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Rainbow Cheesecake Babka

Soft enriched dough is coloured with rainbow sprinkles and swirled with a sweetened cream cheese filling. Can you find a happier babka loaf?
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time30 mins
Prove and Chill2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time4 hrs
Course: Snack
Keyword: Babka, Cheesecake, rainbow bread
Servings: 2 loaves

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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

To assemble

  • 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.

Notes

Storing and Freezing

Storing the Babka Loaf | Babka will keep well if stored in an air tight container for up to 4 days. It is best served within the first 24 hours to ensure you get the most from the texture. If you notice it has started to go slightly stale then you can toast the babka slices instead for a delicious snack.
Freezing the Babka Dough | If you want to make this dough ahead, or you wish to only use half of the dough you can freeze the dough after the first prove. Knock it back then wrap it up in cling film and into an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the container then allow to come to room temperature before using. 
Freezing the Babka Loaf | If you want to make both loaves but with to freeze one then leave it until it's just cooled then wrap it up in cling film and store in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the container, then pop it in the oven to warm up for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
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