This easy Babka recipe starts with a delicious rich brioche bread swirled with layers of everything from chocolate, cinnamon sugar, Nutella, and more! It is a traditional Eastern European dessert (often found in Jewish bakeries) and a favorite in our house!

Chocolate Babka sliced
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This Chocolate Babka Bread is truly the best!

Seinfeld may have made babka famous, but my good friend, Henna, has the market cornered on making it totally and completely delicious!

The first time I met Henna, I was on my way to Israel with a group of 80 women. We were sitting in JFK airport waiting for our airplane and there is Henna. To my total and utter delight, she whips out SIX, yes six, loaves of freshly baked babka – there was chocolate babka, cinnamon babka, Nutella babka – and I tried them all.

Let me tell you, they were mouth-watering delicious…. right then and there, I knew Henna and I were going to be very, very good friends! Well, today I was incredibly fortunate to have Henna come over and give me a one-on-one private babka making lesson!{whisper voice…don’t worry about all of the steps, it really is easy…if I can do it, anyone can!}

This recipe makes 2 babkas in either loaf or bundt pan. I have listed 3 types of filling – pick one of your favorites, but be sure to try all three at some point – one is better than the next!

Grab a hot cup of coffee and enjoy!

What is Chocolate Babka?

Chocolate Babka is a sweet, yeast-based bread filled with layers of chocolate and cinnamon.

What Makes a Babka a Babka?

Babka is a traditional Jewish sweet bread with fillings. It starts with a sweet brioche bread, twisted with a chocolate filling, and is often egg-washed or glazed with a buttery streusel topping.

The babka is made up of three components each includes, let’s just say, some butter!! Our recipe makes 2 loaves, one for now and freeze one for later.

The Babka Dough: We use a rich dough for our homemade babka. This sweet dough is made from eggs, butter, flour, and sugar it makes a delicious, buttery bread to hold the rich chocolate filling.

The Chocolate Filling: The rich and creamy homemade chocolate filling is probably my most popular filling. I have, however, gotten rave reviews from my cinnamon sugar filling and our over-the-top Nutella filling!

The Streusel Topping: I am on the side of it cannot be a babka without the streusel topping. My recipe gives you more than enough streusel, so use a lot or a little, but trust me, do not skip this step!

Chocolate Babka in two loaf pans

Chocolate Babka Recipe Ingredients

  • 3 ½ – 4 cups flour
  • 3 packets yeast or 2 ¼ tablespoons
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons cup warm water
  • ¾ cups butter (melted)
  • 1 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk (save the egg white to use for the egg wash on the loaf)
  • 1 tsp salt
dough ready for babka

Streusel Crumb Topping Ingredients

  • 1/4 stick butter (2 tablespoons)
  • ½ cup flour
  • 6 tablespoons sugar

NOTE: You may not use all of the streusel.

For the Chocolate Babka Filling

  • 1 cup/2 sticks margarine, melted
  • 1 5.9 ounce box instant chocolate pudding
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
Babka sliced on a cutting board

How to Roll Chocolate Babka Bread

Rolling the babka is probably the hardest part to explain in making a babka. However, it is actually way easier than it sounds! The trick is the double twist. You want to grab each end of the babka roll in one hand and twist it and tuck it.

Step 1: Roll the babka dough out very, very thin. Spread the chocolate filling (or filling of your choice) with a spatula leaving about 1/2 inch from the edge. Roll the dough into a long log-like roll. Cut it in half right in the middle of the roll.

how to roll babka - step 1

Step 2: Lay them next to each other with the bottom half of one up next to the top half of the other (line them up opposite ends – so the end of one of the pieces is next to the middle-end of the other piece).

Using a sharp knife cut down the center of each piece of dough just through the top (not all the way to the bottom of the piece). 

Pinch the tops together. Lift the left piece of dough and twist to the left. It will be limp and messy! Then twist the right piece of dough to the right. Then take each side and braid one over the other.

how to roll babka - step 2

Step 3: So twist in your left hand and then tuck it under the right. Keep repeating until you braid the whole dough and then pinch the ends together.

You may have to pinch the top again. Then pinch the bottoms of the two pieces together. (The chocolate will ooze out – the messier the prettier it will turn out after baking). 

Place the twisted dough into the bundt pan. Egg wash the top and sides and cover with streusel.

how to roll babka - step 3

Best Chocolate Babka Recipe variations

Chocolate filling is by far our favorite, but sometimes we love to mix it up. Some of our other favorites are:

Cinnamon Sugar Filling

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons/ 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • Mix sugar and cinnamon together
  • Set aside for later! (you will need 1/2 stick melted butter to lightly brush over the dough for the cinnamon sugar to stick)

Nutella Filling

  • Soften Nutella in the microwave for approximately 20 seconds
  • Wait to do this until right before you use the filling

Serving your Chocolate Babka Bread

Slice the cooled Chocolate Babka and serve it at room temperature, optionally accompanied by a hot beverage like coffee or tea.

Storing Chocolate Babka

Wrap the Chocolate Babka tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store it at room temperature for up to 2 days or freeze for longer storage.

Easy Chocolate Babka Recipe FAQs

How do you roll out babka dough?

Gently roll the dough into an extremely thin rectangle, ensuring even thickness, before spreading your chosen filling, leaving a small margin at the edges.

Why is babka so dry?

Babka might turn out dry if it’s overcooked or if the dough lacks adequate moisture; precise measurements and careful baking are key.

What flavor is traditional babka?

Classic babka comes in various flavors, with chocolate and cinnamon being the most traditional and beloved choices.

How do you know when babka is done?

A perfectly baked babka will have a golden-brown crust and should feel set; it typically takes about 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Why is my babka dough so sticky?

If the babka dough is too sticky, it may need more flour; add it gradually until the dough is smooth and no longer sticks to your fingers.

Is babka breakfast or dessert?

Babka is a versatile treat, enjoyed as a sweet breakfast bread or as a dessert!

Babka sliced overhead

More Traditional Jewish Recipes

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Mandel Bread Recipe | The Best Beef Brisket Recipe | Fried Matzo Brei | Coconut Chocolate Chip Macaroon Recipe | Rainbow Sprinkle Cookies

5 from 2 votes
Chocolate Babka Square

Easy Chocolate Babka Bread

Serves — 2
Babka is a dense cake swirled with delicious layers of everything from chocolate, cinnamon sugar, Nutella and more! It is a traditional Eastern European dessert and a favorite in our house!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Resting/Rising time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients
  

Dough Ingredients

  • 3 ½ – 4 cups flour
  • tablespoons yeast or 3 packets
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons warm water
  • ¾ cups butter melted
  • 1 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk save the egg white to use for the egg wash on the loaf
  • 1 tsp salt

Streusel Crumb Topping Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • 6 tablespoons sugar

Chocolate Filling Ingredients

  • 2 sticks butter melted
  • 1 5.9 ounce box Instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup water

Instructions
 

Streusel Crumb Topping Instructions

  • In a small bowl melt 1/4 stick of butter. Add flour and sugar and mix together until combined. Use your hands to crumble the mixture and set aside for later.

Chocolate Filling Instructions

  • Melt 2 sticks of butter. Add pudding mix, sugar, cocoa, water, and egg. Mix all together with a spoon. Set aside for later!

Bobka Loaf Instructions

  • Prepare two 9×5 loaf pans by spraying them very well with nonstick spray.
  • Melt margarine in microwave. Set aside to cool
  • Place yeast and sugar in a large bowl and give it a little shake to combine.
  • Add warm water to the bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let sit for 5 minutes while the yeast is activating.
  • Crack the eggs in a small bowl and whisk together (1 egg and 1 egg yolk). Set aside.
  • Once the yeast is activated sprinkle salt over the mixture, add melted (and cooled) margarine, and stir slightly.
  • Add beaten eggs and 2 cups of flour and stir until the flour is all incorporated.
  • Continue to add flour ½ cup at a time, kneading until a smooth dough forms (if you find the dough sticky, add a tablespoon more of flour at a time until a finger inserted into the center of the dough comes out clean)
  • Place the ball of dough and place it in a bowl with a clean kitchen towel over it to let rise. Let rise for at least 1 ½ hours (2 hours is preferable).
  • Divide dough into 2 equal parts and roll into large and VERY thin rectangles (they don’t need to be perfectly shaped. Just make sure they are thin.
  • Divide the chocolate filling evenly amongst the two rolled out doughs. Spread the chocolate evenly with a spatula, leaving a 1/2 inch border on all sides.
  • Starting with the longest edge, roll the dough into a very long log-like roll. Cut it in half and bring the bottom half up next to the top half (line them up opposite ends – so the end of one of the pieces is next to the middle-end of the other piece).
  • Using a sharp knife cut down the center of each piece of dough just through the top (not all the way to the bottom of the piece).
  • Pinch the tops together. Lift the left piece of dough and twist to the left. It will be limp and messy! Then twist the right piece of dough to the right. Then take each side and braid one over the other, continue until you get to the ends of the dough. Then pinch the bottoms of the two pieces together. You may have to pinch the top again. (The chocolate will ooze out – the messier the prettier it will turn out after baking).
  • Lift the dough and place it into the prepared loaf pan.
  • Egg wash the top and sprinkle generously with streusel. Let rise for 1/2 hour
  • Place in oven at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes
  • Serve immediately, later or freeze (if freezing, let cool completely first!)
  • NOTE: For the egg wash I used the leftover egg white and 2 tablespoons of milk.

Jenn’s Notes

  • For the egg wash I used the leftover egg white and 2 tablespoons of milk.
  • You may not use all of the streusel.

Nutrition Info

Calories: 4731kcal | Carbohydrates: 711g | Protein: 68g | Fat: 188g | Saturated Fat: 114g | Cholesterol: 717mg | Sodium: 3457mg | Potassium: 1127mg | Fiber: 24g | Sugar: 306g | Vitamin A: 5668IU | Calcium: 187mg | Iron: 28mg
Chocolate Babka

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Comments

  1. Hi. This recipe looks great. I was wondering though if you’ve tried it with butter and not margarine?? I do not use margarine. Thanks.

  2. This sounds so seriously amazing. Especially the cinnamon sugar – cause I love love love cinnamon sugar pretty much anything! My husband is more of a chocolate person though, so I’m wondering – do you have a suggestion for making this without using instant chocolate pudding? Have you made it by melting real chocolate and trying that? Maybe something like what you could do for a chocolate fountain?? I don’t know, just throwing out ideas since this is new to be, but definitely on my to-try list! TIA!

  3. Sounds like a delicious treat cant wait to make it..but im a little confused u say to divide in three equal parts and roll out u then instruct how to fill with the three filling options thats fine you also say to roll dough with filling and cut n braid my confusión is do i roll cut n braid the other two of the equal parts do i bake all three together or seperate

    1. Hi Marie – sorry for the confusion – You divide into three parts first, because this recipe make 3 babkas – so each part is for a different cake. It is a huge recipe! (that’s okay though because they freeze awesome!).

      After you fill each of the babkas with your choice of filling, you roll it up (almost like a jelly roll or cinnamon roll) and then you cut that roll in half and pinch the tops of the two parts together and then twist the two together and place it in a bundt pan. EACH of the three cakes go in separate pans and are baked separately.

      Does that make any more sense????

  4. This looks so amazing! One question. The cinnamon filling calls for 2 tbsp or 1/2 a stick of butter. 1/2 a stick of butter is 4 tbsp. I wouldn’t want to mess up after all that work. Can you please clarify? I can’t wait to get started! Thanks for the recipe.

    1. so sorry about that Leslie – you guys are so good at catching my mistakes – thank you SO much!
      I changed it to 4 tbs. You may need less, but better too much than not enough. You are using it just to brush it over the dough to have the cinnamon sugar stick to it – so depending on how heavy you brush it, will depend on how much your really use!
      thanks again for reaching out!
      Jenn

  5. This recipe sounds, and looks, very good. I have one question though, if you were to freeze it, how would you go about serving it later? Would you just thaw and eat or would you warm it in the oven? Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Sally – I JUST did this yesterday- after it cools completely, wrap in plastic wrap and then again in tin foil. Freeze. Take out of the freezer about 5 hours or so before you want it (I took it out in the morning to use as dessert after dinner and it was totally perfect) and let defrost on counter. It was as delicious as the day I made it!

  6. Hi! I’be been watching your blog from time to time, searching for new recipes from other places in the world than mine. I was happy to see that someone like you is trying to make a cake like babka a little more famous, but than I realised that this is not the babka I used to know! I was searching for recipes, to find out if am I wrong and casual polish babka is looking a bit different. This one is more like jevish or Christian yeast cake from some regions, as you said in your post. You should try casual polish babka, such as marmurkowa (marbled babka), piaskowa (sand babka), chocolate babka or my favourite lemon babka. They should be as good as this one from your picture. Thanks form posting those great recipes. Greets!
    Ps. Sorry for my ‘English’ 😉