Chocolate Babka Swirl Buns

Chocolate Babka Swirl Buns | Portuguese Girl CooksGuys, sorry it’s been so long since my last post. I’m literally so behind with everything you would seriously think I was joking. For example, my Christmas tree has been put up for about 2 weeks and has yet to be decorated, and lets not even talk about the rest of the decorations. I did however manage to put the wreath on the door, and that at least gives my house the look that it may in fact be a winter Christmas wonderland inside. Not.

Truth, the little humans are slowing me down.  A certain 3 month old baby who is teething (2 teeth!?!) has pretty much decided that naps longer than 20 minutes are off the table, and lets not even talk about the things that 4 year olds get into. Thank goodness they are cute :) All I have to say is thank goodness for online shopping, Amazon Prime, and being able to shop in your pyjamas. Total lifesaver. Now only if a little wrapping fairy would make an appearance.

Chocolate Babka Swirl Buns | Portuguese Girl Cooks

Now lets talk about these amaze ball buns.

I’ve been wanting to try chocolate babka ever since the days of Seinfeld and the chocolate babka episode. Back then I had no idea what it was, all I knew was it sounded like something that I would like. I’ve been meaning to make a chocolate babka for years, in fact, I bought this book years ago because the recipe for babka looked incredible. But making 3 loaves and using 2 pounds of chocolate, and nearly 1 pound of butter just seemed incredibly dangerous. Then I saw these, and it was pretty much the answer to my dilemma. The babka will just have to wait another year.

These buns are an incredibly soft and  tender brioche dough, filled with a cinnamon infused chocolate filling, and topped with a streusel topping. The dough is rolled quite thin which allows for the dough to be rolled several more times than a traditional cinnamon bun, and therefore producing a roll heavily swirled with chocolate. And there is nothing wrong with that! The chocolate filling is complimented by the addition of cinnamon, which somehow just works. Although I added the streusel because I wanted them to be just like the babka, you could most certainly leave it out. Either way they are absolutely delicious!

The buns are fairly quick and easy to make, with most of it hands off time, and the yield the perfect amount of buns. The great thing is they can be made ahead of time, and refrigerated overnight and baked straight from the fridge, or even frozen to be baked at a later day. These buns would be the perfect addition to your holiday breakfast or brunch!


Chocolate Babka Swirl Buns

Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: 12 buns

Chocolate Babka Swirl Buns

A light and fluffy brioche bun filled with a chocolate filling and topped with a streusel topping. These make the perfect breakfast or brunch!


  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk, warmed to 110 degrees
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant (rapid rise) yeast
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Filling
  • 8 oz. (225 grams) semisweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Egg Wash
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • Streusel Topping
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature


    For the dough
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the warm milk, sugar, and yeast and stir to blend.
  2. Add the egg, flour, and salt, and mix on low speed until a sticky dough begins to form. Mix in the butter until incorporated and no chunks remain. Switch to the dough hook, and knead on low speed for 10 minutes. (The dough will be loose and sticky, avoid the urge to add more flour. It will all come together as it rises.)
  3. Butter a large bowl, and place the dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let it rise until doubled, about 1- 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Filling (Prepare while dough is rising)
  5. In the bowl of a food processor add the chocolate (roughly chopped if in bars), sugar, cinnamon, and salt, and pulse until chocolate is fairly finely chopped and some parts powdery. Add the butter, and pulse until the mixture comes together. Set aside.
  6. Streusel
  7. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and flour. Add the butter, and using a pastry cutter or 2 forks, cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are coarse crumbs and some larger clumps. Set aside.
  8. Assembly
  9. Very generously butter a 12 cavity muffin tin.
  10. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, and gently deflate the dough. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
  11. Roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 12x20-inches. Flouring as needed to prevent sticking.
  12. Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough. Roll the dough into a tight log, starting from the short end and rolling to the other end. Pinch the seams. Using a serrated knife or tooth floss (the best!), cut the dough into about 1-inch segments. Place each segment into the prepared muffin tin.
  13. (If you want to bake the next day, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough overnight. Bake as directed without letting the dough rise again. Otherwise the dough can also be covered and frozen at this point).
  14. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 30 minutes.
  15. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  16. Whisk the egg and cream together, and brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash. Sprinkle each bun with the streusel (if using) and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed and brown around the edges.
  17. Let cool on a wire rack in the muffin tin. These are easier to remove from the muffin tin if completely cool. But that being said, they are ridiculously good warm.


If you would like an ultra chocolatey bun, you can increase the filling by 50% and this would yield a bun to filling ratio similar to what is in the original babka recipe from Martha. /These buns are best eaten the day they are made, however they were still good the next day reheated for about 10-15 seconds in the microwave.

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Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook.


Disclosure: This post contains an Amazon affiliate link. If you purchase an item from the link I will receive a very small commission. Thank you!

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  • Cooking Classy

    These are so beautiful!

  • Kathryn

    Wowzer. These look incredible.

  • Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough

    Oh HELLO, gorgeous buns! (Wait, that came out wrong.) What I mean is, I need this babka in my life!

  • Tutti Dolci

    The only thing better than brioche is brioche with chocolate – these are gorgeous buns!

  • Joanne (eats well with others)

    I’ve pretty much been dreaming about babka since that Seinfeld episode also! And I bookmarked this SK recipe ages ago. Time to actually make it since I don’t have little kiddos as an excuse!

  • Erin@theLawStudentsWife

    I CANNOT even imagine trying to get ready for Christmas with two kiddos running around! I can barely get myself ready, lol. How you managed to squeeze these drool-worthy chocolate buns in at the same time, I haven’t a clue, but I’m so glad you did. They look INCREDIBLE. Perfect over-the-top indulgent treat for Christmas morning :)

    • Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Lol, thanks Erin! Lets just say the hubs isn’t too disappointed about the lack of glitter flying around!

  • All That’s Left Are The Crumbs

    I am just glad that you are back to blogging, and look forward to your posts no matter the distance between them. These look simply amazing. I have missed your recipes and your beautiful photos – how do you take such stunning photos? I can totally relate to the lack of time since I have four children, and we moved away from family so there wasn’t any help, and this was before Amazon.

    • Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Awww, thanks so much Felice. It’s definitely hard without family close by- and I can’t even imagine with 4 kids :) as for my photos- you are too kind! I really just cross my fingers and hope for the best sometimes. I started out by reading some other bloggers tips, trial and error, and lots of practice. Have an awesome day!!

      • All That’s Left Are The Crumbs

        I do need to get reading and learn a little more about photography. I am being totally sincere when I say that your photos are some of the best I see on my rounds of blogs/FB. You are really talented.

        • Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

          Thanks so much, Felice! I truly appreciate that and you just made my day :)

  • Georgia The Comfort of Cooking

    That streusel topping is killing me! These swirl buns are beautiful, Jessica. Perfect for a holiday morning breakfast!

    • Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Thanks so much. Georgia!

  • CrunchyCreamySw

    Teething 3-month old and a 4-year old —> totally know what you mean, I’ve been there too! Shopping in pyjamas – yes! Did that too this year! Wrapping fairy -I will switch my cleaning one for yours! :)
    Now these buns – OMG! I want them! I am just sipping my morning coffee and these would go perfectly with it! Pinned!

    • Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Thanks so much, Anna! I think at this point I need a super fairy, and I will definitely send her your way :)

  • Susana Machado

    Que belo aspecto!


    • Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      muito obrigado, Susana!

  • Averie Cooks

    So pretty! I’ve never made babka but have always wanted to! this is my nudge! Pinned

    • Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Thanks so much, Averie!