Fluffy and light brioche swirled with cinnamon filling and topped with a cinnamon-sugar crunch.
I made a chocolate babka a couple of weeks ago and loved the light texture of the brioche so much that I wanted to make other flavors.
This cinnamon version still has that light, fluffy and melt-in-your-mouth texture and it also has a cinnamon crunch. Have you ever had a cinnamon crunch bagel from Panera’s? Well I think I accidentally found the “crunch” part that they put on top of those bagels. The filling part of this recipe leaks out a little during baking and then when it cools it turns into a cinnamon crunch! I also like to top the babka with a little extra cinnamon-sugar for some texture.
I also experimented with making a demonstration video. The assembly of the babka isn’t hard; it’s just a lot of steps so I made this video to help you out! You can also refer back to my chocolate babka post for assembly pictures!
- 4 cups (450 g) all purpose flour, divided plus more for dusting
- ½ cup (110 g) granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon instant yeast *
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup salted butter at room temperature, cubed
- Vegetable oil
- 2 cups light brown sugar
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
- ¼ cup salted butter, melted
- 2 egg whites
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- Place 3¾ cup flour, sugar, and yeast in a stand mixer bowl and combine with a spatula.
- Add eggs and water and mix in the stand mixer with the dough hook attachment on medium speed until the dough comes together.
- Add salt, sprinkling it around so it doesn't end up in a clump.
- Add butter a few cubes at a time on low speed.
- Beat the dough on medium speed for 10-18 minutes until it is elastic, smooth, and pulls away from the side of the bowl. If at 12 minutes your dough is still sticking to the bowl, gradually add the extra ¼ cup of flour.
- Lightly grease a bowl with the oil. Place the dough in the greased bowl and turn it over so that the dough ball is lightly covered. Cover with plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate the dough for 7 hours up until overnight. The dough should be doubled in size.
- Mix all the filling ingredients together with a spatula until smooth.
- Grease 2 loaf pans with cooking spray and line the bottom and long sides with parchment paper.
- Divide the dough ball in half and cover the half you aren't using and put it back in the fridge.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and shape it into a somewhat rectangular shape that is 15 x 11 inches. See video above to clarify the assembly instructions.
- Spread half of the filling over the dough leaving a ½ inch border all the way around.
- Roll the dough up tightly like you would for cinnamon rolls so that you end up with a 15 inch long roll and the 11 inch side is all rolled up.
- Cut about ½ inch off each side of the roll to get rid of the portion without any filling in it.
- Cut the roll in half lengthwise. So the filling should be very visible along the length of both halves. See video.
- Roll the halves over so that the filling is facing up and not to the side.
- Twist the two halves together so that you have a plait with the filling showing on top. See video.
- If the plait is longer that your loaf pan, sort of squish it together so that it is fatter and not as long.
- Lift the plait up and put it in the loaf pan. Don't worry if there are gaps between the dough and the pan.
- Cover the pan with a damp tea towel and place in a nondrafty place for 1½ hours so it can rise. I put mine in the turned off oven or the microwave.
- Repeat the assembly steps for the second dough ball.
- When there is about half an hour left of rise time, preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- Evenly sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar topping over the two loaves.
- Bake the cakes for 25-35 minutes until it is browned on top and not doughy in the middle. If they start to brown too much, cover the pan with aluminum foil shiny side down and keep cooking.**
- Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove to cool completely on a wire rack.
** I usually have to cover it for the last 10 minutes of baking.