Chocolate Hazelnut Babka


An Easter tradition from the Balkans, this beautiful babka coffee cake with a ribbon of rich, chocolate hazelnut spread is excellent served for breakfast or enjoyed as a midday snack.

Serves: 6-8
Difficulty: moderate
Active time: 30-40 min
Non-active time: 5-12 hr
Bake time: 40 min
Equipment: loaf pan, stand mixer, pastry brush

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At a glance
1/2 c milk
1 generous t dry active yeast
2 lg eggs, beaten
2 + 1/4 c all purpose flour
3 1/2 T + 1/3 c sugar
7 T unsalted butter, softened
1/2 t salt
1 c chocolate-hazelnut spread, such as Nutella
1/4 c water
2-3 T hazelnuts, chopped


In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk milk and yeast to dissolve. Reserve 2 T beaten eggs and add remaining eggs, 2 c flour, 3 1/2 T sugar, butter and salt to bowl. Using the dough hook, knead for 6 min on low speed. Dough should be soft, shiny and a bit sticky. If it's too sticky and will not hold together, add flour a tablespoon at a time, until soft dough forms. Place dough into a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate at least 4 hr or overnight for a better result. Cover and chill reserved egg, as well.

babkademo1Place dough onto lightly floured work surface. Roll out into 12" x 16" rectangle, approx. 1/4" thick.

babkademo2Working quickly, spread chocolate hazelnut spread evenly over dough, all the way to the edges.

babkademo3Starting from a longer side, roll dough tightly into a log.

babkademo4With a sharp knife, cut log in half crosswise. Place logs side-by-side.

babkademo5Cross logs in the center.

babkademo6Continue crossing until you reach the ends, approx. 3-4 times, to create a braid. Lightly press together ends.

babkademo7Grease loaf pan with spray or butter before transferring braid to pan, fitting it snuggly inside.

babkademo8Brush top with reserved egg, then cover. Let it sit at room temp for 1 hr.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour water into small saucepan, add 1/3 c sugar and bring to a boil, stirring only once to dissolve. Once syrup is boiling, cook for 30 sec, then remove from heat and allow to cool.

babkademo9Brush babka with egg a second time and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts.

Bake 25 min, then rotate and continue to bake for 15 min more. If cake browns on top quickly, tent loosely with foil and finish baking.

babkademo10Remove from oven and immediately brush generously with syrup.

Let cool in pan for 10 min then remove babka and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Babka can be stored at room temp up to 4 days. Microwaving each serving 10-15 seconds is recommended if not serving soon after baking.


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