Buttery and fluffy vegan chocolate babka with layers of chocolate ganache and a touch of cinnamon. This braided bread uses common pantry ingredients and is easy to make!
Table of contents
Ingredients you'll need
This vegan chocolate babka combines two of my VERY tried and tested recipes including my vegan brioche and dairy free chocolate ganache from my cookbook. You will need:
All-purpose flour (plain flour) or bread flour. Note that babka made with bread flour rises *a lot* more.
Plant-based milk, such as almond, soy or coconut.
Vegan butter at room temperature. Both block butter and vegan spreadable butter will work for this recipe. However, if you use block butter, you may need to add 1-2 tablespoons of extra milk
Cane sugar, coconut sugar or maple syrup.
Instant dried yeast which is the easiest variety of yeast as it doesn't need to be bloomed. However, other types of yeast will work for this recipe. As this babka has no eggs, we're using a little extra yeast to make sure the babka is FLUFFY!
Ground cinnamon and salt for flavor.
Dairy free chocolate and coconut cream for the chocolate ganache filling. I prefer this filling over the typical chocolate icing filling as it's richer.
If you'd like to make the babka without yeast, I've also included an option for sourdough babka! I haven't had much luck with using gluten-free flour for this recipe but I'm working on it so stay tuned.
A complete list of ingredients, quantities and instructions are in the gray recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Making the easy babka dough
Simply add all ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl then mix/knead it for 5-10 minutes. Unlike mixing a cake, the longer you knead the dough, the better!
If you use a stand mixer, around 5 minutes of kneading is enough. If you're kneading by hand, you will need to knead the dough for 10 minutes or more.
If you have a bread maker, you can use your machine to knead the dough and for the first rise!
Due to variability in ingredients and climates, your dough may be a little sticky or dry. If so, you can add a sprinkling of flour or dash of milk to get the dough to the right consistency. The dough needs to be soft and slightly tacky without sticking to the side of the mixing bowl or surface.
Tip: The softer the dough, your softer your babka will be. However, the firmer your dough, the easier it'll be to handle! The sweet spot is a dough which is slightly tacky but will hold it's shape when in a ball.
Tips for resting the dough
Leave your kneaded dough in your stand mixer or mixing bowl then cover it with a tea towel for at least 1-2 hours.
Make sure the bowl is in a WARM draught free spot in your home. If you live in a cold climate such as myself, place the dough near a heater or in the oven with the light on.
If your dough doesn't rise, re-position it in a warmer spot in your home. It's REALLY IMPORTANT that your dough rises at this stage otherwise your final vegan babka will be dense.
How to make dairy free chocolate ganache
This is the best chocolate babka recipe because it's filled with REAL chocolate rather than cocoa powder. Real chocolate always tastes better and is simply more decadent!
I'd recommend making the chocolate filling while your dough is resting. Simply add the chocolate and coconut cream to a small saucepan (or double boiler), melt and mix until incorporated.
By the time your dough has doubled in size, your ganache will have had time to cool. The ganache should be a little runny but spreadable.
Braiding the babka
Now, this is the fun and slightly messy step! Roll out your dough into a large rectangle or square. Spread your ganache on the dough and roll it up like a Swiss roll or burrito.
You'll now have a long 'log' of dough. Use a sharp knife to cut it in half lengthways to create two strips of dough with an intriguing zebra pattern.
Fold the strips of dough over each other, as if you're making a two strand braid.
Then carefully transfer the babka into a loaf pan. I shifted the bread onto my forearms and gently compressed it into my loaf pan. Don't worry if your babka is a little messy - each curve adds character to your bread!
Baking and serving the vegan chocolate babka
Similar to my jam donut babka, I baked this chocolate babka at 170°C (340°F) instead of the normal 180°C (350°F). This slightly lower temperature helps prevent the babka from burning quickly. It’s a tall bread so I wanted the heat to get right in the middle!
When your bread has finished baking, I'd recommend pouring/brushing a simple sugar syrup on the babka while it's still in its loaf tin. This makes the babka shiny and 'traps' some of the moisture.
The babka is best enjoyed warm! This vegan, parve, dairy free and eggless bread is just as delicious as your conventional babka!
Common recipe questions
If you use active dry yeast or fresh yeast, you will need to bloom it before using it in the recipe. To do this, simply add the yeast to a small bowl of warm milk with a punch of sugar. Wait until it bubbles then use it in the recipe. If it doesn't bubble, your yeast may be too old.
Yes! This babka can rest in the fridge overnight at either of the following stages:
1. After you make the dough, for the first rise. This is before you add the chocolate filling mixture and shape the babka.
2. After you shape the babka and place it in your loaf tin.
I personally prefer to chill the babka in the first option. This makes the dough cold which is so much easier to shape!
I'd recommend using coconut sugar or around 2-3 tablespoons of maple syrup instead of the sugar. However, some sweeteners like erythritol cannot be used to bake yeast breads.
Yes! The sugar syrup helps keep some moisture in the bread. I'd recommend tightly wrapping your babka or storing it in an airtight container.
I've baked this recipe and variations over 50 times which means it's a very tried and tested recipe. However, there are soooo many variations with ingredients and environments so here are a few ways to troubleshoot any issues!
Your dough should be soft and supple. However, it shouldn't stick to the side of the bowl or be so dry that you can see cracks in it.
As mentioned in Step 1, if your dough is sticky, simply add 1 tablespoon of flour and knead until it's combined. If your dough is dry, simply add 1 tablespoon of milk and knead until it's combined.
Your dough may resist ingredients at this stage of the mixing. However, keep kneading and it will get there!
Your bread doesn’t need to double in size – it just needs to grow by at least 50%! However, if it doesn’t grow at all, this could be due to various factors:
Issue 1: The dough needs to be placed in a WARM place. If you're in a cold climate, reposition the dough near a heater or in the oven with the light on.
Issue 2: Ingredient substitutions will 100% affect whether the dough rises. For example, heavier ingredients like spelt flour and olive oil will make it more difficult for it to rise.
It sounds like your oven is too hot! Lower the temperature of your oven and cover the babka with an oven-proof bowl or plate. Bake until the middle is just cooked!
Ovens can say they are 170°C (340°F) but are really much higher! If you bake a lot, I'd *highly* recommend you get an oven thermometer.
Other vegan bread recipes
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Vegan Chocolate Babka
Babka Dough (note 1 for sourdough version)
- 2 ½ - 3 cups (315 - 375g) all-purpose plain flour, or bread flour (start with less flour and add more if needed, note 2)
- ⅔ cup (165g) dairy-free milk, warm as needed
- ½ cup (112g) vegan butter or butter spread, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons (40g) granulated sugar, or coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon (10g) instant dry yeast, (note 3)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
Chocolate Ganache filling
- ⅔ cup (110g) roughly chopped vegan chocolate or chocolate chips, milk or dark and sweetened
- ½ cup (120g) thick scoopable canned coconut cream
Babka glaze (optional, see note 4)
- ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar, or coconut sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30g) water
- Line an 8 inch (20 cm) loaf tin with parchment paper. A longer loaf tin will work well too.
To make the babka dough:
- Combine all the dough ingredients in a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix until all ingredients come together.
- Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes. The dough is ready when it's soft, stretchy and comes away from the side of the bowl (or kneading surface). If the dough hasn't formed a smooth ball, add a dash of milk and knead again. If the dough sticks to the side of the bowl (or kneading surface), add a little more flour and knead again.
- Place the dough in a bowl and cover with a tea towel. Rest the dough in a warm place for at least 1 hour or until the dough doubles in size. If the dough doesn't double in size, place it in a WARMER spot and wait until it does.
To make the ganache filling:
- Add the chocolate and coconut cream to a small saucepan or double boiler over medium heat. Stir until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
Shaping the babka:
- Dust a clean surface with flour. Roll out the dough into a rectangle shape around 10 x 8 inches (25 x 20 cm) large. The long side of the dough should be a little longer than the length of your loaf tin.
- Spread the ganache on the dough leaving a 1 inch (2 cm) border around the edge. If you have too much ganache, reserve the remainder for drizzling on your babka after baking.
- Starting from the long side, roll the dough into a log (if your dough is extremely soft, see note 5). Use a sharp knife to cut the log in half lengthways. This will create two long 'strips' of dough. Carefully twist the two strips together. Use the pictures in the above blog post for guidance.
- Lift the twisted dough into your loaf tin. Cover with a tea towel and set aside to rise for at least 1 hour. The babka is ready when it rises by at least 20% and looks soft and puffy. You can also let it rest overnight in the fridge, as long as you bring the babka back to room temperature before baking.
Baking the babka:
- When your babka is ready to bake, preheat your oven to 170°C (340°F).
- Bake the babka for 30-40 minutes. The babka is ready when its surface is be golden brown and if you insert a skewer into the middle and there's no wet dough on the skewer.
- If the top of the babka is browning too quickly (and the middle isn't cooked), reduce the oven to 150°C (300°F) and cover the babka with aluminium foil (or an oven-safe bowl which doesn't touch the top of the babka). Remove the babka from the oven.
Sugar glaze (make this while your babka is baking):
- Add the sugar and water to a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. While the babka is still hot from the oven, pour the sugar glaze on top.
- The babka is best eaten on the day it is baked. Alternatively, store it an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days. Warm up the leftovers before serving.
- To make a sourdough chocolate babka, I'd recommend using ½ cup (~100g) active sourdough starter, reducing the flour to 295g, reducing the milk to 75g and omitting the yeast. This is a similar ratio to my tried and tested sourdough cinnamon rolls.
- If you use bread flour, your babka will rise *a lot* more. So I'd recommend baking the babka in a longer loaf tin or 2 x 8 inch loaf tins.
- Instant yeast doesn't need to be 'activated' or 'bloomed' beforehand. However, if you use another type of yeast (such as active dry or fresh), combine it with warm milk and a pinch of sugar beforehand. Wait until it bubbles then use it in the recipe. Note that different types of yeasts need different quantitites.
- Alternatively, use 50g of any liquid sweetener (such as maple syrup) instead of the sugar and water. Heat it up and drizzle on the hot babka.
- If your dough is too soft, it will be difficult to shape. If so, place it in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up. This is just for the appearance of your babka and will not affect its taste or texture.
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Shu Xian says
Can I substitute APF with Cake flour? That's what I have.
I haven't tried cake flour for this recipe but it should work. The bread may just be more like a cake than bread!
Loved making this recipe! It was also a big hit with my family! Thank you so much for sharing!
That's just amazing Shalom! Your babka looked amazing on Instagram :). Thanks so much for your feedback 🙂
Hi, is there a video for this recipe? I looked at your YouTube page and I don’t see one.
No I haven't created a video for this recipe yet!
This came out great!!! So tasty-buttery, moist and flakey.
That's amazing Hayley! Thanks for taking the time to leave your feedback!
First time making babka and it turned out great! So delicious that I made a second one 🙂 I was nervous about it but the recipe was easy to follow and came out great.
Hi Rachel, I'm so glad to hear that and especially that you made two!! Thanks for your kind feedback xo
Bhavesh Madaan says
Thanks for sharing this amazing chocolate babka recipe with all of us. I really like this recipe. One of the best recipe i have ever tried.
So glad to hear!
Wow! What an easy, show stopping recipe! This dough was a dream to work with, and the final result was SO SO SO tasty. I can’t wait to make this again!
I'm so you enjoyed making and eating it Acacia!!! Thanks for your lovely comment xo
Ash-Kara Seal says
I love this recipe. It’s very clear to follow and the end product is delicious. It’s great you can prepare it in the evening and then bake it in the morning. It makes a lovely breakfast, especially made with cinnamon sugar instead of chocolate.
Aww, I'm sooo happy to hear that! And glad that the overnight resting worked for you - I do that too! And ooooh cinnamon sugar would be divine. I'll have to try that one too :). Thanks for your kind comment xo
Ashley Prendergast says
Thanks for the great recipe. It was really simple and delicious. I shared it at work with many non vegan folks and they couldn't guess. Definitely will make it again maybe with some additions in the spread to mix it up. Very pretty to present!
It's the best news that non vegan people couldn't guess!! And additions to the recipe sound fab! I need to make it again with hazelnuts. Thanks for your kind comment xo
So I have never made Babka before but this recipe is a very easy one to make. Not to mention that is a super delicious one. Good balance between dough and ganache and if you are like me that xtra ganache won't be a problem. Made this at 2am and by 2:30 it was already gone. My husband and son devour it. Will be making this again pretty soon. Thanks for this amazing recipe.
Oooh that's the best news! This babka uses a brioche dough and is very similar to my cinnamon scrolls, so it's a surefire winner! Soo glad your family enjoyed it too. Thanks so much for your lovely comment 🙂
Krissoula Vincent says
Mmmm...what a great recipe one of the many that I love & will definitely be making again & again!!! This Vegan Chocolate Babka tastes absolutely YUMMYLICIOUS...not to mention the wonderful aroma that it causes to permeate throughout the kitchen. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful recipe!!! ???
Thanks SO much for the lovely review and for your kind words!! I adore the aroma too - I'll have to make it again too xo
These were DELICIOUS! My non-vegan family simply couldn’t get enough of it.
So glad to hear Tiffany!!! It's the best when non-vegan family and friends love it xo
Mimi Loureiro says
Made this for Sara Kidd's monthly baking contest and it was so freaking good. And easy. I made the version with jam too and that was fantastic. Thanks for the inspiration!
Aww, I'm so glad to hear Mimi!!! And oh I love the jam one too. Thanks for making me smile and for your kindness 🙂
Sherri Brown says
This was delicious! Very easy to make too!
That's the best news! Thanks Sherri xo
I made this babka yesterday and it was amazing! Even my kids enjoyed it and they are tough critics. I did possibly overproof the yeast (my own fault, I didn’t have instant and had to use regular) so next time I will just watch that a little closer. This recipe has been printed and added to my recipe collection and I look forward to making it again very soon.
Aw it's always the best news when kids enjoy a recipe! And don't worry, I've definitely overproofed yeast before too (helllo beer smell). Thanks so much for your kind feedback!
So easy & soooo delicious! Definitely will be making again 🙂
Aw thanks SO much Rebecca and for leaving such a lovely comment! I hope you have a lovely weekend 🙂
Has anyone tried making your Babka gluten free? I've not felt well enough (chronic illness) to make my own bread in months, but whenever I can, I'd like to try making it with my King Arthur gluten free flour blend.
I haven't seen anyone try it with gf flour. If you do try it, let me know! Thanks Anne!
I tried to make this twice and the dough came out lumpy and didn’t rise. Do you have any suggestions?
It sounds like your dough needed to be kneaded more thoroughly if it was lumpy. Did you refer to the process pictures on how the dough should look like?
For the rising, if your dough wasn't the right consistency, it wouldn't rise properly. If it was, there may have been an issue with your yeast or temperature. Did you use instant dried yeast? It's different from active dry and fresh yeast. Or the dough didn't rise in a warm environment.