Our local bakery has a Chocolate Babka Roll that is absolutely amazing. It has a sweet roll dough with bittersweet chocolate rolled into it. I’m typically not one for chocolate in my pastries, well, for breakfast anyway, but this is one for the books. This decadent pastry screams for a cup of strong dark coffee on a Saturday morning. I needed to make it myself.
I was paging through my Jerusalem cookbook the other day and came across the recipe for Chocolate Krantz Cake. Well low and behold it looked a lot like the Chocolate Babka from the bakery. The introduction to it says, “Making a krantz isn’t easy or quick. BUT it is guaranteed to be well worth it!” Now why wouldn’t I want to try it. I’ve got all the time in the world…for chocolate babka (aka Chocolate Krantz Cake).
I didn’t get any good pictures of the dough. It’s a little different in the fact that you don’t let the yeast “work” for a bit. You dump the yeast, sugar, flour and lemon zest (a perfect addition) into a mixing bowl and just start adding in the eggs, water and salt. After it’s mixed up a bit (still crumbly) you add in the 2/3 cup of butter a piece at a time until it makes a gorgeous glossy dough. Then you let that sit over night.
When you get it out of the fridge the next day, it’s as hard as a rock (not quite). I was a little nervous that I messed something up when I took it out. But, it rolled out beautifully.
Here is the filling. For some reason I melted the butter separate. You don’t need to do that. Put it all in one pan and melt it down.
Spread it evenly on the rolled out dough.
Sprinkle with pecans and sugar.
Roll it up the short way. (this way).
NOT this way. For some reason I was not paying attention. I got this far into it with my first half of dough and realized that I had not only rolled it up the wrong way, I also forgot to sprinkle the pecans and superfine sugar on it.
I decided to cut the long piece in half before I sliced it the long way. That way I could make one regular sized loaf (unless I messed up the 2nd half) and 2 smaller loaves.
This is what it should look like after you slice it the right (long) way.
Braid it a bit and make sure the top is squeezed together as well as the bottom.
And here it is. The “good” loaf anyway. Absolutely gorgeous, with it’s glossy top.
I plan of freezing the top 2 which should freeze pretty well according to the original recipe.
It was delicious. Definitely worth the time and the effort.
I will be making it again.
- 4¼ cups organic white flour
- ½ cup organic white sugar
- 2 tsp fast rising dry yeast
- zest of 1 small lemon
- 3 extra large free-range eggs
- ½ cup water
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅔ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut in cubes
- oil for greasing
- ½ cup organic powdered sugar
- ⅓ cup good quality cocoa powder
- 4½ oz good quality dark chocolate
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup pecans
- 2 T superfine sugar
- ⅔ cup water
- 1¼ cup superfine organic sugar
- Place the flour, sugar, yeast and lemon zest in a mixer.
- Mix at low speed for 1 minute.
- Add the eggs and water and mix on low speed for 3 minutes until the dough starts to come together.
- The mixture will be a bit crumbly.
- Add the salt and then start adding the butter, a few cubes at a time, until it is incorporated into the dough.
- Continue to mix for at least 10 minutes on medium speed until the dough is completely smooth, elastic and shiny.
- During the mixing process, you will need to add a small amount of flour to the sides so that all of the dough leaves them. (it took about ¼-1/2 cup of flour for me)
- Place the dough in a large bowl and cover with oil and then with plastic wrap.
- Leave in the refrigerator for at least half a day, preferably over night.
- Grease 2 loaf pans with butter or oil.
- Divide the dough in half and keep one half covered in the fridge.
- Make the filling by mixing together all of the ingredients together.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 15x11 inch rectangle.
- Spread the chocolate mixture over the rectangle.
- Sprinkle with half of the pecans, then sprinkle half of the superfine sugar.
- Roll up like making rolls- making sure to roll up starting with the short end.
- Press to seal the end and then use both hands to even out the roll into a perfect think cigar like shape.
- Rest it on the seam.
- Using a knife, gently cut the roll into half lengthwise. With the cut sides facing up, gently press together one end of each half.
- Fold in a braid like form and pinch bottom together.
- Carefully lift the cake into a loaf pan.
- Repeat with the other half.
- Cover the pan with a wet tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1-1½ hours.
- Preheat the oven to 375 and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- While the cakes are in the oven, make the syrup.
- Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- As soon as the sugar dissolves, remove from heat and leave to cool down.
- As soon as the cakes come out of the oven, brush all of the syrup over them.
- Use all the syrup.
- Leave cakes until they are just warm, then remove from the pans and let cool completely before serving.