Chocolate Babka

Chocolate babka fans, rest assured, this is not a lesser babka. Instead it’s practically oozing with chocolate and butter and homemade babka-y awesomeness.

A loaf of chocolate babka on a sheet of parchment with one slice cut off.

Know what makes this chocolate babka recipe not only memorable but the best babka ever? Butter in blissful abundance and more than two pounds of chocolate. Fat phobes and calorie counters, take comfort in the fact that this chocolate babka recipe makes a few loaves. So if you do the math, that’s a tablespoon (or three) of butter per slice, which seems reasonable enough to us. And Seinfeld fans, it draws on both chocolate and cinnamon, ensuring it’s not a lesser babka.–Renee Schettler Rossi

Chocolate Babka

  • Quick Glance
  • (9)
  • 1 H
  • 4 H
  • Makes 3 loaves
4.8/5 - 9 reviews
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  • For the chocolate babka dough
  • For the filling
  • For the streusel topping


Make the chocolate babka dough

Pour the warm milk into a small bowl. Sprinkle with the yeast and a pinch of sugar and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, 2 of the eggs, and the egg yolks. Add the egg mixture to the yeast mixture and whisk to combine.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour and salt. Add the egg mixture and beat on low speed until almost all the flour is incorporated, about 30 seconds.

Change to the dough hook. Add 2 sticks of butter and beat until the butter is completely incorporated and the mixture forms a smooth, soft dough that’s slightly sticky when squeezed, about 10 minutes.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few turns, just until smooth. Butter a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Make the filling

In a large bowl, combine the chocolate, sugar, and cinnamon and stir to combine. Add the 1 1/2 sticks of butter and, using 2 knives or a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until well combined.

Asemble the chocolate babkas

Generously butter three 9-by-5-by-2 3/4-inch loaf pans and line them with parchment paper. Beat the remaining egg with the cream.

Gently punch down the dough and transfer it to a clean surface. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

Cut the dough into 3 equal portions. Keep 2 portions covered with plastic wrap while working with the remaining portion.

On a generously floured surface, roll the dough out into a 16-inch square that’s 1/8-inch thick. Crumble a scant 1/3 of the chocolate filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Brush the border with the egg wash and, starting at one side, roll the dough up tightly like a jelly roll. Pinch the ends together to seal. Holding an end of the dough in each hand, twist it 5 or 6 turns. Brush the top of the roll with the egg wash and carefully crumble 2 tablespoons of the filling over the left half of the roll, being careful not to let mixture slide off. Fold the right half of the roll over onto the coated left half, then fold the ends of the dough underneath and pinch it to seal. Twist the roll 2 turns and nestle it into the prepared pan.

Repeat with the remaining 2 pieces of dough and the remaining filling. Don’t discard the egg wash just yet. (The babka loaves can be frozen for up to a month before baking. Remove from the freezer and let stand at room temperature for about 5 hours before baking.)

Make the streusel topping

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and butter. Using a fork, stir until the ingredients are fully combined and the streusel is in pieces ranging in size from crumbs to about 1-inch (25-mm) clumps.

Heat the oven to 350°F (176°C).

Brush the top of each loaf with the egg wash. Crumble 1/3 of the streusel topping over each loaf. Loosely cover each pan with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place 20 to 30 minutes.

Discard the plastic wrap and bake the loaves, rotating them halfway through, until golden, about 55 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 325°F (163°C) and bake until the babkas are a deeper shade of golden, 15 to 20 minutes more.

Remove from the oven and transfer the pans to wire racks to cool to room temperature. Turn the chocolate babka out from their pans and cut them into thick slices. Originally published December 16, 2011.

Print RecipeBuy the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook cookbook

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    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    “HOLY COW!” I said when I saw how much butter and chocolate the recipe calls for, and again when I tasted the babka. The texture is flawlessly half bread and half cake, and every bite has even swirls of chocolatey and just-eggy-enough heavenliness.

    Those who don’t have a stand mixer or 3 loaf pans (join the club), don’t fret. You can make this babka. There was too much dough for the short hooks on my hand-held mixer, so I incorporated the butter into the flour and egg mixture mostly by hand, which didn’t take much time at all. I only have 2 loaf pans, so I froze 1/3 of the dough for later enjoyment.

    The recipe does take a while from start to finish, so get your calendar out and plan an afternoon centered around this chocolate babka! It’s truly worth the effort and time.

    OMG! I’ve died and gone to heaven! I love babka and have made it many, many times with numerous recipes, but this is THE ONE.

    Not only was it delicious, but it seems to be indestructible. I made the dough and started to let it rise when I realized that I didn’t have enough chocolate, so I wrapped the dough in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer, where it sat for 3 days before I got out to buy more chocolate. I took it out of the freezer and started to let it rise when I had to leave home, so I put the bowl in the refrigerator and left it there for 4 hours. I thought I might have to redo the whole thing but the dough was fine. Very straightforward and easy to do.

    When I first read the recipe I thought 2 1/4 pounds of chocolate and five sticks of butter will make anything taste good, but the cake part of it was just the right amount of lightness and sweet. The only problem, if you could call it that, was twisting and folding the dough after rolling it jelly-roll style. My dough just didn’t seem to want to be twisted, but I twisted it as best I could and it looked beautiful and tasted like heaven. The recipe calls for baking it about 55 minutes, lowering the oven, and baking it longer. Mine, however, were completely done after 55 minutes. (I always test for doneness with a thermometer — 190°F when it’s done.)

    Well, one other problem. You just can’t stop eating it! (I froze one of the babkas and obviously it wasn’t as good as fresh out of the oven, but it was still excellent. It was absolutely “inhaled” by my guests.)


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    1. So excited… I’ve been waiting to make this for Easter morning for WEEKS now. I can’t bring myself to buy that much chocolate/butter for a 2-person low-budget household, so I’m going to try to do a 1/3 recipe. Wish me luck.

      Does anybody know… can I make this on Sunday afternoon and refrigerate to bake on Monday morning? Or would freezing for the night be better? Thanks!!

      1. Jessica, I think it would be ok if you refrigerated the loaf overnight. If you freeze it, you would need to let it stand for several hours before you could bake it. Do let us know how it turns out!

        1. Thanks for the reply! It turned out beautifully. A couple ideas for anyone making in future:

          I did leave it in the fridge overnight and let it sit out for about 20m before cooking for the time the recipe asked. Didn’t seem to be a problem!

          I also was able to cut the recipe by 1/3 by using the metric weights instead of measurement by cups. It was a bit complicated with the eggs but it ended up being about 40ml egg + 11ml yolk for the dough (mix yolk/whites to weigh and separate), 20ml egg for the wash. I used 1 full egg + 1 yolk in all.

          I honestly thought I was going to have a tough time getting the butter incorporated… I don’t have a stand mixer and I feared I’d mis-measured the butter, it was SO sticky doing by hand. But I persevered and after about 10m it started picking up bits from the side of the bowl and staying together. With the last few floured turns, it came together silky and happy. 🙂

          I would make a little less filling & streusel next time. It tastes a bit like chocolate held together by bread rather than bread marbled with chocolate (not that I’m complaining about chocolate!). 🙂 I love the way the cinnamon makes the filling taste bittersweet.

          And that’s my experience. It took me a few hours but it was enjoyable and not terribly difficult. And VERY yummy. Thanks so much for the incredible recipes on this site!

          1. Thank you, Jessica, for sharing your experience and all those details! That’s incredibly helpful information for us and for your fellow readers. Can’t wait to hear what you make next!

      1. Thanks, Jenifer. Did you weigh your ingredients? Sometimes not weighing can be the culprit.

      1. Thanks Toni! We’re thrilled that you love it as much as we do. Can’t wait to hear what you try next.

    2. This is the best chocolate babka filling I have ever come across! The flavours complement each other so seamlessly. Babka can seem intimidating, but I promise even first-time bakers can’t go wrong with this chocolate recipe–it’s pure gold!

    3. This recipe is fabulous. We made it as is, twice, and then inspiration struck and I invented “Babka buns!” Instead of making each Babka into a loaf, I rolled like a jelly roll and sliced into 1.5 inch thick rounds. I coated these in the egg wash, and covered the tops with the streusel topping. The full recipe fills two 9 by 13 pans with buns. It bakes faster than the loaves and the buns are an amazing breakfast treat! I fill with chocolate, brown sugar and cinnamon, and tonight I made 1/3 with Nutella. Thanks for publishing this recipe! I really love the dough.

      1. Love your babka buns tweak, Beverly! Brilliant! Gives you more of the crusty exterior. And you are so very welcome for the recipe. Looking forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next!

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