Citrus Scented Cheese Babka
Easter is right around the corner. I can’t believe it! Next thing you know it will be June and Sunny. To celebrate Easter, I’ve made a Citrus Scented Cheese Babka.
The mention of June conjures up thoughts of flip-flops, pink sunsets, and sandy beaches. I can’t wait for flip-flop weather. I know some people like to wear flip-flops all year long, but I’m not that gal. My toes would freeze right off.
Before I even think about wearing flip-flops, I have to do something about my tootsies. I hate to admit it, but they may need a hack saw or power sander taken to them. I feel bad for the poor soul that has to tend to my feet. Fact– I haven’t had a pedicure since my foot injury last October. Eek! It took forever for the poor injured toe to heal, and I’ve been hesitant to let anyone near the thing. So, before I go showing off my feet, a pedicure is a must.
This month Lora challenged the #TwelveLoaves group to make a type of Easter/Passover bread. I’ve never actually made Easter bread before, so I was excited for the adventure. I did a little research and came up with cheese babka. Babka is a sweet yeast cake that varies depending on the origin of the bread. The legend suggests that the sweet bread was accidently invented by an exiled Polish King. I decided to create the Polish version of cheese babka for this month’s Easter/Passover themed #TwelveLoaves.
I thoroughly enjoyed making this bread. The aroma of the dough was utterly intoxicating as I was slowly stiring the mixture with my wooden spoon. Wafts of vanilla and sweet sugar billowed through the air as I was kneading the rich, buttery dough. As I was kneading the dough, I was thinking, “If the dough smells this good, it has to taste amazing!”
It does. This Citrus Scented Cream Cheese Babka tastes amazing! It’s mildly sweet and slightly dense, stuffed with a creamy lemon scented cheese mixture. I could’ve eaten the entire loaf by myself.
I could live off of bread. Seriously, I could eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and not complain once.
I spiked the cream cheese filling with homemade citrus marmalade to brighten it up a bit for Easter. One bite of this bread, and you’ll be hooked.
Citrus Scented Cheese Babka
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup white sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup lukewarm milk
3 large eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
8 ounces cream cheese, at room-temperature
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 tablespoons orange or citrus marmalade
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Sprinkle the yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar over the warm water; stir to dissolve. Let stand for 10 minutes until the mixture becomes foamy.
- In a large bowl, whisk together butter, 1/4 cup sugar, salt, vanilla extract, milk, and eggs. Stir in 1 cup of flour.
- Add the yeast mixture and stir for 1 minute. Gradually stir in the remaining flour to form a soft dough (the mixture will be a little sticky at this point).
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, adding small amounts of flour to prevent sticking. Shape the dough into a round and place it in a large greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover with a dry towel and place the bowl in a warm place. Allow the dough to rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
- In a medium-sized bowl, beat together cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in egg until incorporated. Beat in vanilla extract and marmalade until smooth. Set aside.
- Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 10-inch by 12-inch rectangle. Using a pastry brush, brush the dough with melted butter. Spread the cheese filling evenly over the dough. Roll the dough up like a jelly roll, starting from the long end, roll the dough towards you. Pinch the ends closed. Pull the long edge of the dough up and pinch to seal. Carefully lift the rolled dough into the prepared bundt pan. Cover with a dry towel and let rise for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bake the babka until deep golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes; invert the babka onto a wire rack and remove the pan. Allow the babka to cool for at least 2 hours before slicing.