Apricot Cream Cheese Babka

Apricot Cream Cheese Babka

I’ve realized that I’ve totally dropped the ball on my bread-baking this year. Aside from trying new recipes, I’d really like to start baking bread once a week for sandwiches. I decided to get back into my bread groove with this fabulous babka. I made babka once before around the holidays – the traditional chocolate babka, which is just as amazing as you might imagine it to be. Before a few months ago, I hadn’t seen many other versions of babka until this apricot and cream cheese variation popped onto my computer screen. I was immediately smitten with the pictures and saved it to bake sooner rather than later. The bread turned out just as fabulous as I hoped it would, perhaps even better.

Apricot Cream Cheese Babka

While on the surface, this may look like a complicated recipe, it’s actually much simpler than it appears. A simple sweet dough is mixed together and allowed to raise, while the fillings and crumb topping are made. When it comes time to shape the bread, the dough is rolled out into a massive rectangle, spread with the apricot filling, then the cream cheese filling, and is rolled and shaped in such a way so that the amount of filling is maximized in every bite.

Then, throw on a crumb topping. Who can resist a crumb topping? Not I.

Apricot Cream Cheese Babka

This bread tastes like the most amazing fruit and cream cheese Danish you’ll ever eat. The bread is soft and sweet and the apricot-cream cheese filling is packed into every single slice. A crunchy topping provides the perfect contrast in both taste and texture. This babka makes morning coffee with a friend (or just your favorite book or newspaper) a little extra-special. I think it’s perfectly acceptable for breakfast, a snack or dessert.

Babka was a perfect way to jump back into my bread-baking ways. If you’re new to bread or are just looking to try something new, I can’t say enough fantastic things about this bread. Be sure to put it on your to-bake list!

Apricot Cream Cheese Babka

One year ago: Tamale Pie
Two years ago: Cream Cheese Brownies and Double-Chocolate Loaf with Peanut Butter-Cream Cheese Spread
Three years ago: Salted Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
Four years ago: The Signature Salad
Five years ago: Black-and-White Banana Loaf
Six years ago: Red Pepper Hummus

Apricot Cream Cheese Babka

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Prep Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes

A sweet yeast bread with swirls of apricot and cream cheese, topped with a crunchy streusel.

Ingredients:

For the Dough:
1¾ cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon instant yeast
Pinch of salt
1 egg, at room temperature
⅓ cup whole milk, lukewarm
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the Apricot Filling:
1½ cups dried apricots
½ cup orange juice
⅓ cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the Cream Cheese Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

For the Streusel:
¾ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4½ teaspoons light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
3½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the Egg Wash:
1 egg
Pinch of salt

Directions:

1. Make the Dough: Place the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Stir on medium-low speed for a minute or so to combine. Add the egg, milk, vanilla and butter and mix on medium speed until a smooth dough forms, about 5 minutes. Form into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a draft-free area until doubled in volume (about 1 hour). While the dough rests, make the fillings and streusel.

2. Make the Apricot Filling: Combine the dried apricots, orange juice, lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apricots soften and the liquid is reduced by half. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. Once cool, transfer the mixture to a food processor and process until a puree forms. Set aside at room temperature.

3. Make the Cream Cheese Filling: In a medium bowl, stir the cream cheese and sugar with a wooden spoon until smooth and lump-free. Add the egg yolk, vanilla extract and salt, and stir to combine. Set aside at room temperature.

4. Make the Streusel: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars and salt. Add the butter and mix with a rubber spatula until the mixture comes together into large, coarse crumbs. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

5. Assemble the Babka: Lightly grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan; set aside.

6. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into a 10x24-inch rectangle, with the long edge facing you. Spread the apricot filling evenly over the dough, leaving a ½-inch border along all of the edges. Spread the cream cheese filling over the apricot filling.

apricot-cream-cheese-babka-prep1

7. Starting with the bottom edge, roll the dough into the middle of the rectangle, then do the same with the top edge so that the two rolls meet in the center. Visualize the long cylinder divided into three equal lengths. Fold the left third over onto the middle third. Then, fold the right third over the middle third. Pick up the dough and turn it over so the seam is on the bottom. Then, holding each end, gently twist it in the middle and place it in the prepared pan.

apricot-cream-cheese-babka-prep2

8. Whisk together the egg and salt for the egg wash and brush it over the babka. Lightly cover the pan with plastic wrap and place it in a draft-free area until it is doubled in size, 1½ to 2 hours.

9. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Brush the babka once again with the egg wash and sprinkle the streusel evenly over the top, pressing lightly so the crumbs adhere to the babka. Bake until the top is a deep golden brown, about 50 minutes. Cool the bread in the pan set on a wire rack for 25 minutes, then unmold the bread from the pan (some of the streusel may fall off) and place on the wire rack to cool completely. The bread will keep, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days.

(Recipe from Standard Baking Co. Pastries, originally seen on Technicolor Kitchen)

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61 Responses to “Apricot Cream Cheese Babka”

  1. Sarah on August 5, 2013 at 12:40 am

    I adore babka! But I’ve never had a babka with fruit in it! It sounds right up my breakfast-paved alley.

    Reply

  2. Tieghan on August 5, 2013 at 12:48 am

    I have never heard of babka, but this is gorgeous and I love you step by step photos! This looks like the perfect bread to serve around the holidays. Fun!

    Reply

  3. Averie @ Averie Cooks on August 5, 2013 at 12:57 am

    This is SO IMPRESSIVE! First, Ive always wanted to make babka but never have. Just one of those things I’ve wanted to try but something else always comes along. Thanks for the step by step pics – so helpful. (and I am super impressed your pink nail polish is perfect! Nail polish lasts about 24 hrs for me before it’s a total mess with as much as I’m in the kitchen sink!)

    And apricots. Cream cheese. What an amazing combo. I’d love this! Pinned!

    Reply

  4. Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl on August 5, 2013 at 1:00 am

    I’ve never made babka so I’m amazed by how easy you made it seem! Definitely want to try it now! Thanks so much!

    Reply

  5. Marcie @ flavor the moments on August 5, 2013 at 1:53 am

    I definitely want this on my to-bake list! This bread looks just beautiful – I love the color of that apricot in that golden bread. Delicious!

    Reply

  6. Laura (Tutti Dolci) on August 5, 2013 at 2:31 am

    Gorgeous, love the contrasting apricot and cream cheese fillings!

    Reply

  7. Amy on August 5, 2013 at 6:03 am

    Most definitely on the ‘to bake’ list! I am going to make this into a gluten-free bread so that I can enjoy it to. No way am I letting Mum and Dad have all the fun. And the answer is no-one, no sane person can resist a crumb topping. It’s a basic human right. I’m sure it shows up in the UN Bill of human rights somewhere…

    Reply

  8. ThisBakerGirlBlogs on August 5, 2013 at 6:35 am

    Such a beautiful loaf! I don’t think there’s a lot thats more satisfying than making bread.

    Reply

  9. marie @ little kitchie on August 5, 2013 at 7:01 am

    This totally reminds me of the Seinfeld episode when Jerry goes, “Another babka?” Ha! And yes, this other babka is totally gorgeous and looks incredible!

    Reply

  10. Tracey on August 5, 2013 at 7:29 am

    I’ve been slacking on the bread baking this summer too. But this is as good a reason as any to get back into it – wow!! I love the crumble topping, such a good addition to any recipe :)

    Reply

  11. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar on August 5, 2013 at 8:10 am

    This sounds lovely! I still haven’t tried babka and this is definitely the recipe I need to get me to make it!

    Reply

  12. Norma @ Allspice and Nutmeg on August 5, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Looks amazing! Yes, this is going on my to-bake list. This is also great for Christmas morning.

    Reply

  13. Molly @Bakelette on August 5, 2013 at 8:22 am

    I have only heard of chocolate babka so I am excited to see other flavors! And don’t you love the King Arthur Rolling mat? I can’t roll anything without it!
    What nail polish do you have on? 1. LOVE the color 2. nail polish on my fingers never lasts being in the kitchen, how do you get yours to last?!

    Reply

  14. jane weichert on August 5, 2013 at 9:13 am

    I was wondering if you could make with fresh apricots?

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 5th, 2013 at 8:17 pm

      Hi Jane, I think fresh apricots would make the filling a bit too “wet”. I’d stick with dried.

      Reply

  15. Justin on August 5, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Another Babka? But we’ll be going in with a lesser Babka..
    “Apricot takes a back seat to no babka. People love apricot. It should be on tables at restaurants along with salt and pepper. Anytime anyone says, “Oh this is so good, what’s in it?” The answer invariably comes back, “Apricot.” “Apricot.” Again and again. Lesser babka?? I think not.” – Jerry Seinfeld 2013

    Reply

  16. shelly (cookies and cups) on August 5, 2013 at 9:30 am

    This is totally fantastic! I haven’t ever made babka..

    Reply

  17. Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen on August 5, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Michelle, doesn’t it feel great to get back to baking with yeast with all that silky dough? It is on my list this coming fall. (Still trying to relish in fresh summer berries with my baking before they’re gone.) And, I am totally enamored with this Apricot and Cream Cheese filling for Babka…just like Danishes! Thanks so much for sharing to include some step-by-step visuals! Pinning! xo

    Reply

  18. Mike P on August 5, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Interesting

    Reply

  19. Moira @ Hearth and Homefront on August 5, 2013 at 10:12 am

    I’ve been slacking on my bread baking too. The kids head back to school next week though, so I won’t have an excuse anymore! I’ve never had babka, so I’ll be adding this to my to-bake list soon :)

    Reply

  20. Haley @Cupcakes and Sunshine on August 5, 2013 at 10:36 am

    I have been on such an apricot kick lately! I will swing by the bulk bins and pick up a small bagful each day, or else I would eat pounds of them in one sitting! So excited about this bread. I’m looking forward to giving it a try!

    Reply

  21. Michelle on August 5, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Wonder if this could be made with dried cherries as well? It looks ab-fab, but hubby is not a huge apricot fan, though this babka may win him over. Think I’ll try the original first and then play a bit. Hmmm….

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 5th, 2013 at 8:18 pm

      Hi Michelle, I think dried cherries could work. Let me know how it goes!

      Reply

  22. Heather @ Sugar Dish Me on August 5, 2013 at 11:07 am

    This is so gorgeous and marble-ey!!! Totally amazing!! I’m not sure I am brave enough to attempt this recipe. But I am having loads of fun admiring yours!

    Reply

  23. stephanie on August 5, 2013 at 11:29 am

    This is BEAUTIFUL! What do you think about dried cherries? The other filling ingredients would have to change, too, right? Could you freeze this bread before baking or would you freeze just the dough? This just moved to the top of my list…thank you for sharing (and such great step-by-step pics, too.)

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 5th, 2013 at 8:21 pm

      Hi Stephanie, I think you could use dried cherries; you wouldn’t need to change any of the other ingredients. I would not freeze this dough; I would prepare the bread the whole way through, bake it, then let it cool and freeze it if you’d like.

      Reply

      • stephanie on August 5th, 2013 at 8:36 pm

        Wow! Thank you so much. I want to make this for my grandma and her friends, but she can’t have apricots. I hope to report back soon!

        Reply

  24. Chandra@The Plaid and Paisley Kitchen on August 5, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    I am in love with this bread!! Gorgeous!

    Reply

  25. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on August 5, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    This is so beautiful looking!! I bet it tastes just as good!

    Reply

  26. Reima @ Love A Traveler on August 5, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Oh my word this looks AMAZING! I’m going to make this sometime this week! :)

    Reply

  27. Melissa @ Treats With a Twist on August 5, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I’ve ALWAYS wanted to make Babka! And now that I’ve seen it with fruit and cream cheese?! I have to! Thank you for making it sound so easy!

    Reply

  28. Emily on August 5, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Looks like a great recipe. I might try it with spreading a layer of homemade jam in for the apricot layer.

    Reply

  29. Becca @ Crumbs on August 5, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Oh wow this looks so impressive! I’m going to start making breads and will have to put this on my list

    Reply

  30. Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen on August 5, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    How funny, my friend JUST mentioned a Babka at lunch today and I don’t think I’ve ever even tasted one. Can’t wait to give this a try.

    Reply

  31. Patricia Scarpin on August 5, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Your babka looks amazing! I’m salivating here!
    The step by step photos will be useful to many people, I’m sure.

    Reply

  32. Laura Dembowski on August 5, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    This reminds me of the coffee cakes of my youth, but about a million times better. Crumb topping on yeast bread? Yes, please!

    Reply

  33. Abbe@This is How I Cook on August 5, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Gorgeous!!! And a great tutorial, too. Forming babka takes practice and yours looks perfect. I do love chocolate babka, but may have to give this one a try. It looks very yummy!

    Reply

  34. Angelyn @ Everyday Desserts on August 5, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Oh man, this looks SO amazing!! Love your photos!

    Reply

  35. Dajana on August 6, 2013 at 4:51 am

    I have an incredible weaknes for this kind of sweet bread, whether it’s chocolate, or cinnamon or fruit or just some sweet ricotta cheese like my grandma used to make, I can’t resist it.
    This apricot cream cheese filling looks amazing

    Reply

  36. Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet on August 6, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    I NEED this! Apricots are one of my favorite things to eat but I have a very difficult time finding them!

    Reply

  37. hobby baker on August 7, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    Assuming I can find a 10×24″ space of open/clean counter in my kitchen, which will be a trick indeed, I intend on trying this out as soon as possible! :D

    Reply

  38. Jamie @lifelovelemons on August 8, 2013 at 9:04 am

    GORGEOUS! Look at those swirls!

    Reply

  39. Melanie on August 21, 2013 at 2:31 am

    I made this recipe, as well as a lemon blueberry version (with dried blueberries and lemon zest). Delicious!

    Reply

  40. shoegal on September 5, 2013 at 10:35 am

    I made this last night and used peaches instead of Apricots as the store was sold out. Also used skim milk and low fat cream cheese and it came out beautifully. Thanks for posting this awesome recipe

    Reply

  41. Anne on September 12, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    I wouldn’t call this exactly easy, but it was definitely not as hard as it sounded. No kneading, and I found this dough easier to shape (less stretchy and springy) than regular yeast bread dough. Mine wasn’t nearly as beautiful as yours but it tasted great and my family liked it! And the step-by-step pictures were super helpful.

    Reply

  42. Rachel on December 16, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    I made this yesterday and it is fantastic! I substituted apricot preserves I had put up this summer and it turned out great. I am making another loaf right now so I will have some to share with holiday guests!

    Reply

  43. Kelly on December 25, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Made this for Christmas morning and it is seriously tasty. So vibrantly fruity! It reminds me of our favorite little bakery’s boston kakku coffee cakes that they have in apricot, raspberry and almond. Only this was more intensely flavored (= better). I only get those once a year when we visit home, but I want to try modifying the shape similar to them to make the slicing easier. Thanks so much for sharing, this was totally delicious!

    Reply

  44. Lori on January 1, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Remember the homemade fig cookie bar recipe you posted a couple years back? I love that recipe! The filling is amazing. So I made that filling instead of apricot. Figs and cream cheese, yum! My babka turned out amazing and it was very easy to make overall. You just need some time. Can’t wait to try other fillings! Thank you Michelle!

    Reply

  45. A on January 22, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    I made this over the weekend and it was delicious! It was really easy to make based on the photos – thanks! The only complaint I have about this recipe is the apricot filling was a bit bitter. I think this is because of the orange juice addition. Next time (and I will be baking this often!) I will use apple juice instead. Thanks for a great recipe

    Reply

  46. Maryann on February 6, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    If I were to use prepared apricot filling, how much would be needed?

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 6th, 2014 at 8:38 pm

      Hi Maryann, I didn’t measure it out; you’d want to cover the cream cheese with a thin layer, as pictured above. Maybe 1 cup? 1.5 cups? Somewhere around there.

      Reply

  47. Lisa on March 8, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    I just made this as mini-babkas, as my mum does not have a full loaf pan, just minis. I used an apricot jam, buzzed in the food processor with some extra OJ to thin it out some. It was about 3/4 C jam, and 3 tbsp. OJ. They are currently rising, but I was too excited to wait to post. After trying to make a few perfectly folded, I realized that even if it was a messy fold, it probably wouldn’t matter too much. I have had this on my to do list for quite some time, and I am quite pleased so far!

    Reply

  48. yael on June 3, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    made this today! its in the oven now.
    can’t wait!!!!

    love from Israel!

    Reply

  49. PK Hodges on June 16, 2014 at 8:44 am

    Impressive. What about mini loaves? Everyone loves a mini! =)

    Reply

  50. By Michaela Cakes & Cupcakes on October 11, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    This, my very first babka is rising with the egg wash on and looking good. Cant wait to try, looks lovely and the apricot filling is lush
    ive also got my first batch of Apple butter in the slow cooker, 3 hours in.
    I love your site and always share with my fb friends boasting how wonderful your recipes are. I’m not a stalker but you are my go-to page :)

    Reply

  51. Yvonne on November 2, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    This looks amazing! I’ve been on a huge bread kick lately so must try this asap. Any chance you have a guesstimate of how much the dough weighs? I’m making a bigger batch of dough but want to weigh the proportions to make sure they’re equal. (Yep, I’ve also recently read your post about measuring in weights and would like to give it a go!) Thanks in advance!

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 3rd, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      Hi Yvonne, I don’t know the exact weight. I would just weigh the whole thing, then divide by two.

      Reply

  52. Ariane on November 22, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    I’ve just finished making this. It isn’t as easy as 1,2,3 to make. It looks like the picture. I haven’t cut it yet because it is cooling off. I hope I have swirls. Very pleased at this point.

    Reply

  53. Ariane on November 23, 2014 at 6:28 am

    Normally the recipes here are winners, but this one wasn’t. For a babka I found it way too heavy and sweet. I did get nice swirls in my loaf though. My husband and I had a piece for breakfast and I couldn’t finish it because it was just too heavy. The cream cheese in the center is just not necessary. Sorry, I won’t be doing this again. I will say in its defense the bread basis is good, but the filling is another story.

    Reply

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