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Spiced Easter Babka

This yummy recipe is the perfect balance of chocolate, spice, and sweetness that says EASTER in just a single mouthful. A great project for a rainy day or long weekend.

Prep Time

30 mins

plus rising

Cook Time

30 mins


makes 2 loaves


Special Occasions



1 cup milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp dry yeast

1/4 cup sugar

3 1/4 high-grade flour

1 tsp salt

2 eggs

80g butter, melted but not hot


60g butter, melted

125g dark chocolate

2 tbsp good-quality cocoa

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp mixed spice

3/4 cup icing sugar

3/4 cup sultanas, finely chopped


1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

3–4 whole star anise



To make the Dough, gently heat milk and vanilla in a small pot until lukewarm (it should feel neutral to the touch when you dip your finger into it, not hot).

Remove from heat, sprinkle yeast over the top, and whisk lightly to disperse.

Whisk in 1 tbsp of the sugar and stand for 3 minutes.

Place 2 cups of the flour, the remaining sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and make a well in the centre. Add the milk mixture and knead with the dough hook on low for 5 minutes.

Add the eggs and the butter and continue kneading until the dough comes together — it will be very sticky.

Gradually add the rest of the flour and knead on low speed for 5 more minutes.

Place a piece of clingfilm over the top of the dough and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about an hour).

Tip the risen dough into a shallow rectangular 2-litre baking dish and press out flat in the dish.

Cover with clingfilm and chill for at least an hour (or overnight).


While dough chills make the Babka Filling.

Melt the butter in a pot, take off heat, add chocolate, and stir until melted and smooth.

Mix in spices and cocoa and then stir in the icing sugar — the mixture should be a thick spreadable paste.

Allow to cool before using, it will thicken further as it cools.


Cut a line lengthways down the center of the dough in the dish to give two halves.

To make one babka, take half of the dough out of the dish and roll it out on a piece of baking paper into a rectangle 25cm x 40 cm/10in x 16in.

Spread the filling evenly all over the rolled-out dough, taking it right to the edges. Sprinkle over the chopped raisins or sultanas.

Roll up firmly along the shortest edge to form a log.

Place in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes so the log can firm up a little, it will be easier to cut and twist (if you leave it too long the filling will harden and the dough will be difficult to shape).

Line a loaf pan with baking paper. Cut loaf of dough in half lengthways. Twist the dough by folding the two pieces across each other and then push the ends together like an accordion to shorten the log so it can fit in the tin. Place the twist into your prepared tin.

Cover babka with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place (not hot or the butter will melt) for 30-40 minutes. It won’t double as the layers are too thin but should feel soft and puffy to the touch when it’s ready to bake.


Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F fanbake. Bake babka until golden and cooked through (about 25 minutes).

While the babka is baking, make the Syrup Glaze by heating sugar, water, and star anise in a small pot, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 3-5 minutes or until syrupy. Brush the scrolls with hot syrup as they emerge from the oven.

Serve warm (can reheat in the oven for 5-10 minutes).

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