I had never heard of babka before I started baking with kids and my eyes were opened to the amazing variety of different cakes and breads from the talented bakers of Instagram.
Each year a lovely community of social media bakers take part in a bakealong that runs in line with The Great British Bake Off. You can recreate a bake from the show or make your own recipe that corresponds with the weekly challenges. When festival buns came up, I couldn’t resist a chance to finally try my hand at babka, but with my own spin.
These spiced chocolate orange babka buns came about as I had the ingredients in my cupboard and love christmassy flavours. I never intended to write up the recipe but after sharing the photos in Instagram I had so many lovely messages asking for the recipe I thought I’d get myself in gear and write it up 😀 I was also lucky enough to win this weeks bakealong so these are now Prize winning Babka Buns!
It’s a long one and would be a huge undertaking with smaller children so have a good read through and please hit me up with any questions you may have!
Happy Babka Baking!
You will need a 12 hole muffin tray well greased.
- 600g strong white bread flour
- 50g butter
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 large egg plus 1 yolk
- 10g fast action yeast
- 300ml just warm water
- 2x tablespoons cocoa powder
- Grated zest medium orange
- 100g dark chocolate chips
For the filling
- 150g soft butter
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 100g soft brown sugar
For the orange glaze
- 50ml orange juice
- Teaspoon mixed spice
- 150g caster sugar
Maybe it’s just me or the soft water in South Wales but I always seem to make the stickiest bread doughs. They do produce lovely soft breads though so it’s worth the webby messiness in the process. These Babka Buns are once again, super sticky before the first proove so if your making with your little ones, prep with towels nearby and sleeves rolled up. Always a good idea to keep rings off fingers too 😀
Measure your warm water into a jug, then stir in the sugar and yeast. Leave to sit for 5 minutes or until the surface of the water becomes frothy.
In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (at slowest speed) or large bowl, mix the butter into the flour. Add the eggs and frothy yeast-water and continue to mix either by hand or in the mixer into a sticky dough.
Continue to knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until its smooth and elastic (it will still be very sticky), then divide into 2 halves.
Add the grated orange zest to one half, kneading in well, and pop into a greased bowl and cover.
Add the cocoa powder to the remaining half, again kneading in well. Pop into a greased bowl and cover.
Leave the doughs to proove for about an hour and a half or until doubled in size.
Flour your work surface generously and roll out your orange flavour dough to a rough rectangle shape. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the dough.
Roll out the chocolate dough again to a rough rectangle and place gently on top of the orange dough, sandwiching the chocolate chips between the layers of dough. Don’t worry if the two doughs aren’t an extact fit, they’ll be knotted up before baking so there’s plenty of room for rough edges.
Pop onto a baking sheet and leave to proove for a further 30-45 minutes or until puffed back up to double height.
Preheat the oven to 200°C
You can make the filling in this time if your feeling super organised.
To make the filling just mash the butter, spice and sugar together in a bowl and set to one side.
Slice your puffy rectangle of dough into 10 strips down the long edge.
Gently flatten the middle of each strip and add a layer of the spiced sugar filling. Fold the strip in half lengthways (so side to side rather than top to bottom) and twist the strip until it starts to curl onto itself. Curl into a gentle ball and place into the muffin tin.
Repeat with the remaining strips of dough.
Pop into the oven for 30 minutes or until a deep golden colour. It may be worth making the glaze in this time.
For the glaze again just pop all the ingredients into a saucepan. Stir gently over as low heat until the sugar has melted and the mixture just begins to thicken slightly.
Whilst the buns are still warm brush generously with the glaze. These babka buns are definitely best enjoyed warm and perfect when eaten on the day of baking.