Sweet Cheese Babka

I have said before that my favorite holiday to cook for is Shavuot. Being able to use butter and fancy cheeses in cooking makes me happy and I start planning my Shavuot menu weeks in advance. Unfortunately, this year I will not be able to dabble and create as much as I would like because I am swamped with catering but of course I had to find the time to come up with some new dairy confection. Last year was Tiramisu and that has become a classic Shavuot staple in my house now but this year I decided to channel my more traditional (read: heimish) side and go with babka. I grew up on chocolate babka and not just just the packaged Green's variety but I spent summers near a Heimeshe Bakery that made famous babka loaves that oozed chocolate deliciousness that we had every Shabbat though they cost a pretty penny. I've never actually had a cheese babka but the combo sounded great to me. Sweet yeast dough filled with cheese and topped with a crumb topping- yum! I made some to freeze and then baked some individual ones in a muffin tin to try out and I kid you not my husband and I were fighting over the last one (we compromised and split it.) Warm out of the oven and smelling like a bakery they were just heaven and they were delicious with a cup of coffee. I don't think I would serve this as dessert on it's own, maybe as a breakfast treat but either way heat it up slightly before serving for best results and you WILL NOT be disappointed. Enjoy!

For the dough:
5 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 packet vanilla sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened

For the filling:
1 cup farmer's cheese ( I used one package of Tuv Taam cheese)
1 1/4 cup cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla

For the topping:
1 Tbl milk
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup cold butter, cubed

In a bowl of your mixer fitted with the dough hook combine the flour, yeast, salt and sugars. Mix just to combine and then add the rest of the ingredients. Let the mixer knead the dough or about 3 minutes. Let the dough rise in a warm place for an hour, punch down and rise again for another hour and a half. Meanwhile mix the ingredients for the filling till smooth. Divide the dough in two and roll out each piece into a rectangle. spread the 1/2 the filling on each rectangle and roll up lengthwise as you would a jelly roll. Slice each roll into  about inch slices and lay them in a sprayed round pan so that there are no big spaces in between them.  You can make one very large babka with this by putting two layers of slices in a large pan or two small pans. To prepare the topping,  mix the flour, sugar and cinnamon together and cut in the butter to make a crumb mixture. Brush the top of the babka with the milk and top with the crumbs. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes until light golden brown.


  1. Those summer babkas are overratedMay 20, 2012 at 5:29 AM

    Can we see a picture of the inside?

  2. Wow ! Way too much work for me, but sounds delicious.

  3. This is in the oven now, and smells great, but I have a question. Did you have trouble with the filling oozing out when you sliced the rolls? I had to stick them in the freezer to firm up, which helped, but it was still a bit of a mess. How big a rectangle did you start with? I'm wondering if mine was too small which made the filling layer pretty thick. I used Tuv Tam and Napolean for the cheeses in the filling. Thanks and Chag sameach.

    1. The filling did oooze a little and i also refrigerated it a little to firm it up but i also used whipped cream cheese which has a thicker consistency than the napolean so that probably helped also. Israeli cream cheese is more watery and the Tuv Taam also has alot of water in it. When I make it in America I use farmers cheese and whipped cream cheese and it doesn't ooze. Hope that helps! Enjoy!!

    2. This was a HUGE hit at my house and was declared the best yeast-type cake I had ever made. Totally worth the effort and definitely a make-again. Have you used this dough with other fillings? It was so easy to work with and had such a nice taste and texture.

  4. Does it need to cook for longer if you double layer the slices?

  5. Can I sub ricotta for farmers cheese?

    1. you probably can but ricotta is wetter than farmers cheese so the filling will probably be wetter and might be a little harder to work with.


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