Feb 22, 2014

Vegan Cinnamon Babka (Inspired by Seinfeld!)

Most people have at least one TV show that they were obsessed with growing up. In my house it was Seinfeld. To this day my father and I communicate almost exclusively in Seinfeld references. Like our own “Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.”

While Babka has been around long before Seinfeld I will always associate the dessert with The Dinner Party. I made the two versions referenced, Chocolate and Cinnamon. While the chocolate babka was great I feel confident in saying that cinnamon takes a backseat to no babka.

This recipe is very similar to my King Cake. I made a few adjustments to the ingredients and assembled the babka as suggested by The Internet to achieve those signature layers. I’m not claiming perfect authenticity, but considering my lack of cultural experience with babka I’d say I did pretty well! It’s a damn yummy cake. Bread? I’m still not sure.

Cinnamon Babka – Makes 2 Babkas
Cake Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance
  • 1 packet (.25 oz) or 2 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water 
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Filling Ingredients
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance, melted
Topping Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance
1. Scald the non-dairy milk. Remove from the heat and stir in the Earth Balance. Set this aside.

2. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the hot water with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the sugar. Let this sit for a about 10 minutes. While the yeast is sitting, whisk together the flax seeds and 3 tablespoons of water.

3. When the yeast is bubbly, stir in the milk and Earth Balance. Stir in the flax seeds and water, remaining sugar, salt and vanilla. Stir the flour into the milk and flax  mixture 1 cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.

4. Place the dough in a bowl, cover with a cloth and let this rise for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, until doubled.

5. While the dough rises, make the filling by stirring together the sugar, cinnamon, and flour until combined. Drizzle the melted Earth Balance over the sugar mixture and stir until it’s all combined.

6. When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and slice it in half for two even doughs. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray two loaf pans lightly with cooking spray.

7. Roll one of the dough pieces into a large rectangle about 18″ long and sprinkle half of the filling evenly over the dough. Roll the cake up tightly from the widest side into a cylinder. Cut the cylinder in half and line the two halves next to each other. Braid the two cylinders together and carefully place the loaf in a prepared loaf pan. Repeat the process with the second dough piece. Let the two loaves rest for 30 minutes.

8. While the loaves rest, make the topping by combining the flour and sugars. Cut in the Earth Balance with your fingers and place in the fridge until you need it.

9. When the loaves are done resting brush the tops with non-dairy milk, and top with the streusel topping. Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until browned.

10. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before digging in. These really were crazy delicious. I took both babkas to a family dinner tonight and we ate most of the loaves before dinner. Before dinner! We’re all children.

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