Want a change from mince pies and stollen this festive season? Swap them for a big old slice of babka cake. It’s traditionally an Eastern European sweet yeast bake, but is popular in America too.

Top tip: If you’d like your babka very sweet and moist, brush the top of it with a sugar syrup once it’s out of the oven.

New York style chocolate babka
Lisa Nieschlag and Julia Cawley/PA
New York style chocolate babka
Print Recipe
Nutrition Facts
New York-style chocolate and hazelnut babka
Amount Per Serving
Calories 3123 Calories from Fat 1440
% Daily Value*
Fat 160g246%
Saturated Fat 79g494%
Cholesterol 602mg201%
Sodium 1077mg47%
Potassium 1175mg34%
Carbohydrates 371g124%
Fiber 23g96%
Sugar 126g140%
Protein 64g128%
Vitamin A 3728IU75%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 340mg34%
Iron 20mg111%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

New York-style chocolate and hazelnut babka

Try this traditional Eastern European sweet yeast loaf, made even more delicious with a New York twist with the addition of chocolate and hazelnuts.
Prep Time2 hours 25 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time3 hours
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1 loaf
Calories: 3123kcal


For the dough:

  • 290 g flour
  • 1.5 tsp dried yeast
  • 40 g sugar
  • 1 generous pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 60 ml milk
  • 70 g butter softened

For the filling:

  • 50 g hazelnuts blanched, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 70 g chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • 50 g butter
  • 25 g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder


  • Butter to grease the tin
  • Flour for dusting the work surface


  • For the dough, combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs, milk and butter and knead everything for about 10 minutes to make a smooth, pliable dough. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave the dough to rise for about one hour.
  • Meanwhile, for the filling, dry-roast the hazelnuts in a small frying pan. Add the sugar and caramelise lightly. Combine the semi-sweet chocolate and butter and melt over a double boiler. Set aside to cool, then stir in the icing sugar and cocoa powder.
  • Butter the loaf tin. Dust your work surface with flour and roll the dough out to a rectangle about 35 x 25cm. Spread the chocolate filling evenly across the dough, leaving a margin of about 1.5cm. Sprinkle with the caramelised nuts, then roll up the dough tightly and evenly, starting from the narrow side. Halve the rolled-up dough lengthwise with a sharp knife to allow the layers of dough and filling to fan out decoratively. Pinch the ends together and carefully intertwine the two strands, making sure that the cut surfaces always point upwards. Transfer the intertwined dough roll to the loaf tin, cover and set aside to rise for another hour
  • Make sure to preheat the oven in time to 175°C (330°F/Gas mark 4-5). Bake the babka for 30–35 minutes. If the surface gets too dark, cover the loaf with tin foil after about half of the baking time. Remove the tin from the oven and set aside to cool before removing the babka from the tin. Leave to cool fully before slicing.


Calories: 3123kcal | Carbohydrates: 371g | Protein: 64g | Fat: 160g | Saturated Fat: 79g | Cholesterol: 602mg | Sodium: 1077mg | Potassium: 1175mg | Fiber: 23g | Sugar: 126g | Vitamin A: 3728IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 340mg | Iron: 20mg

New York Christmas: Recipes And Stories by Lisa Nieschlag and Lars Wentrup, photography by Lisa Nieschlag and Julia Cawley, is published by Murdoch Books, priced £30. Available on Amazon.

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