Spiced Chocolate Orange Babka Buns

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.


Pumpkin Bread Rolls

My eldest girl lives for Halloween and all things spooky. So as soon as the pumpkins hit the shops we really have to reel her in.

From late September she has been angling to go pumpkin picking and now eight out of ten doodles involves a pumpkin headed scarecrow. Her pumpkin love has spread to her sister who has taken to calling her tangerines ‘mini pumpkins’…

As we’ve now entered October, I’m going with ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’. I’ve seen a few exotic looking pumpkin bread recipes but this has been given the BWK treatment.

The batch makes 6 good sized individual bread rolls, and the recipe is super simple. A basic bread dough, with soft cheese and an easy glaze for the lovely orange colour.

Top Tip before you start and if you’re new to bread making, dough rises quickly in warm, humid environments. So if your dough is taking its sweet time, you may want to pop it in a warmer location.

You will need a baking sheet, lined with baking paper.


For the dough

  • 400g strong white flour
  • 2x teaspoons fast action yeast
  • Teaspoon of salt
  • 30ml vegetable oil
  • 250ml warm water
  • For the filling
    • 6 x heaped teaspoons soft cheese (we uused primula)

    To finish

    • Plenty of plain string
    • 1 small egg beaten
    • Few drops orange food colour
    • 2 French beans – chopped into 6 half inch pieces

    Firstly you have been warned of the messiness involved when baking with kids. This bread dough starts off really sticky so be prepared with a few towels nearby and sleeves well rolled.

    In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or large bowl, add all the dough ingredients and mix well to form a sticky mess dough.

    Continue to knead for 5 to 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

    Pop back into the bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave for an hour and a half or until at least doubled in size.

    Divide the inflated dough into six portions of roughly equal size. (This is a great activity for little ones to move on from a sensory activity to fine motor and problem solving).

    Flatten out each portion and add a teaspoon of cheese into the centre. Pinch the dough around the cheese to form a ball.

    The next bit may be more of a grown up job, depending on the age of the kids you’re cooking with.

    Roll the dough balls in flour to ensure the surface is no longer sticky.

    Cut lengths of string apx 35cm long and wrap around the balls of dough, crossing underneath as you go to form sections. Try not to tighten the string; the dough will puff up around it afterwards.

    Preheat the oven to 220°C/ Gas mark 7.

    Place on a lined baking sheet and leave for 40 minutes or until the rolls have puffed up to about an extra third of their size.

    In a mug or jug, mix the egg with a few drops of orange food colour.

    Brush the rolls with the egg mixture and pop into the oven for 30 minutes or until the bottom of the rolls sound hollow when tapped (grown up job).

    Allow to cool slightly before carefully removing the string.

    Top with a piece of French bean to serve 🎃🎃🎃