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Birthday Cake Babka

Shannon Sarna
You're going to wish today was your birthday so you could make this Birthday Cake Babka to celebrate!
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 1 hr 35 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Jewish
Servings 3 babkas


  • For the dough:
  • 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
  • cup + ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ cup lukewarm water
  • 4 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ cup whole or 2% milk or almond milk
  • ¾ cup 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter (or margarine), melted
  • 2 eggs
  • For the filling: 12 ounces cream cheese softened
  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • ¼ cup colored sprinkles I used even more!
  • For the crumb topping: I left this out
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1⅓ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons colored sprinkles
  • For the frosting: 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 5 –6 tablespoons milk
  • Pinch salt


  • To make the dough: Place the yeast and ½ teaspoon sugar in a small bowl. Add the lukewarm water and stir gently to mix. Set aside until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the flour, ⅓ cup sugar, and 2 teaspoons vanilla.
  • In a medium saucepan, scald the milk (bring almost to a boil, until milk is just simmering). Allow to sit for 1 minute to cool just slightly. With mixer on low, add the water-yeast mixture, milk, and melted butter. Add eggs one at a time.
  • When the dough begins to come together, after 2 to 3 minutes, turn off mixer and scrape down the sides. Raise the speed to high and mix for another 5 to 10 minutes until the dough is shiny and elastic. Place dough in a greased bowl with a damp towel on top. Allow to rise until it has doubled, about 1 to 2 hours.
  • While dough is rising, make the filling and the topping. To make the filling: Beat the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, baking powder, and salt. Fold in the sprinkles.
  • To make the crumb topping: Combine the sugars in a small bowl. Stir in the melted butter and the flour. Add the sprinkles and combine using fingers. Prepare three 8 ½-by-4 ½-inch greased loaf pans. Note: you can also make two larger round babkas that can be baked on baking sheets.
  • Cut the dough into three equal parts (use a food scale for precision). Roll out one part into a rectangle. Spread with one-third of the cream cheese filling and roll up along the shorter side (to create more swirls inside).
  • Once the dough is formed into a swirled log, cut it straight down the middle so the filling is exposed. Cut ½ inch off each end. Layer each cut piece on top of one another and twist. Place in a greased loaf pan. Repeat with other two pieces of babka dough.
  • Lightly drape a kitchen towel over the top of pans. Allow to rise another 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F while the dough rises. Before baking, add one-third of the crumb topping on each babka. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. The edges should be slightly brown and the middle should be slightly doughy.
  • Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Using a butter knife, loosen sides of the babkas from the pans and place on top of parchment wire rack to cool. Place babkas on a platter. To make the frosting: Combine confectioners’ sugar, milk, and salt in a bowl. Drizzle on top of each babka.
  • Note: It is best to use jimmies or oblong sprinkles, not round (nonpareil) sprinkles.
  • Short cut: If you don’t want to make the crumb topping and frosting, you can skip those steps. After the babka has baked and cooled, combine 1 cup (approximately 6 ounces) white chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30-second intervals, mixing in between with a small spatula, until completely melted and smooth. Drizzle melted white chocolate on top of each babka and allow to set.
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