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Chocolate Babka [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

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Traditionally speaking, babka is a spongy, brioche-like yeast cake made mainly in Eastern Europe. My version is not only vegan and gluten-free, but also light and chocolate-y. Perfect next to a hot cup of coffee or tea.

Chocolate Babka [Vegan, Gluten-Free]


1 7 x 4 x 3 inch loaf


  • ½ recipe All-Purpose Puff Pastry Dough (below)
  • 4 tablespoons “Butter,” softened (below)
  • ½ cup semisweet vegan chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons vegan sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 3 tablespoons melted unscented coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar

Pastry Dough: (makes 1 1⁄4 pounds)

  • 2 cups Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour
  • ½ cup gluten-free oat flour
  • 1¼ cups arrowroot
  • ¹⁄³ cup vegan sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1¾ cups room-temperature coconut milk
  • ½ cup melted unscented coconut oil
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons chilled “Butter”

“Butter”: (makes 3 1⁄2 cups)

  • • 1½ cups melted unscented coconut oil
  • • 1 cup canola oil
  • • ¾ cup rice milk
  • • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • • 2 tablespoons granular sunflower lecithin
  • • 1 tablespoon salt
  • • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


For the Pastry Dough:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, arrowroot, sugar, salt, yeast, xanthan gum, and baking powder. Pour in the coconut milk and oil and, using a rubber spatula, stir until a thick dough forms. If the dough is too dry, add lukewarm water 1 tablespoon at a time. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  2. Put the dough and the butter into a food processor and pulse until the dough is freckled with quarter-size pieces of butter. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 1 more hour.

For the “Butter”:

  1. Line a shallow pan, such as a loaf pan, with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the coconut oil and canola oil, stir gently, and set aside.
  3. In a blender or food processor, combine the rice milk, coconut milk, agave nectar, sunflower lecithin, salt, and xanthan gum and blend for 1 minute. Very slowly add half of the oil mixture, followed by the lemon juice, and then the remaining oil mixture. Blend for 1 more minute.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and refrigerate until solid, about 3½ hours. Chop the butter into 1-inch cubes and store in an airtight container for up to 7 days.

For the Babka:

  1. Between 2 pieces of parchment paper, roll out the pastry dough into a 14 by 7-inch rectangle about ½ inch thick. Remove the top piece of parchment paper and put the long side of the dough closest to you.
  2. Spread the butter onto the dough, leaving a ½-inch border. Sprinkle the chocolate and sugar on top. Slide a butter knife underneath the dough to loosen it from the paper, and then roll it into a log, pinching the edges to seal. Bring the ends of the log together to form a ring, and pinch to seal. Wrap the pastry ring in plastic wrap, set on a plate, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator, carefully unwrap it, and twist the entire ring twice. Place on a piece of parchment paper, grab both ends of the paper, and transfer the dough into a 7 x 4 x 3-inch loaf pan. Let rise at room temperature, lightly covered with a dish towel, for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  5. Combine the oil and agave, brush the top of the dough with the mixture, and sprinkle with sugar.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes, and then rotate the pan 180 degrees. Bake until the top is golden, 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes before serving.





Erin Mckenna is the founder and head baker of Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC, a gluten-free and vegan bakery. Her only two rules are: create a bakery free of harmful ingredients and wear cute uniforms. Her goal is to make eating vegan and gluten-free fun and delicious. Bread & Butter: Gluten-free Vegan Recipes to Fill Your Bread Basket (Clarkson Potter) is Erin’s third book—the first to focus on savory breads.

Recipes reprinted from Bread & Butter by Erin McKenna, Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers.




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