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Mama Living Abroad

Chocolate (Nutella) Babka Wreath

Learn how to make the irresistible Chocolate Babka Wreath, a culinary masterpiece that will capture your heart with its delectable sweetness and addictive charm. This New York bakery favorite has an enchanting swirl of chocolate, artfully nestled between layers of buttery dough and topped with sugar syrup. Even though this wreath looks fancy, you only need a few basic ingredients to make it!

A hand holding a piece of Chocolate- Babka- Wreath
A hand holding a piece of Chocolate- Babka- Wreath

Share the love and joy by serving up slices of your homemade Chocolate Babka Wreath at gatherings, celebrations, or as a delightful surprise for your loved ones.

This festive wreath recipe is adapted from my popular Traditional Chocolate Babka recipe. On the day before Thanksgiving, I found myself in New York City, where I observed a queue of people patiently waiting outside a bakery. When I went inside, I discovered that they were offering babka wreaths at a surprisingly high price of over $40. That inspired me to try making it at home. Not only did it turn out wonderfully, filling the house with an incredible aroma, and the total cost came to about $2!!!

Making babka is easy, and takes less than an hour of actual work! The rest of the time is the proofing and baking. That can range between 4-12 hours! I highly recommend reading all of my tips and tricks for the best results!

Please note that although it’s possible to leave the dough at room temperature for the first rise, it’s highly recommended to place it in the fridge for at least 6-8 hours so it sets properly and is easy to work with.

Looking for more Jewish sweets? Try my Snowflake Pull-Apart Chocolate Babka Bread, Challah Cinnamon Rolls ,and Chocolate Orange Marble Cake.

What is Babka?

Babka is a traditional Eastern European Jewish sweet loaf. It is a yeasted cake-bread that is typically filled with chocolate or cinnamon (but the possibilities are endless). The ingredients are straightforward: flour, yeast, sugar, eggs, milk, butter, and salt. After it’s baked, it’s brushed with a sugar syrup that gives it that glossy sheen.

Ingredients Overview:

*The full recipe is in the recipe card below!

Flour: I use all-purpose flour, but you could use bread flour or a combination of bread and all-purpose. Remember that bread flour has a higher protein content; you might need to add more liquid to form the dough. I strongly recommend sifting the flour; it will result in a more delicate dough with a more significant volume.

Yeast (active dry yeast): Active dry yeast needs to be bloomed in liquid before being used to make dough. However, it is not necessary to bloom newly purchased yeast. Instead, it can be added directly to the dry ingredients.

Sugar: For the sweetness of course. But sugar also feeds the yeast, increases its activity, and tenderizes the dough.

Eggs: Large eggs at room temperature.

Milk: The high-fat content of whole milk will make your cake more soft and tender. No skim milk in this recipe, please. 

Butter: Unsalted and cut into small pieces. 

Salt: To balance the flavors; don’t skip!

Filling: Use a store-bought chocolate spread like Nutella or make your own chocolate filling (recipe below).

How to Make Chocolate Babka Wreath?

  1. Make the dough: This dough is soft, a little sticky, puffy, and very buttery yeast dough– read my pro-tips below.
  2. Let the dough rise: Allow the dough to rise in a relatively warm environment for 90 minutes to two hours or until it doubles in size. This dough is rich in fat, so it takes longer than other doughs to rise.
  3. Roll out the dough into a large rectangle. Spread with chocolate spread.
  4. Shape the babka, then let it rise again.
  5. Bake.
  6. Brush with syrup.

Pro-Tips

Plan ahead: The dough requires time to rise, so plan your baking process accordingly.

IMPORTANT! Although it’s possible to leave the dough at room temperature for the first rise, it’s highly recommended to place it in the fridge for 6-8 hours, so it sets properly and is easy to work with. Place the dough into a greased bowl and grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap, and poke a few holes in it with a sharp knife or a toothpick so the yeast can “breathe.” 

If you take the fridge route, the dough may not look like it has risen much, and that’s OK! Also, if the dough is hard to handle, leave it at room temperature to soften for 30-60 minutes before rolling and shaping.

Dough Consistency: Pay attention to the consistency of your dough. The dough should be completely smooth, elastic, shiny, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. It may look soft and might be sticky – that’s ok. 

Add a few drops of milk or water if the dough is very dry. Occasionally scrap the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.

How Do I Know When Babka is Done?

When it’s ready, the babka will be a deep golden brown on top. A toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf should come out without any wet dough sticking to it (melted chocolate is okay). If you have an instant-read thermometer, it should read between 190°F to 200°F in the center of the loaf. Let the babka cool to room temperature before slicing.

FAQs

How to store babka?

Store the cooled babka wrapped in plastic wrap or in an airtight container on the counter for up to two days. This cake will start drying out after 24 hours, but the good news is that it freezes well.

How to freeze babka? 

Once the babka is completely cooled, wrap it in a few layers of plastic wrap, then in foil. Store it in the freezer for up to a month. Thaw the wrapped babka at room temperature. Before serving, warm the babka in a 325°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until warmed through.

Can I omit the sugar syrup?

Yes. The syrup is optional. Brushing a sugar syrup on the surface of the cake helps to add moisture and can prevent the cake from becoming dry.

Can I double the recipe?

Yes. Make sure to measure your ingredients correctly.

More Jewish Recipes You’ll Love 

Round Spiral Challah

Israeli Chocolate Rugelach

Star of David Pretzels

Crispy Potato Latkes

All opinions are always 100% honest and my own. Links are affiliate links. If you click a link and buy something, I receive a commission for the sale. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and you are free to use the link or not as you choose. If you do use my links, I appreciate your support!

A hand holding a piece of Chocolate- Babka- Wreath

Chocolate Babka Wreath

Author Rachel
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Resting Time 5 hours
Yield 1 wreath
Print Pin Recipe

Description

This New York bakery favorite has an enchanting swirl of chocolate, artfully nestled between layers of buttery dough and topped with sugar syrup.
Kosher, Dairy

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 1 stick (110g) unsalted butter cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) whole (full-fat) milk
  • 3 and 1/2 cups (500g) sifted all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting and kneading
  • 1/3 cup (70g) granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon (10g) active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature 
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • butter or natural oil for greasing the dough and pan

For the chocolate filling:

  • 1 small jar of Nutella or your favorite chocolate spread

**Or- Make your own spread:

  • 1 stick (110g) unsalted butter that is very soft but not completely melted 
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons (40g) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon cinnamon

For brushing

  • 1 any size egg
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk or water

For the sugar syrup:

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) water
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar

Instructions

Make the dough:

  • Melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the milk and stir well.
  • Place flour, yeast, and sugar in a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook and mix on low speed for about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the eggs and milk mixture, and mix on medium speed until the dough comes together (2-3 minutes). Add salt. If the dough hasn’t come together, add a few drops of water or milk. Occasionally scrap the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure all ingredients are incorporated. Continue mixing for about 10 minutes on medium speed until the dough is completely smooth, elastic, and shiny, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

The first rise:

  • Transfer the dough to a large bowl with floured hands and spray the top with oil. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Place it in a warm environment to rise until doubled, about 90 minutes to 2 hours.
  • Alternatively, leave it in the fridge for at least half a day or overnight to rise. *If placed a long time in the fridge, the dough can become hard – that’s normal; leave it at room temperature to soften for 30-60 minutes or until it’s easy to work with.

Make the filling: *skip this step if you are using a store-bought spread

  • In a bowl, whisk together butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and cinnamon until well combined. It should be a thick, spreadable consistency.

Make the wreath:

  • Prepare the pan: Apply a thin layer of oil to grease the pan, ensuring that all nooks and crannies are well-coated.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and put it on a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough in a large rectangle, about 3/4 inch thick.
  • Spread the chocolate filling on the dough in an even layer all the way to the edges. Tightly roll up the dough like a jelly roll and place it on its seam.
  • Use a sharp knife or a dough scraper to slice the log in half lengthwise so you have two long pieces, and set them with the chocolate layer exposed. Twist the logs together, keeping the cut sides facing up. Transfer the twisted dough to the prepared tube pan and cover it with a clean towel. 
  • *Optional* I've found that freezing the log for 20-30 minutes makes the slicing much easier.

Second rise:

  • Allow the shaped loaf to rest for 1-2 hours (depending on how warm your room is) until almost doubled in size. 
    Chocolate (Nutella) Babka Wreath raw in a pan

Bake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
  • Whisk 2 tablespoons of milk with the egg and brush the babka loaf. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until babka is golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and generously brush with syrup. Let it cool completely before slicing.

While the babka bakes, you’ll need to make the sugar syrup:

  • While the babka bakes, you’ll need to make syrup to brush it over with. Bring sugar and water to a simmer until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. As soon as the babka leaves the oven, brush the syrup all over it. It will seem like too much, but will taste just right — glossy and moist. Let cool about halfway in the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way before slicing.

Notes

How To Store Babka?

Store the cooled babka wrapped in plastic wrap or in an airtight container on the counter for up to two days. This cake will start drying out after 24 hours, but the good news is that it freezes well.

How To Freeze Babka? 

Once the babka is completely cooled, wrap it in a few layers of plastic wrap, then in foil. Store it in the freezer for up to a month. Thaw the wrapped babka at room temperature. Before serving, warm the babka in a 325°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until warmed through.
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Hi, I’m Rachel.

Welcome to my little corner of the internet! I’m happy you’re here. I am the food blogger and photographer behind “Mama Living Abroad.”

In this space, I am sharing flavorful Israeli and Jewish recipes that I love to make and have my family and friends approve. My blog is 100% Kosher.

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