Caramel and Cherry Babka Topped with Cherry-Vanilla Glaze and Roasted Pistachios

We are diving head first, mouth-wide open into cherry season in South Africa and like so many other cherry-fans, I am here for it!

Western Cape, we are in total luck of the draw here as farm to table fresh cherries can be ordered and delivered to your door from – they also supply Pick n Pay stores with their juicy cherries, yum!

I’m serving you with another cherry inspired recipe, this time a rich, spicy and layered with flavours, this branded loaf is bound to be your new favourite bake. Its cherry-infused glaze, fruity filling and nutty crust means you can get away with serving up a slice any time of the day.

Caramel & Cherry Babka, Topped with Cherry-Vanilla Glaze and Roasted Pistachios


For the caramel:

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 90g butter
  • 230ml cream, slightly warmed

For the Babka

  • 1 cup pitted and halved Cherry Time cherries
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 packet instant yeast
  • 1 egg, plus 1 extra yolk
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 260g bread flour
  • ½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 tsp water)
  • ¼ cup pistachios, roasted

For the Cherry-Vanilla Glaze:

  • 75g butter, melted
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 5 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup pitted and halved Cherry Time cherries

To serve: chantilly cream


For the caramel, place the sugar in a saucepan on medium heat and allow to melt, stirring occasionally to distribute the heat evenly.
Once the sugar is liquid and amber in colour, remove from the stove and add the butter, whisking to combine.
Add the slightly warmed cream and whisk until completely combined, then pour into a container and allow to cool completely.
For the babka, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the water, sugar and yeast and set aside for 5–10 minutes until frothy.
To the mixture add the eggs, oil, vanilla and honey, and mix until combined.
Add the salt, flour and nutmeg and knead the dough on medium speed for approximately 10 minutes, until it is soft and smooth.
Transfer the dough to a bowl brushed with oil and cover with clingwrap, allowing to rise until doubled in size (approximately 2 hours).
For the glaze, melt the butter in a saucepan, add the remaining ingredients except the cherries, and whisk to combine. Adjust to your desired consistency with more or less milk and icing sugar.
Add ¼ cup cherries and allow to infuse for 10 minutes, before straining to remove the fruit.
Prepare a loaf pan by spraying with non-stick spray or lightly greasing with oil, then lining with baking paper.
On a floured surface, roll the babka dough out into a rectangle. Evenly spread the caramel and 1 cup cherries across the dough, leaving a 1.2cm border along all edges.
From the shorter side, carefully roll the dough into a log. Using a sharp knife, slit the dough in two by cutting it down the middle lengthwise. Taking the two pieces, twist them around each other to form the babka twist.
Place the babka into the prepared pan and place it in a warm spot, free from drafts, and allow to rise for another 45 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 190°C.
Brush with egg wash (avoiding the caramel and cherry swirls) and lightly cover with foil to prevent over-browning in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes, remove the foil, and bake for a further 5–15 minutes.
Once removed from the oven, allow the loaf to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
While on the rack, pour over the cherry-infused glaze and top with roasted pistachios.

Slice and serve with chantilly cream. Yum!

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