This is the third Babka recipe I am adding to the blog! (Check out the chocolate and cinnamon babka under Desserts). I have been thinking about baking it for some time. And it seems to be the most popular and requested recipe!
If you read my original Babka recipe filled with chocolate you know the history behind Babka! It fits somewhere between a cake and a sweetbread. Perfect for dessert or breakfast. Or just an afternoon snack with delicious latte!
This sweet cheese filled babka is truly decadent! In Israel, it is a very popular cake. It is simply called a yeast cake over there and comes in many varieties of fillings. There isn't a cafe that does not serve this.
It is similar to a "cheese danish cake" but in my opinion tastier and much more moist. You can use many cheese mixes and quite honestly any cream like cheese will be fine.
I came up with this filling to use in my basic babka yeast dough simply because of what I had in the fridge at the time. It turned out so good and I quickly wrote down the recipe before I forgot what I did. So I am sticking to this mix, it's perfect!
I baked one and froze one. Babka dough freezes so well.
So let's get started with how to make one of these delicious cakes.
My basic Babka Dough
Ingredients you will need for the basic dough:
You can use this basic dough for all yeast cakes of any shape or size. The amount given here will be enough for 2 medium loaf tin size cakes.
500 grams of all purpose (plain) flour
1 tablespoon dry active yeast
A pinch of salt
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla sugar - I like using this in certain cakes for a soft vanilla flavor. It comes in small packets or a container. You can use a teaspoon of vanilla extract instead if you cannot find it.
½ cup canola oil
1 cup tap water (this varies according to flour used etc. and you will need to judge, start with less as you may need to add a little more if your dough is too dry or a little less if your flour is too sticky. Add a little more flour if your dough is too sticky
Cheese Mix filing
Whipped cream cheese - 230 grams or 8 oz of any make (I used Fresh Market's own whipped cream cheese)
3 Tablespoons vanilla pudding powder
5 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons of milk - I used almond milk but any milk will do
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Egg wash for brushing on before baking
1 egg - beaten
1 tablespoon tap water
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For basic dough - follow the directions with photos in the link below
To make Sugar Syrup
In a small pot, heat the sugar and water, bring to a boil. Stir and continue cooking on a lower heat for about 3 minutes. It will thicken slightly. Set aside to cool. You will pour this over a hot babka.
To make Cheese filling mix
In a bowl add whipped cream cheese and sugar and mix until all blended together. You can use a mixer or a wooden spoon for this. I used a wooden spoon. I was too lazy to clean up the mixer after.
Add vanilla pudding. Add egg. Add milk. Whisk altogether until it is blended. Cover with Saran Wrap and put in fridge to thicken a little. If you think it is too watery after refrigerating you can add a little of cornflour. Mine was just right, it does not have to be super thick and is a little soft.
You can let the dough rise in the fridge overnight. With yeast cakes the longer you let it rise the fluffier your dough will bake. After your dough has risen for about 2 hours or overnight take out and press in the middle to let out the air.
Cut dough in half and place one piece to the side covering it with saran wrap.
Flour your surface so the dough does not stick when rolling it. Sprinkle a little on top of the dough.
Roll out the dough to an oval shape
Add cheese mix in the middle of rolled out dough leaving the sides without a filling.
Cut with scissors or knife about 3/4 - 1 inch strips all along the sides.
Fold each strip over the filling alternating strips. I am not too fussy about this part. It does not have to be perfect it comes out very nice either way!
Repeat the same with other dough you have put aside. Place both lifting carefully on a baking tin lined with parchment paper. Cover with saran wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 340 degrees.
After 30 minutes brush with the egg wash
Put in oven for 20-25 minutes. Bake until golden brown on top. Always check the bottom of the pastry to see if it is hard and slightly brown. This means it is done
As soon as it comes out of the oven brush with cooled sugar syrup covering all of the pastry
Enjoy! This is truly decadent!