Donnerstag, 4. Oktober 2007

Chocolate Babka

Yesterday started out gray and rainy. It was a holiday, the Day of the German Unity, so I did not need to go to work. But instead of enjoying la dolce far niente I grew restless and bored pretty quickly, feeling shut in by the rain. I decided to distract myself with baking. For a while now I have been wanting to try my hand at the „Chocolate Babka" from „Chocolate and Vanilla" by Gale Gand. An egg-rich, yeasted sweet bread, filled with chocolate and almond paste, rolled up, then twisted around itself and coiled in a snail shell shape in the baking pan - that sounded intriguing. A quick check showed that all ingredients were available. The recipe said „1 tube almond paste". I used marzipan instead, which I bought last Saturday with vague plans of turning the big „Belle de Boskoop" apples I found at the farmers’ market into stuffed baked apples. The recipe also called for only 1 ½ cups flour to be added to the sponge, but that is hardly enough. At this stage the dough was still liquid, much too liquid to be kneaded. So I added easily twice that amount of flour, not measuring, but adding bit by bit until the dough felt just right. I started to worry about the amount of yeast I had used for the sponge. Would it be enough? It was. The dough rose beautifully. I deflated it, rolled it into a more or less rectangular shape and plopped the filling in the middle. Of course it was very difficult to spread evenly. I should have made several little mounds. It would have been far easier to cover all of the surface. Then I rolled and twisted and coiled to my best ability. The outcome looked promising...

After the final resting period I brushed the top of the cake liberally with eggwash (a little cream and an egg yolk mixed together). This step is not mentioned in the recipe, but I wanted the babka to develop a nice, shiny crust. The babka is then baked for about 45 minutes. It smelled heavenly. I could hardly wait for it cool. By the evening the babka had completely vanished (having two teenaged nephews coming over for visiting aka raiding the sweets and dessert supplies tends to do that to cakes!). I never had a babka, chocolate or otherwise, before. So I don’t know if my cake is anything near authentic. But if truth be told I don’t care all that much... It was delicious the way it was!