet chocolate (more or less)
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Melt all of the ingredients together until form into a smooth paste.
To make one big babka:
Divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Roll each part to a long rectangle, spread filling and roll into a log shape.
Take two logs and twist to a screw like shape. put the two pieces into the babka pan, let rise for about an hour and bake according to recipe.