Carrot Cake Babka

June 19, 2021
3 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Veronica Olson. Food Stylist: Samantha Seneviratne.
  • Prep time 4 hours
  • Cook time 50 minutes
  • makes 2 loaves
Author Notes

Nothing says springtime to me like a classic carrot cake—but here, I've transformed it into a babka. The same flavors and textures of carrot cake are all present in the filling: grated carrots, raisins, and warm spices. The recipe starts with a tender enriched dough made with Kerrygold Unsalted Butter, which gets wrapped and twisted around the filling. The payoff? Lots of filling in every sweet bite.

Of course, no carrot cake is really complete without billowy swaths of cream cheese frosting. Standing in for it here is a gorgeous and shiny brown butter cream cheese glaze. It’s reminiscent of the traditional frosting but still befits a bread rather than a cake. This recipe makes for a delicious (and beautiful) dessert, but it’s a wonderful breakfast or brunch treat, as well. —Posie (Harwood) Brien

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is shared in partnership with Kerrygold. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the dough:
  • 4 1/4 cups cups (510g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (66g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (118ml) whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (113g) Kerrygold Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • For the filling:
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots, loosely packed
  • 1 1/2 cups (319g) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup (56g) Kerrygold Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • For the glaze:
  • 1/4 cup (56g) Kerrygold Unsalted Butter
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup (113g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk, plus more as needed
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together all the dough ingredients—except for the butter—until combined. With the mixer on low speed, add the butter, about 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing between each addition and then knead until the dough is very smooth and elastic. Don't skimp on this step; it should take about 10 minutes in a stand mixer. If the dough is still pretty sticky, carry on kneading until it feels quite smooth.
  2. Lightly grease a large bowl and place the dough in it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 ½ to 2 hours. This dough won’t double in size—it’s a bit more dense than other yeasted breads, but it should noticeably rise. After the first rise, place the dough in the refrigerator and chill overnight (or for at least 3 hours).
  3. While the dough rises, make the filling: Mix together all the ingredients until well-combined.
  4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it in half, returning one half to chill while you work.
  5. Gently press down the dough to deflate it and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 12 inches x 18 inches in size.
  6. Spread half of the filling in an even layer over the dough. Starting with the long side closest to you, roll the dough up into a fairly tight log and pinch the seam closed. Using a sharp serrated knife, slice the log in half lengthwise. Twist the two halves of the log together, then fold the twisted log in half, ending up with a twisted log about 9 inches long.
  7. Transfer the prepared dough to a greased 9- x 5-inch loaf pan. Repeat the process with the remaining dough and filling.
  8. Cover both pans loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for about 1 ½ hours. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  9. Uncover the pans and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and let cool fully while you make the glaze.
  10. For the glaze: Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat and continue cooking, swirling the pan, until the foam subsides and the milk solids begin to brown—the butter will smell nutty. Remove from the heat and let cool, then refrigerate until scoopable but not hard.
  11. Beat together the cream cheese and brown butter until smooth, then add the confectioners’ sugar and milk. Add more milk, as needed, until the glaze is thick but drips slowly from a spoon. Pour the glaze evenly over both loaves.

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2 Reviews

Sonja F. April 13, 2022
This was demolished at my bookclub meeting, Not a crumb left. A bit messy to put together but it turned out beautiful. I made one change - instead of the glaze on top I creamed some confectioner's sugar (1/2 cup) into the cream cheese (8oz) and spread it on each of the rolled out dough before adding the filling. Perfect gooeyness inside not outside.
Kimberly K. June 19, 2021
DIVINE! Has quickly become a family favorite. Thank you for sharing this dose of sunshine and comfort.