Hey everyone, it’s Sierra! Today I have for you a delicious recipe for pumpkin chocolate babka that is perfect for the fall!
I’ve been working on this recipe for almost a month now, and I’m finally ready to share it! Kevin introduced me to babka, and I just knew I had to learn how to make it. To make this recipe my own, I decided to play around with different fillings, eventually settling on a pumpkin spice puree and chocolate ganache filling. If you love pumpkin spice, this pumpkin chocolate babka is the dessert for you! Don’t forget to read the Tips section just before the recipe block to find out how to bake the perfect babka.
What is Babka?
Babka is a cross between a bread and a cake made by braiding rolled-up dough into a loaf. You start by rolling dough into a large thin sheet, spreading a filling (traditionally cinnamon or fruit jam), and then rolling it up to form layers. When Kevin saw me making this, he was surprised by how similar the technique was to making Chinese scallion pancakes. The rolled-up dough is then braided to fit into a loaf pan.
The way the dough is rolled and braided is what creates the amazing patterns inside the babka when you cut it open.
Recently, it has become common to add a streusel on top of the babka for additional flavor and texture. For this recipe, I made a pumpkin spice streusel to bring even more amazing pumpkin flavors to this babka.
What’s in the Filling?
Traditionally, babka was filled with cinnamon or fruit jam, but nowadays, there are a lot of popular fillings, ranging from chocolate and Nutella to apples. For my pumpkin babka recipe, I decided to do a pumpkin spice puree and chocolate ganache filling.
This was inspired by my love for pumpkin as one of my favorite fall flavors (I mean, who doesn’t love fall and pumpkin together?), and I wanted to create a recipe where it was highlighted. The puree is very simple, since you can easily find canned pumpkin puree at any grocery store, and I just combined it with sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice. The pumpkin puree filling by itself would not have yielded these beautiful swirls inside the babka, but combined with the ganache, it both looks and tastes amazing!
As I made many iterations of this pumpkin chocolate babka, I learned a lot of lessons along the way. Here are some helpful tips so you can get it perfect the first time!
- It’s important to use room temperature eggs and butter. The right temperature will make a dough that’s not too sticky or too dry. If you don’t have room temperature ingredients, you can soak the eggs in a bowl of warm water for 5-10 minutes. For the butter, the best way is to microwave for 10 seconds then let it sit to become softer throughout since the microwave will soften only the outside.
- If you have a stand mixer, use it! It will make your life a lot easier than doing it by hand or with a hand mixer. Make sure to use the dough hook!
- If you live in a cool environment, you can let the dough rise in the oven with the oven light on. Depending on how strong your oven light is, it could take 2 hours or more for the dough to double in size.
- On the refrigeration step, you can refrigerate the dough for up to 24 hours, but you should refrigerate for at least a minimum of 4 hours. To save time, make the filling during this time.
- After the dough is rolled into a coil with the filling inside, be sure to place it in the freezer for about 10 minutes! It will make the following steps much easier and ultimately result in a more aesthetic babka.
Let’s get started on this amazing pumpkin chocolate babka!
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