This Rainbow Cheesecake Babka has a soft enriched dough that is coloured with rainbow sprinkles and swirled with a sweetened cream cheese filling. Can you find a happier babka loaf?
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.
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS RECIPE
Fun and vibrant | It’s hard to be sad when there are sprinkles in your food and this bake screams fun and happiness. The sprinkles make it really vibrant and bright so it’s stands out from the crowd.
Delicious cheesecake filling | The cheesecake filling is such a beautiful combination with the sweet brioche dough and sweet sprinkles. Although it’s sweetened it’s still relatively savoury which helps cut through the sweetness of the dough.
Soft Brioche Dough | Brioche bread is just heaven! Enriched doughs are so much fun to play with as you can add all kinds of flavours to help enhance it. This dough is made with oil, eggs, sugar and vanilla but you could also add milk or other flavouring if you wanted to.
WHAT IS BABKA?
A babka dough is a sweet twisted bread which is often filled with a delicious sweet filling such as chocolate or cinnamon. Originating from the Jewish communities in Poland the Babka was named after the women who created it. Jewish Grandmothers who made lots of Challah bread one day found themselves with lots of left over dough and so one day decided to enrich it with sweet dried fruits and sugars and then twist it up with a cinnamon sugar filling. The result became wildly popular and soon after this creation became known as the Babka because when translated into Polish is Grandmother means Babka.
Today the Babka has hundreds of variations (half of which I’ve probably posted on this website). It’s so much fun getting creative with the flavours of a Babka and the process is by far my favourite thing about baking it.
OTHER BABKA FAQ’S ANSWERED
HOW TO MAKE A RAINBOW CHEESECAKE BABKA
To make this Rainbow Cheesecake Babka find the steps below but follow the full recipe for ingredients and more detailed instructions.
THE RAINBOW ENRICHED DOUGH
Activate the yeast | Firstly, before getting our hands or mixers in on the action you’ll need to activate the yeast by mixing it with water and 1/3 of the flour. After 45 minutes the yeast will have fully activated and should be super puffy and ready to get down to business.
Add the wet ingredients | Once the yeast is ready add in the oil, eggs, flavouring and sugar and mix it all together until well combined
Add the flour and knead | Finally add the flour and knead it all together until it comes to a soft ball of dough. Unlike usual dough making methods where the yeast is added dry to the flour, you won’t need to knead too much as the process at the beginning has already formed all the delicious gluten.
Prove | Allow the dough to prove for a few hours at room temperature or overnight in the fridge
Knock out the air and shape | Once it’s proved and double in size, knock the air out and spilt the dough in half. You can make two babka’s, make babka knots, use the dough to make a babka dough cinnamon roll or freeze the dough and use another time.
All the sprinkles | Add the sprinkles to the dough and gently knead it in until evenly distributed, then roll it out and get ready to add that delicious cheesecake filling.
THE CHEESECAKE FILLING
Combine all ingredients | Add the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla to a bowl and mix it all together with a spoon until well combined.
Follow the recipe below to find out the rest of the recipe for filling, shaping and baking the babka.
TOOLS YOU WILL NEED
- Several Mixing Bowls
- Palette Knife
- 2lb Loaf Tin
- Non-Stick Baking Paper
- Pastry Brush
Shop these Tools
OTHER BABKA RECIPES YOU WILL LOVE
I would love it if you tagged me @mykitchendrawer on Instagram if you make this Rainbow Cheesecake Babka. It’s the biggest honour to see my recipes come to life in your kitchen and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to drop me a message. Happy baking!
Rainbow Cheesecake Babka
For the dough
- 500 g strong white bread flour
- 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
- 240 ml hot water not scalding hot
- 1 tbsp salt
- 50 g caster sugar
- 120 ml sunflower oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 150 g rainbow sprinkles
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
For the cheesecake filling
- 150 g cream cheese
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the dough
- 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).
- TIP: You can choose to prove overnight here. This process slows down the rise and enhances the flavour. Leave for up to 12 hours in the fridge and return to the next steps the following day.
- When the dough has fully proved tip it out of the bowl and punch it down. Add the rainbow sprinkles and knead them into the dough mixture until evenly distributed then divide it into 2 equal parts. Using a rolling pin, roll each piece into a rectangle about 11-inches in width by 17-inches in length.
- If you only want to make one babka at this point, you can wrap the dough in cling film and seal it in a freezer bag to freeze for up to 3 months. Alternatively you could use this dough to make babka knots instead. See my Jaffa Cake Babka Knot recipe for steps on how to make the knots.
For the cheesecake filling
- Mix the cream cheese with the sugar and vanilla in a bowl and combine together until smooth and slightly loosened.
- Spread half the filling over the the top of one rectangle leaving ½-inch border all the way around, then roll up the dough horizontally into a log. Wrap the log in parchment paper and transfer it to a baking sheet.
- Repeat with remaining dough and filling then transfer the logs to freezer to chill for 15 minutes.
- While it chills, grease two loaf tins with butter
- Place one chilled log onto a large cutting board and remove baking paper. Cut the log in half lengthwise and lay them next to each other cut sides up so you can see all the jam 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 tin
- Repeat with the other log and cover tin with a tea towel to prove again for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 190C, then place the loaf in the oven an bake on the middle rack of your oven for 25 – 30 minutes.
- Remove the loaf from oven and brush with maple syrup generously over both loaves whilst they're still warm. Leave for 15 minutes then turn them out onto a wire rack.
- Slice and serve while they're still warm.