This brioche style yeasted bread is baked with layers of sticky sweet cinnamon scented chocolate. A bit like a cinnamon swirl bun, but the chocolate takes centre stage. It's divine and much easier to make than you might think. It's ideal for a special breakfast, brunch or afternoon tea. Then again, just enjoy a slice with a cup of coffee whenever it suits you.
Pour it into your mixing bowl and add the sugar and yeast. Stir until the yeast is dissolved, then cover with a plastic bag or tea towel and leave to ferment for ten to fifteen minutes.
When it's bubbled up a bit, add the flour, salt and eggs. Using the dough hook of your mixer, knead for seven minutes.
After a couple of minutes, start to add the softened butter, one piece at a time. Don't worry if the dough seems a little soft. It's meant to be. But it's for this reason that it's easier to use an electric mixer to knead the dough.
Leave it in a cool place for five to ten minutes to firm up a bit.
Gather the dough into a ball and place it on a large floured surface. Form it into a rectangle and roll out to, roughly 40cm by 30cm. Don't worry if it's not exact. Each babka is unique.
Spread the chocolate filling over the dough with a flat bladed knife, leaving a one centimetre gap around the edges.
Roll the dough up lengthways so that you end up with a snake like tube. Leaving a couple of centimetres at one end in tact, slice the roll in half lengthways.
Plait the two strands together, starting at the joined end. Twist the strands as you go so that the chocolate layers are mixed up.
Pinch the ends together, then lay into your bundt mould or loaf tin, doubling up as needed.
Place inside a plastic bag or cover with a tea towel and leave for a one and a half to two hours to double in size.
When the dough is nearly ready, turn the oven on to 190℃ (375℉, Gas 5) and leave it to heat up.
Place the babka on the middle shelf of the even, then turn the heat down to 180℃ (350℉, Gas 4). Bake for 35 minutes. The babka is done when the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Just tip it out of its mould or tin onto a wire rack and test. If it needs a bit longer, place it back in the mould or tin and bake for a further five minutes.
Pour the syrup over the top of the babka and use a brush to ensure as much of it is coated as possible. The bread will soak it up quite quickly.
Leave in the mould for five minutes for the syrup to soak in properly, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool.
Melt the butter in the milk pan, over a low heat. Break the chocolate into pieces and add to the pan. Turn off the heat and leave the chocolate to melt.
As soon as the chocolate has melted, add the sugar, cinnamon and cocoa powder. Stir until more or less smooth.
Allow to cool and thicken enough so that it's spreadable, but not so thick that it will tear the dough.
Warm the sugar and water in a pan until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, then turn off the heat and leave to cool. The liquid should be syrupy, but still runny.
Delicious eaten either warm from the oven or at room temperature. It will keep for a few days in an airtight container, but it's best consumed within two as it will dry out as time progresses.For a special breakfast such as Christmas, prepare the babka the night before and leave it in the fridge overnight where it will rise slowly. In the morning, just pop it into the oven and you'll have delicious warm babka for breakfast.Instead of cinnamon, try a flavoured chocolate such as orange, chilli or ginger.Please note: calories and other nutritional information are per serving. They’re approximate and will depend on exact ingredients used.