Breakfast and Brunch, Dessert

Best Ever Chocolate Babka

Nicoletta June 8, 2018

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Best Ever Chocolate Babka, combines a light and tender homemade brioche dough, with a rich and scrumptious filling made of dark chocolate, butter, cocoa, icing sugar, and cinnamon. Finished off with a brushing of simple syrup, you would want to eat it slightly warm for a sensorial experience you’ll never forget!

Song of the day: Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) – Eurythmics.

Best ever chocolate babka

I hardly say things like “the best ever” associated with my baked goods, mostly due to my deep insecurity and being very hard on myself all the time So, if I’m here saying that this chocolate babka is the best ever, you might as well believe me.


What makes me say that, is the fact that I put together two of my trusted recipes, and for trusted I mean repeatedly tried and true, plus the fact that they come from two outstanding sources.

The brioche dough is from the Duchess cookbook, and after trying their brioches in multiple forms, and attending their class on brioche dough, I’ve been playing with it quite a lot, enjoying myself and providing our family with the best brioches ever. For the filling, I relied on Deb Perelman, Smitten Kitchen, whose recipes have never disappointed me. She herself, adjusted her recipe from none other than Yotam Ottolenghi’s Chocolate Krantz Cakes, and I completely trust her on that. I am pretty sure her recipe for the dough is quite good as well, but I wouldn’t change my brioche dough (errr, I mean Duchess brioche dough, lol) with anything.

Best ever chocolate babka

To get your hands on this Best Ever Chocolate Babka, you will need two days, anyway, it will be worth every minute you spend making it. Unfortunately, to obtain a great brioche dough, you need some time as it needs to rest overnight in the refrigerator, plus, after you’ve shaped whatever you’re making with it, classic brioche, brioche muffins, babka, brioche Pépin, it needs a second rising before being baked.

So let’s pretend you have the dough ready, and for all the tips go back to this post.

I usually use only half of the dough to make this babka and leave half in the freezer for later use. I don’t mind my babka being on the shorter side, but I have to say, if you like a fuller and taller babka, use the whole batch of dough.

Follow the recipe on how to roll it into a rectangle and how to make the filling. It is quite easy. Spread the chocolate filling on the dough and roll into a log. It can get quite messy, especially if the chocolate spread is still warm and a bit runny, and while you roll it, it seems it wants to escape everywhere. I let it cool down and after the log was done, I followed her suggestions to put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes; it definitely helps to cut it in a cleaner way.

Best ever chocolate babka  Best ever chocolate babkaBest ever chocolate babkaBest ever chocolate babka

Hope the pictures are helpful and if you made it down to here, you really want to make this Best Ever Chocolate Babka happen. You won’t regret it.

Cut the log in half, twist, or braid, the two sides keeping the cut sides facing out, and gently place the twist in the loaf pan where it needs to rise for 1 and half hours, covered with a damp towel. It will look like this after the resting time, puffed up and ready for the oven. I was salivating, by then, imagining how it would be when baked…

Best ever chocolate babkaBest ever chocolate babka

The Best Ever Chocolate Babka is finally out of the oven and your kitchen smells like a fancy bakery. In the meantime, you have made the simple syrup (water and sugar) and are ready to brush it on the warm babka. It gets all glossy and screams “eat me, eat me!”. Pretty soon, let it cool just a little, and then you can cut into it.

Best ever chocolate babka

Cold is still fantastic, but slightly warm this Best Ever Chocolate Babka is a sensorial experience you’ll never forget. If you are a chocolate lover like me, you can understand. All your senses are engaged: visually it is stunning, then you break the slice with your hands to bring it to your mouth and it smells amazing of cocoa, sugar, butter, cinnamon, and chocolate. Your taste buds are singing “Hallelujah” and your fingers are stained with chocolate, as well as your mouth. No judging here, for licking your fingers. The brioche is light, tender, and buttery, and the filling is rich, scrumptious, and oh so good, and it melted in every crevice of the braid. The syrup makes it moist and deliciously just-right sweet.

Needless to say, I’ve made it already a few times, for our breakfast/dessert and to bring it to a girls’ night. Very much appreciated on every occasion.

Hope you’ll make it and let me know if you dream about it after you’ve had it once. I do. My dreams taste like chocolate, sometimes…

Song of the day: Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) – Eurythmics.

Best ever chocolate babka

Best Ever Chocolate Babka

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
  • Yield: 1 babka 1x
  • Category: Dessert, Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: International


Best Ever Chocolate Babka, combines light and tender homemade brioche dough, with a rich and scrumptious filling made of dark chocolate, butter, cocoa, icing sugar, and cinnamon. Finished off with a brushing of simple syrup, you would want to eat it slightly warm for a sensorial experience you’ll never forget!


For the brioche (recipe from the Duchess cookbook):

  • 13 g (1 Tbsp) fresh yeast, crumbled (or 6.5 g dried yeast)
  • 30 g (2 Tbsp) whole milk, warmed (I also use half & half cream when I have it)
  • 250 g ( 1 1/2  cups + 1 Tbsp) all-purpose flour
  • 30 g (2 Tbsp) sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs, organic
  • 145 g (2/3 cup) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature (but not too warm)

For the filling (from Smitten Kitchen):

  • 65 g dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cacao)
  • 60 g unsalted butter
  • 25 g powdered (icing) sugar
  • 15 g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • pinch of cinnamon, optional (but good!)

For the syrup:

  • 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp water
  • 3 Tbsp (37 g) granulated sugar


For the brioche:

  1. Heat up the milk in a small bowl, in the microwave for a few seconds (10-15). The right temperature of the milk should be between 26°C and 32°C to activate the yeast. Stir the crumbled yeast into the warm milk until dissolved.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add the flour, sugar, salt, and mix on low speed. Add the eggs, one at a time, the dissolved yeast and keep mixing on low until all the ingredients are well combined. Stop the mixer once to scrape down the sides.
  3. Still on low speed, gradually add the butter, a few cubes at a time. Once all the butter has been added, turn the mixer up to medium speed and continue mixing until the dough is smooth and shiny and has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. This should take 15-25 minutes, no less.
  4. Gently, shape the dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  5. Punch down the dough, cover again, and refrigerate overnight.
  6. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Punch it down a second time and shape it into a rectangle. At this point, the dough is ready to use, but it can also be wrapped in plastic wrap lightly sprayed with oil and stored in the refrigerator for up to two days or in the freezer for up to one week.

For the filling (for one chocolate babka):

  1. On a bain-marie (double boiler), melt dark chocolate chunks and butter until smooth and shiny. Let it cool a bit, then add cocoa, icing sugar, and cinnamon (if using), and mix. You will get a spreadable paste that looks and smells quite delicious.


  1. Coat a 9-by-4-inch loaf pan with oil or butter, and line the bottom with a rectangle of parchment paper that comes up to the sides (it will be helpful when taking the babka out of the pan).
  2. Take the dough from the fridge (leave the other half in the fridge or freezer for later use). Roll out on a well-floured counter to about a 10-inch width and 12 inches long.
  3. Spread the chocolate mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around.
  4. Brush the end farthest away from you with water. Roll the dough up with the filling into a log. Seal the dampened end onto the log. (I followed Smitten Kitchen’s instructions and transferred the log in the freezer for 10 minutes. It made it much easier to cut in half).
  5. Trim the last 1/2-inch off each end of the log. Gently cut the log in half lengthwise and lay them next to each other on the counter, cut sides up. Pinch the top ends gently together. Lift one side over the next, forming a twist, or braid, and trying to keep the cut sides facing out.
  6. Transfer the braid as best as you can into the prepared loaf pan, then nest the trimmed ends of the log in the openings.
  7. Cover with a damp towel and leave to rise another 1 and 1/2 hours at room temperature.
  8.  Heat oven to 375°F (190°C). Remove towel, place loaf pan on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes. If it browns too quickly, you can cover it with foil.
  9. While babka is baking, make the syrup: bring sugar and water to a simmer until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside to cool a little bit.
  10. As soon as the babka leaves the oven, brush the syrup all over it. Let cool about halfway in the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely, or eat it when still slightly warm, outstanding!


The Prep Time includes the 1 and 1/2 hour resting time for the babka to rise again before baking but does not include the making of the dough and the resting time in the refrigerator overnight.

If you use all the brioche dough that you make with this recipe, you can make a big babka or two smaller babkas.

I used just half of the dough and with the other half, I made these. If you use frozen brioche dough, let it defrost in the fridge overnight and start from there.

This chocolate babka should keep for a few days at room temperature. I couldn’t test it, it was gone the next day.

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Best ever chocolate babka

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  • Avatar
    Reply Maria June 11, 2018 at 9:53 am

    This has been on my to do list for way too long… your recipe looks like it is the best of two worlds! I am also a big fan of Smitten Kitchen. I do not know if I will dream about it after I made it, but I’ve been dreaming about it ever since I saw it on Instagram. Looks unbelievable!!! I will keep you posted ♥

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 11, 2018 at 10:30 am

      Thank you so much, Maria! I am a chocolate lover and this for me is heaven 🙂 . Hope you make it, let me know if the instructions are clear and how it turns out, I trust your expertise a lot!

  • Avatar
    Reply Denise from Urb'n'Spice June 13, 2018 at 3:26 pm

    My goodness – you have done it again, Nicoletta! My mouth waters as I look at your beautiful photographs of the Best Ever Chocolate Babka. And I am absolutely sure it will be the best ever. I have a ‘chocolate drawer’ in my kitchen so it will not be long before I decide which of the dark chocolates will be chosen for your recipe. I am so excited to try it. 🙂 Thank you once again for sharing such a wonderful recipe with us! By the way, how do I rate your recipe? I do not see the star chart.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 14, 2018 at 7:36 am

      Thank you so much, Denise! I am in love with this babka. You know, the spinach brioche was fantastic, but I have a sweet tooth and chocolate is my weakness, so Heaven, for me, tastes like this 🙂 . Hope you make it, and as I said to Maria, tell me if it was easy to follow, how you liked it, your critics, everything. Very much appreciated. The star chart is in the recipe box.

  • Avatar
    Reply Lily {Gastro Senses} June 14, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    I’m seriously drooling here. Everything about this babka is amazing. Pinning this for sure so I can give myself a treat this weekend!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 15, 2018 at 7:22 am

      Thank you! Hope you make it and let me know 🙂 .

  • Avatar
    Reply Leanne | Crumb Top Baking June 15, 2018 at 5:27 am

    I believe this is the best ever babka! I’ve been drooling over it since I saw the photo on Instagram! Thanks for the step by step photos! Makes me feel like I could actually make this! Pinning for later!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 15, 2018 at 7:23 am

      Thank you, Leanne! These are those pastries that if you have never done, you need a step by step instructions. Hope those help! 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply Terri June 15, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    Ha! Your dreams are made of chocolate sometimes 🙂 mine too…This looks delicious and I need a baking challenge this summer! I’ve only ever made Ukrainian Babka Easter bread, which is pretty different. So, this would be really fun – I love the twistiness of it!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 15, 2018 at 6:32 pm

      Glad to hear I am not alone with my dreams of chocolate 😉 . It is a sweet challenge. Hope you enjoy it!

  • Avatar
    Reply Dianna August 31, 2018 at 11:39 pm

    Any ideas on how to make this a cinnamon babka (without the chocolate)?

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta September 1, 2018 at 8:57 am

      I haven’t made it with cinnamon so I don’t know, sorry. You might need more butter than what my recipe says, more sugar (brown sugar or regular, not icing sugar) and at least 1-2 Tbsp of cinnamon (no chocolate and no cocoa powder). But for the exact proportions, I would have to make it again. Play with the consistency and try, or check the filling of some cinnamon babka recipes online. Thank you!

  • Avatar
    Reply Cookies4kids January 20, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    Is it possible to make two lo@ves with only 1 1/2 cups flour? I am a fairly new baker and I don’t want to mess this up. Thanks.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta January 20, 2019 at 10:42 pm

      Hi! Yes, if you follow the recipe, you will have enough dough to make 2 babkas. But remember the filling is only enough for one. Double it if you want to make two chocolate babkas at the same time. Happy baking!

      • Avatar
        Reply Maxine May 16, 2019 at 10:52 am

        Hi Nicoletta! Do we also double the syrup if we want to make two babkas? (1/2 cup water and 6 tbsp sugar) Thank you!

        • Nicoletta
          Reply Nicoletta May 16, 2019 at 11:00 am

          Hi! So excited you’re making the babka! Go 1/3 cup water and 6 Tbsp sugar for 2 babkas. Let me know how it turns out, please😊.

        • Avatar
          Reply Aviva September 18, 2019 at 10:58 am

          Definately deserving of its title! Seriously worth the work and the overnight wait! Best recipe I’ve tried and I’ve tried alot!

          • Nicoletta
            Nicoletta September 18, 2019 at 11:08 am

            Thank you! So happy to hear that! I make it often because we are all in love with this babka 🙂 .

  • Avatar
    Reply Carly June 5, 2019 at 6:12 am

    I had a lot of trouble with the recipe. I made it twice and the first time the dough wouldn’t come together at all, and the second it came together after I added a few more tablespoons of flour, but it didn’t rise. I know my yeast is still good, do you have any suggestions ?

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 5, 2019 at 7:52 am

      I am sorry to hear that. I know how frustrating it is when a recipe doesn’t turn out. I also know brioche dough is not the easiest dough to obtain. This is a trusted recipe, one that works every time, because it is the recipe of a renowned bakery and one I’ve been using for a long time after I attended their class. There may be a few reasons why it didn’t turn out. 1) The yeast and the warmth of the milk. Too warm or too cold and the yeast gets killed. Baker’s yeast or active dry yeast only (no instant yeast). 2) The eggs, one at a time, waiting to be incorporated beore adding the next one. 3) After all the butter is added, the time you keep mixing it on medium speed. 15-20 minutes is only indicative. You have to keep going for longer until the dough is smooth and shiny and it pulls away from the sides and rolls around the hook. When you think it’s done, that is when the dough has pulled away from the sides and the bottom and it is rolled around the hook, take a little piece of the dough and stretch it between your fingers; it should feel elastic and stretch until thin and see-through. 4) More time. One hour, covered, at room temperature, then it needs to be punched down, covered again, and put in the refrigerator overnight.
      Hope that helps, maybe the third time is a charm. Anyway, let me know how it goes, this babka is really too delicious too pass 🙂 .

  • Avatar
    Reply Jason December 28, 2019 at 6:01 pm

    Is the overnight chill necessary?

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 28, 2019 at 7:50 pm

      For the ultimate results, the overnight chill is necessary. However, if you want to try to make brioche dough on the same day, it needs to rise the first time until double in size, probably 3 hours. After that, leave it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out, it will be easier to roll. I’m curious to see how it turns out.

  • Avatar
    Reply Suri April 1, 2020 at 7:27 am

    Hi there,
    I got sick of watching Blippi making babka so I had to make it too! It’s baking right now. With the other half I put cheese jalapeños bacon and cream cheese. Baked them like you did your other half and I can’t stop eating them! Thanks for the idea.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta April 1, 2020 at 7:31 am

      Thank you! That savory version sound absolutely delicious!

  • Avatar
    Reply Caitlin April 28, 2020 at 9:24 pm

    Do you know if it is possible to make the dough without eggs? Can you recommend a good substitute? This looks delicious but my daughter has an egg allergy. Thank you!!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta May 3, 2020 at 10:04 am

      Hi Caitlin, brioche dough is an enriched dough and that means there are butter and eggs to make it so light and fluffy. I’m not sure about a good substitute, you would probably have to go with a vegan recipe. Or research ‘enriched dough without eggs’. Sorry I can’t be of much help.

  • Avatar
    Reply Abino June 6, 2020 at 9:31 am

    Never have made one before I would have to rate it a 5, had to mix 30 min for the right density.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 6, 2020 at 10:02 am

      Thanks! I’ll rate it for you! Yes, that’s about right. I mix it for 25-30 minutes every time I make it. It seems long, but that’s how brioche dough works. And you cannot beat the texture you obtain!

  • Avatar
    Reply Ruth June 8, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    Hi, this recipe looks amazing. Quick question: do I use The regular flat beater for steps 1 through 3 and after adding the butter change to the dough hook? Thanks!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 8, 2020 at 11:11 pm

      Thank you! No, change it to the dough hook before you add the butter. Let me know how it goes!

  • Avatar
    Reply Nina June 22, 2020 at 8:22 pm

    Hello Nicoletta
    I’m so happy to have chanced upon your website. What a find! I have used Smitten’s babka recipe a couple of times to great results. Although we love chocolate, I find it too much to have to finish 2 loaves at a go(we are not fans of freezing them). I am delighted that with the brioche dough you use here, I have the option of making a savoury counterpart that looks just as amaxing – your spinach onion brioche!

    Before I get it going, can I ask if one portion of the brioche dough can indeed make 1 choc babka loaf and 1 portion of Spinach Onion Brioche? Smitten uses 530g of flour for 2 babka loaves and your recipe which also would make 2 loaves only uses 250g of flour. Thank you !

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 23, 2020 at 6:34 am

      Hello Nina! That is exactly what I do all the time. Make the dough and divide into two. One is enough for the babka you see here, the other I use it for the brioche muffins you saw in the other post. Let me know how it goes! Thank you!

      • Avatar
        Reply Nina July 2, 2020 at 4:44 am

        Dear Nicoletta
        I wanted to thank you for your reply and to let you know that I have tried making this today. As I wrote earlier, I’ve used the Smitten babka recipe so that’s the only experience I can compare with. This dough was not the easiest to work with probably due to the high butter content. It took 10min longer than written in the recipe in the mixer to get the dough ready. I used a 8 1/2 by 41/2 inch pan and it did not fill up the pan as much as I would have liked it to. But the texture and the taste more than made up for it. SO SO soft and flavourful!

        I also took the opportunity to use the other half of the dough using your recipe – Spinach Onion Brioche. I used our leftover home made pesto. I managed to only make 8 muffins out of the half portion of dough. I must tell you that my family and I demolished them at one go. It was a perfect combination of flavours. And the dough just barely there. SO SO good!

        Thank you so much for sharing the recipes! I see us making them again and again. Perhaps the next time I will increase the recipe by 1/3 to get a fuller and loftier Chocolate Babka. Take care and keep safe!

        • Nicoletta
          Reply Nicoletta July 2, 2020 at 11:09 am

          Thank you again, Nina, for your feedback! I am extremely pleased that both the babka and the brioche muffins were devoured. We love both and are happy if our readers love it too. As for the dough, I know it is not the easiest but you will se the more you make it the more you get the hang of it and it becomes your friend 😉 . As for wanting a loftier and fuller babka, I know what you mean, you want it taller, more like a bread. You could try using the whole recipe, maybe? We love it like that but I understand, you have to make what you and family love. Happy baking!

  • Avatar
    Reply Rachel Kogan November 1, 2020 at 4:27 pm

    Hello Nicoletta,
    I sent you a message on Instagram, I didn’t realize I can post here. I too had the same issue as one of your followers. My dough was very wet. I added a cup of flour to get the dough to stick. The dough did not rise. I did put it in the fridge and see what will happen to it when I bake it. I followed your recipe to the letter, the only difference is that I do not have a stand up mixer, I used my hand mixer. I did mix for 20 minutes, but the dough was very liquid. I would assume that kneading this by hand would not work. I want to be able to get this right. Thank you.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta November 2, 2020 at 8:05 am

      Hi! I answered you on Instagram, but I am going to answer here as well, it can be useful for other readers with the same issue. To make a brioche dough you need to use a stand mixer with the dough hook, or you need to work it by hand, patiently, and with good strength, for quite some time until all the butter has been absorbed and the dough is shiny, and not wet at all. The ingredients are correct, no adding flour to compensate for the wet ingredients. Even in the stand mixer, if you do not let it go on medium speed for 20-25 minutes it seems it is still wet, then, magic, it comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl (or your hands if you are kneading by hand). One more thing, I have the ingredients both in grams and cups, but I strongly suggest to use the weight measurements in baking. Hope you try again, some time.

  • Avatar
    Reply Hana November 25, 2020 at 8:58 pm

    Hi! I really hope you are online to answer my query, so I feel my dough hook isn’t able to reach the ingredients all the way, it just keeps rotating the top part. I am adamant to not use hands to make the dough! Did this happen with you? Will it come together? Or should I stop being stubborn and use hands?

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta November 26, 2020 at 7:19 am

      Hi, sorry, it might be too late, but it’s early morning here. It never happened to me. After about 15-20 minutes rotating, the dough starts to pull away from the sides and the bottom of the bowl. By all means, you can take it out and finish it by hand. You could do it all by hand, it only takes a lot of arm work to obtain the same shiny, soft dough. Let me know how you did!

  • Avatar
    Reply KJ December 20, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    Hi, I am getting ready to make this. The recipe says 145 g (2/3 cup) of butter. I just measured and 145 g of butter is actually closer to 1/3 cup. Is this a typographical error?

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 20, 2020 at 6:43 pm

      Hi! Sorry if this is late! The cookbook where I got the recipe says 145 g is 2/3 cup. I never made this babka using cups so I cannot confirm. I strongly suggest everyone, especially when making patisserie to get a scale. There is no comparison for precision. Hope you made it out.

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