July 14, 2020

Cherry Cream Cheese Babka

Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
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Cherry cream cheese babka! Have you ever thought about experimenting with something? And it was so interesting creatively that you felt that you couldn't rest until you tried it? Well, this is that. I have a running list in my phone full of recipe ideas. Sometimes I'm out and about and I think about a recipe. To remember it, I jot them down to try at a later date. When I thought about this flavor of a cherry cream cheese babka, I was so excited to try it. Because I have a lot of projects going on right now, it took some time to perfect this recipe. Maybe 2 weeks.

I was super invigorated after being outdoors and enjoying being outside without too much worry. So when I got back to the house, I was so excited to give this a try. I combined milk and active dry yeast and waited for it to get all foamy and then added it to flour and sugar, butter, salt, and vanilla extract - you know, the basics. Then set the dough outside on the balcony. My house is always cold. It was so humid outside and I didn't want to have to wait forever for the dough to rise.

Mmm, I waited an hour and checked on the dough and nothing happened. I was pretty perplexed because this has never happened to me before. I automatically assumed the dough was simply taking longer than usual and waited another half hour - still nothing. At this point, I decided to bring it indoors. Then I set it in a warm oven with the oven light on - still nothing.

cherry cream cheese babka

So I attributed this to a fluke. I started again, at this point it was around 11:30pm, but I was determined. I checked on the dough at 1am - still flat, no yeast activity. So I trash both sets of dough and go to bed. For my third attempt, I bought new yeast and decided that maybe something was wrong with it. Still nothing. At this point, I'm questioning my sanity and if I kept forgetting a step every single time. So, for my fourth attempt I used both a different yeast and a different flour.

I very slowly and deliberately assembled all of the ingredients and results was SUPERB. I made the most beautiful brioche-like dough and truly felt that I redeemed myself. It still perplexes me to this day as to what happened, but mercury was in retrograde at the time and perhaps the baking gods just weren't on my side.

I will state that even throughout all of my baking attempts to perfect this recipe, there's nothing particularly difficult about it if you have patience. Also, if you're kind to the dough. I feel like these are important when baking, specifically bread. Bread can be so fickle and finnicky and honestly, no matter how many times you make bread (any kind of bread), your results are always different. I'm okay with this because I love baking but wow, this recipe sent me for a ride. A fun ride but a hell of a ride nonetheless.

As you can see, I hold this near and dear to my heart because I frequently make recipes where it can take multiple attempts to perfect, but seldom do I ever make a recipe that just completely "fails" like such. It is so true when people say baking is a science because truly it is. I say all of this to say, if you make this recipe, it is a labor of love but it is so worth it. The cherries and the cinnamon and cream cheese with the most beautiful flaky crumb really make all of the steps worth it.

Cherry Cream Cheese Babka

Cherry Cream Cheese Babka is a fun and delicious summer baking project! It's creamy, full of cherries, and a delicious brioche-like dough!
Serving: 4 servings
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 10 mins
Calories: 300kcal

Ingredients

  • ½ cup milk, lukewarm
  • 2 ½ tsp active dry yeast
  • cup granulated sugar
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour + 2 tablespoons
  • 2 tsps kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 4 eggs
  • 10 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½ cup cream cheese
  • 1 cup fresh dark cherries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • Glaze - 2 cups powdered sugar - ¼ cup heavy cream - 1 tsp vanilla - 2 tbsps water

Directions

  • Combine warm milk, pinch of sugar, and 2.5 tsps active dry yeast in a small bowl and allow yeast to become foamy, around 8-10 minutes.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add flour, ⅓ cup sugar, salt, vanilla, cinnamon, and the yeast mixture. Beat the mixture on low and begin adding eggs one at a time. Mix until dough comes together. If dough does not come together, add a tablespoon of flour and continue to mix. If needed, continue to add 1 tablespoon at a time until dough begins to form.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of butter at a time, allowing the butter to become fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next tablespoon. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Once all butter is added, continue to mix for 8 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  • Oil a large mixing bowl and add dough. Cover with a towel and add to the oven with the oven light on. Allow dough to rise until it has doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
  • Once dough has risen, press the dough down ad refrigerate overnight.
  • Remove dough from refrigerator about an hour prior to baking and allow dough to come to room temperature. At this time, also remove the cream cheese from the refrigerator so that it may soften.
  • Prepare the filling by removing the pits of the cherries and adding them to a sauce pan over medium heat. Add ½ cup of sugar and stir until the cherries begin to reduce and a syrup begins to form. Bring mixture to a boil and continue to boil until sauce thickens, about 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool.
  • On a floured surface, cut dough in half and roll out dough into a rectangle, about 9x18. Cut off any uneven scraps. Smear a thin layer of cream cheese all over dough and then add cherries from cherry sauce on top of cream cheese. Add about 2-3 tbsps of the sauce and save the remainder for topping. Repeat with the other half or save in the refrigerator for later.
  • Roll dough into a long log and add to a baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Cut dough in half, lengthwise and lay one half of the dough on top of the other, making an "X" and twist downward. Pinch the ends on both sides. If a bit of the filling comes out, it's normal.
  • Transfer dough to a greased loaf pan and cover with a towel. Allow to rise for another hour to hour and a half.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and baking for 40-50 minutes. Allow to cool.
  • For the glaze, add all of the ingredients together and whisk. Pour on top of babka along with the remainder of the cherry sauce.
  • Eat!

Nutrition

Calories: 300kcal
Course: Bread, Breakfast, desserts
Cuisine: American

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  1. Hi Britney, I really want to attempt this. Can you possibly provide a pic or diagram of these steps:

    Roll dough into a long log and add to a baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
    Cut dough in half, lengthwise and lay one half of the dough on top of the other, making an "X" and twist downward. Pinch the ends on both sides. If a bit of the filling comes out, it's normal.

    I'm kinda confused!

    Thanks so much!