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How to make spiced babka

With a delicious swirl of spiced cinnamon and cardamom butter, this sweet bread may look intimidating, but follow our easy step-by-step instructions below and you'll have a gorgeous, nutty, fragrant cake in no time. Don't forget to screenshot the ingredients list at the bottom for when you go shopping.

  1. Make the dough

    Heat the milk in a small saucepan until warm, but not hot or steaming. Pour into a large bowl, sprinkle over the yeast and leave for 5 mins until foamy.

    In a separate bowl, combine the flours, cinnamon, sugar and salt. Add the egg and dry ingredients to the milk; stir until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then knead the dough using a stand mixer with a hook attachment, or an electric whisk with a dough hook, for 10 mins until smooth and elastic. Add the butter to the bowl.

    Make the dough
  2. Mix and rest

    Mix in the butter for 5 mins (with the dough hook) until you have a smooth but tacky dough. Cover with clingfilm and leave to prove in the fridge for 6 hrs or overnight.

    Mix and rest
  3. Make the filling

    Make the filling by beating the butter, sugar, hazelnuts, cinnamon and ground cardamom together with an electric whisk until combined. Grease a 900g loaf tin (about 25 x 13cm) and line with nonstick baking paper.

  4. Roll out the dough

    Turn the dough out onto a well floured work surface and, using a flour-dusted rolling pin, roll out to 30 x 60cm. Dust with additional flour as you roll, if needed. 

    Roll out the dough
  5. Add the filling

    Spread the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1.5cm border. Starting at a long edge, roll up tightly like a Swiss roll.

    Add the filling
  6. Shape the babka

    Using a large sharp knife, cut the dough lengthways down the middle, stopping about 4cm from the end. Turn over both strands so the cut sides face up, then twist the two strands around each other, keeping the cut sides up. Press the two loose ends together to finish. 

    Shape the babka
  7. Place in the tin

    Carefully place one end of the dough in the corner of the tin and snake back and forth to the edges to create S shapes. Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for 30 mins or until puffed and risen.

    Place in the tin
  8. Bake the babka

    Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Remove the clingfilm and bake the babka for 15 mins, then cover with foil and return to the oven for 1 hr or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. If the mixture clings to the skewer, return to the oven, covered, for 15 mins, then remove and repeat until the skewer comes out clean.

  9. Make the glaze

    Meanwhile, make the glaze. Put the sugar in a small saucepan with 75ml cold water. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.

  10. Brush with glaze

    Remove the babka from the oven and immediately brush with the sugar glaze. Leave to cool for 15 mins in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. It will keep for up to 4 days stored in an airtight container.

    StepByStep 636x418 1 Babka

  11. Ingredients

    Here's all you need to make this delicious babka. Be sure to note down the ingredients or take a screenshot before heading to the shops.

    125ml whole milk
    7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
    150g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
    150g strong white bread flour
    1 tsp ground cinnamon
    40g caster sugar
    ½ tsp salt
    1 large egg, beaten
    140g unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature, plus extra for greasing

    For the filling

    100g unsalted butter, softened
    100g soft light brown sugar
    100g hazelnuts, finely chopped
    2 tbsp ground cinnamon
    ½ tsp ground cardamom seeds (from about 10 large pods)

    For the glaze

    75g caster sugar

    Serves 10

    Each serving contains

    • Energy

    • Fat

      29g 41%
    • Saturates

      13g 67%
    • Sugars

      24g 26%
    • Salt

      0.3g 4%

    of the reference intake
    Carbohydrate 47.2g Protein 6.2g Fibre 3.3g