Chocolate and Fresh Cherry Babka Loaf with Crumbly Almond Topping

Silvena Rowe's rich soft buttery bread is laden with chocolate and cherries and has a deliciously crunchy topping
By Silvena Rowe
Chocolate and Fresh Cherry Babka Loaf with Crumbly Almond Topping
  • Rating:
  • Serves: Makes 1 loaf, serves approx 4 people
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes plus 3 hrs rising time for the dough
  • Effort: medium


For the almond topping

  • 40 g cold butter
  • 50 g plain flour
  • 80 g caster sugar
  • 100 g almonds, coarsely chopped

For the loaf

  • 10 g dried yeast
  • 90 ml warm milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 small egg yolk
  • 55 g caster sugar
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 50 g unsalted butter, softened and cubed
  • 300 g dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids, coarsely grated
  • 300 g fresh cherries, halved and pitted
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten


1. For the almond topping: place the butter, flour and sugar in a food processor and process until the mixture resembles chunky breadcrumbs. Mix in the almonds - the mixture should be very crumbly. Chill until needed.

2. For the loaf: put the dried yeast in a small bowl with the warm milk, stirring constantly to dissolve.

3. In a separate bowl whisk the egg, egg yolk and the sugar for about 2-3 minutes until creamy and pale in colour. Stir in the yeast mixture.

4. Put the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour in the egg and yeast mixture, pulling everything together to form a dough. Add the butter and knead for at least 10 minutes until the dough is smooth.

5. Place the dough in a large greased bowl, cover with a cloth and leave to rise for 2 hours in a warm place.

6. Preheat the oven to 170C/gas 3.

7. Butter and line a loaf tin with baking paper and then butter the paper.

8. Place the grated chocolate and cherries in a bowl.

9. Roll the dough into a square about 1cm thick on a well-floured surface. Brush the edges with egg yolk and spread all but 2 tablespoons of the chocolate and cherry filling onto the rolled dough.

10. Roll up the dough from one side into a tight log shape, pinching the ends to seal. Twist in 4-5 places into a horseshoe shape, then cross the two halves over each other to form an open-ended figure of eight; twist again and fit into the prepared loaf tin. The aim is to get a plaited look.

11. Spread the top with the remaining chocolate and cherry filling. Finally sprinkle with the almond topping and leave covered in a warm place for about 1 hour until doubled in volume.

12. Bake the babka for 1 hour and 20 minutes until cooked. Cool in the tin for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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