This wonderfully aromatic babka is a mashup between gooey cinnamon rolls and a freshly baked apple pie – it’s the best of both worlds!
Do you remember when mashups were the hottest thing? I remember seeing things like cheesesteak egg rolls, taco pizza, cheeseburger soup, and ravioli lasagna. Well, if you love cinnamon rolls and apple pie, then you’re in for a real treat. This apple cinnamon babka tastes like a combination of the two.
The dough is soft and pillowy and has the cinnamon and ginger flavors of a homemade apple pie. I added some drizzle on top, so it’s reminiscent of a cinnamon roll (I guess you could also use a cream cheese frosting if you wanted!). I sliced my apples super thin so that the dough would roll easily, but I think that this could use more apples. This recipe uses one apple, but I would recommend two.
My family fell in love with this babka and almost gave it 5 stars. They agreed that there wasn’t enough apple in the bread and would have earned a perfect score if the apple was more prominent. We’ve enjoyed eating this as a dessert and as a mid-afternoon snack. If you’re so inclined, this would make a fun and tasty breakfast as well (maybe paired with some coffee).
Husband’s rating: 4.5 out of 5
Addie’s rating: 4.5 out of 5
My rating: 4.5 out of 5
Apple cinnamon babka
- 1 cup warm water about 110℉
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 0.25-ounce packet (or 2 and ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 1 and ⅓ teaspoons salt
- 3 to 3 and ½ cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting your work surface
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1 large apple peeled, cored, and sliced into super thin slices about 1/16" thick
- 1 and ½ cups brown sugar
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1 Tablespoon corn starch
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon milk
Make the dough
- In a large measuring cup, combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Set aside and allow it to get nice and foamy, about 3-4 minutes.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, add the salt and the flour together. Once the yeast mixture has gotten foamy, slowly drizzle it into the mixer while it's running on low speed. Add the melted butter and mix until everything just comes together.
- Switch to the dough hook attachment. Continue mixing on medium low speed until the dough becomes smooth and pliable, about 7-10 minutes. If the dough feels too wet, add more flour.
- Transfer the dough to a well-greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to double in a draft-free area (I put my oven on Bread Proof mode and let it hang out in there for about 1 and ½ to 2 hours).
Make the filling
- In a medium sized bowl, mix together the sliced apples, brown sugar, melted butter, corn starch, cinnamon, and ginger until well combined.
- Generously grease a 10 inch cast iron skillet and set aside.
Assemble the babka
- Once your dough has doubled, punch it down and roll it out on a lightly floured surface so it's about a 22" by 14" rectangle. Spread the filling on top, leaving about a 1 inch perimeter around the dough.
- Starting with the long end, roll up the dough like a jelly roll. Try to keep the dough as tight as you can. Keep the seam side down.
- Using a serrated knife, cut the dough in half lengthwise. This next part may get a bit messy: Twist the pieces together but try as best as you can to keep the cut side UP. If filling starts to spill out, no worries. You can stuff any escaped apples back into the dough at the very end.
- Once the bread has been twisted, carefully try to coil it up and place it into your prepared cast iron pan. Tuck the ends underneath.
- Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to double again, about 45 minutes to 1 hour (I put mine in the oven on the Bread Proof setting).
- Preheat your oven to 350℉.
- Remove the plastic wrap and bake your babka in your preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. I'd recommend baking for about 20-25 minutes and then covering the babka with aluminum foil for the remaining minutes so that the dough doesn't burn or bake too dark.
- Remove the babka from the oven and allow it to cool slightly before you add the drizzle.
Make the drizzle
- In a measuring cup, whisk together the powdered sugar and milk until it's a pourable consistency. If it's too runny, add more powdered milk. If it's too thick, add a splash more milk.
- Drizzle this over the babka and allow it to set.
- Slice and enjoy. The babka is best served warm.