Spiced Apple Babka

We used two of our favourite apples for baking – Granny Smith & Honeycrisp – for incredible flavour in this recipe and added warm spices to complement their natural sweetness. We love babka as an alternative to coffee cake, banana bread, and similar baked goods you might serve as a snack with tea or coffee or as part of a brunch spread.

Prep Time
1 hour
2½ hour proofing time
20 minutes chilling time
Bake Time
40 to 45 minutes

Small bowl (microwave-safe) x 2



Scale OR dry measuring cups

Liquid measuring cup

Measuring spoons

Stand mixer with paddle attachment and hook attachment OR large bowl with a wooden spoon

Plastic wrap OR kitchen towel

Rubber spatula x 2

Large bowl x 2

Box grater OR cheese grater (large-holed)

Mortar & pestle OR spice grinder

Whisk OR fork

Large skillet OR saucepan

Heatproof spatula

Large dish OR baking sheet

Baking sheet

Parchment paper

Rolling pin

Bench scraper


Pastry brush

Loaf pan (9 x 5 inch)

Serrated knife (bread knife)

Skewer (optional)

Small heavy-bottomed saucepan with lid

Wire cooling rack

Aluminum foil

12 to 16 slices
For the dough:
  • ¼ cup (63 ml) water
  • ¼ cup (54 g) Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar, packed, divided
  • 2 tsp (6 g) active dry yeast
  • 2⅔ cups (320 g) bread flour, divided
  • ¼ cup (63 ml) oat milk, warmed to between 105 to 110°F (40 to 43°C)
  • 2 large yolks
  • ¼ cup (63 ml) canola oil
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp (3 g) salt
For the apple filling:
  • 1 cup (150 g) Granny Smith apples, peeled, coarsely grated
  • 1 cup (150 g) Honeycrisp apples, peeled, coarsely grated
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice, preferably freshly squeezed
  • 9 pcs cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp (2 g) anise seeds
  • ¾ cup (163 g) Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar, packed, divided
  • ⅓ cup (45 g) cornstarch
  • 1 tsp (3 g) ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp (3 g) salt
For the honeyed-brown sugar simple syrup (makes ½ cup / 125 ml):
  • ⅓ cup (72 g) Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar
  • ¼ cup (63 ml) water
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml /21 g) honey

Step 1

In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat water and 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of the Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar to between 105 to 110°F (40 to 43°C). Using a fork, stir in the active dry yeast. Allow to sit until mixture becomes foamy; 5 to 10 minutes.

Step 2

Place ½ cup (60 grams) bread flour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (see Chef’s Tips). Add in the yeast mixture; mix on low to combine. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow mixture to sit; about 20 minutes.

Step 3

Add the remainder of the Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar, warm oat milk, half of the remaining bread flour, and egg yolks and mix, starting on low speed to incorporate the dry ingredients and later increasing to medium speed until well combined; about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and paddle attachment.

Step 4

Switch to the dough hook attachment. Add in the canola oil, vanilla extract, salt, and the remaining flour and knead on low speed; about 1 minute to incorporate the flour into the dough. Increase speed to medium-low. Knead until dough pulls away and cleans the bowl of the stand mixer; about 8 minutes. Dough should be smooth and soft.

Step 5

Remove dough from the bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface. Transfer the ball of dough into a lightly greased bowl turning over once to grease the top.

Step 6

Cover with plastic wrap or a clean, damp, lint-free kitchen towel and place into a warm, draft-free location until doubled in size; about 1 hour.

Step 7

While waiting for the dough to rise, make the filling.

For the filling:

Step 1

In a large bowl, combine the grated apples (see Chef’s Tips) with the lemon juice. Toss to coat.

Step 2

With a mortar and pestle, crush the cardamom pods until pods crack open and seeds are exposed. Remove and discard the green husks. Add in the anise seeds. Crush the seeds until it resembles a powder (see Chef’s Tips).

Step 3

In a small bowl, whisk together the Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar, cornstarch, ground cardamom, ground anise seeds, cinnamon, and salt until well mixed. Sprinkle the spiced sugar mixture into the bowl of grated apples. Toss to coat apples.

Step 4

Transfer the apple mixture into a large skillet or saucepan. Place over medium-low heat. Cook until juices are released from the apples and sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until juices are simmering and sauce has thickened enough to leave a clear, empty trail when running the spatula through the sauce. Simmer for about 2 minutes.

Step 5

Remove from heat and spread mixture into a large dish or a baking sheet to cool quickly to room temperature. Place, uncovered, into the fridge to chill; 20 minutes.

For the dough:

Step 1

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step 2

Punch down dough and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently flatten the dough to redistribute the gasses in the dough.

Step 3

Roll the dough into a large rectangle (14 x 16 inches), using a bench scraper to help shape and square off the edges. The dough will be quite thin. Have the shorter ends parallel with the edge of the work surface.

Step 4

With a rubber spatula, carefully spread the cooled spiced apple mixture over the rolled-out dough, leaving about half an inch of untouched dough on all edges.

Step 5

With a small pastry brush, lightly brush the untouched edges with water.

Step 6

Starting with the shorter side closest to the edge of the work surface, roll the dough into a rope (14 inches long), pressing down gently to seal the dampened edge to the dough. Gently roll the rope back and forth until even in size (dough will be about 2 to 2½ inches in diameter x 14 inches in length). Place the rope onto the lined baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Place baking sheet into the fridge to rest and chill; 20 minutes. Chilling the dough will make it easier to slice.

Step 7

Lightly grease and line a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the longer sides of the pan for easy unmolding.

Step 8

Remove the baking sheet with the chilled rope from the fridge. With a sharp serrated knife, making sure the seam side is down, carefully slice rope in half lengthwise.

Step 9

With the cut sides facing up, place one rope over the middle of the other one creating an “X.” Take the bottom left “arm” and cross it over or under the right “arm” (whichever direction doesn’t undo the existing cross). Repeat until the bottom half of the “X” is twisted together, ensuring that the cut sides face upwards at every “twist.” Pinch the two ends together. Rotate the baking sheet and complete the process with the other side until the entire loaf is twisted.

Step 10

Carefully lift the twisted loaf from the baking sheet and into the prepared loaf pan, pushing the two ends towards each other and, if necessary, tucking the ends in to help it fit into the pan.

Step 11

Loosely cover the loaf with plastic wrap that has been lightly greased or a damp, lint-free kitchen towel to prevent it from sticking to the dough as it rises. Place dough in a warm, draft-free location until almost doubled in size or the dough slowly fills in the indent when gently poked with a finger; about 1 to 1½ hours.

Step 12

Preheat the oven to 375°F (191°C) about 30 minutes into the proofing time to ensure that the oven is adequately heated.

Step 13

Place the proofed babka onto the middle rack of the preheated oven. Reduce heat to 350°F (177°C) and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until internal temperature reads 190°F (88°C), or a skewer, when inserted in the centre, comes out clean.

Step 14

For the honeyed-brown sugar simple syrup:

Step 1

In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar, water, and honey. Place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Turn off heat and cover to keep warm.

To assemble:

Step 1

When the babka comes out of the oven, place onto a wire cooling rack, and immediately drizzle and brush the top of the loaf with all of the warm simple syrup.

Step 2

Cool completely in the pan before unmolding or slicing as it may fall apart.

Step 3

Store babka wrapped well in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 4 days, or up to 2 months in the freezer wrapped additionally in aluminum foil.

Slices of spiced apple babka on plates shown with the cut loaf on a cooling rack and a mug of coffee