Somebody asked me the other day what my favourite thing to bake was and the first thing that came into my head was Babka bread.
If I’m really honest with myself, as much as I love baking cakes and sweet patisseries, there is something about bread that really makes me happy.
I think it’s the therapeutic process of turning flour and water into something wonderful that makes it my favourite.. It’s also the very rare occassion that I get to bake using just my hands. My Kitchen Aid can do no wrong, but when it comes to bread there is no better method than the classic.
Babka Bread is particularly special because of it’s dreamy signature twist, and although this Rainbow Babka doesn’t show the pattern so well due to the pale colour, if it’s a chocolate like my Chocolate Orange Babka then the pattern is pretty special too.
There may be no pattern, but what it does make up for is in the taste. The cheesecake filling and the sweet enriched vanilla dough are the perfect combination, and one that you need to make immediately.
Trust me you’ll thank me later.
Rainbow Cheesecake Babka
Swirls of cheesecake and rainbow sprinkles to satisfy your inner unicorn.
- 500 g strong white bread flour I use Homepride
- 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
- 240 ml hot water (not scalding hot)
- 1 tbsp salt
- 50 g caster sugar
- 120 ml canola oil or other neutral oils
- 2 eggs
- 100 g rainbow sprinkles
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 300 g cream cheese
- 100 g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 100 g rainbow sprinkles
- 100 g white chocolate
Begin by whisking 130 g of the strong white bread flour with the yeast and stir in the hot water until combined. Cover with cling film or a tea towel and leave for approx 45 minutes, until puffy and bubbly.
Once it’s ready, add the salt, sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla, then stir until well mixed.
Add the remaining flour and fold through until a sticky dough forms. Turn dough onto lightly floured work surface and knead for just a few minutes, until it becomes smooth, then transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and cover it to prove for one to two hours (until it’s doubled in size).
While it proves, prepare the cheesecake filling by creaming the cream cheese and icing sugar together, then stir in vanilla extract until smooth. Stir through the 80g of the sprinkles then leave it to one side.
When the dough has fully proved tip it out of the bowl and punch it down and add the 100g rainbow sprinkles. Knead the sprinkles into the dough then divide it into two equal parts. Using a rolling pin, roll one half into a rectangle about 11-inches in width by 16-inches in length.
Spread half of the cream cheese filling over the top leaving ½-inch border all the way around. Starting from the short end, roll up the dough, then wrap it in parchment paper and transfer it to a baking sheet.
Repeat with remaining dough and filling then transfer loaves to freezer to chill for 15 minutes. Alternatively you could leave in the fridge overnight and return to it the next day.
While it chills, coat two 2lb loaf pans with butter and line each pan with baking paper.
Place one chilled log onto a large cutting board and remove baking paper. Trim last inch off each end then cut the log in half lengthwise and lay them next to each other cut sides up so you can see all the chocolate lines on the inside.
Lift one half over the other and twist each around the other, then transfer the twist as best as you can into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle over the left over sprinkles.
Repeat with the second log and cover pans with a tea towel to prove again for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 190C, then place the loaves on a baking sheet and bake on the middle rack of your oven for 25 – 30 minutes.
While the Babkas are baking, prepare the white chocolate drizzle by placing a bowl of white chocolate over a pan of simmering water and leaving it to melt. Once melted remove from heat and set aside.
Remove the Babkas from oven and leave to cool for 30 minutes in tins before turning out onto a wire rack.
Drizzle over the white chocolate and leave to set then serve and enjoy.