The Shavuot Dessert of Your Dreams: Silan Cheesecake Babka
Sponsored by Galilee’s Delicacy
Shavuot is a number of days away and I’m all for cheesecake and dairy foods. But I also need a good snacking cake, like a babka. So I’ve combined the two best and made a cheese babka.
Not revolutionary. Until you add a sweet earthiness to the equation, and it’s the little things in life that make you sing.
Silan is the secret ingredient that gives the crust an almost candied crunch and adds the perfect depth so you’re left with a sweet slice that’s not cloyingly sugary.
Get yourself on the hunt for Galilee’s Silan and start this project now. It freezes well. It also doubles well.
I love using Galilee’s Silan in a squeeze bottle because it makes it easy and convenient and, most importantly, mess-free!
Here is the recipe with step-by-step photos so you can follow along the way.
Silan Cheesecake Babka Recipe:
Yields: 1 10-inch loaf or 2-6 inch loaf pans
For The Dough
½ cup warm whole milk
2 tsps instant yeast
⅓ cup sugar
3 cups all purpose flour
1 egg plus 2 egg yolks
1 tbsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
For The Filling
4 oz. whipped cream cheese (½ container)
3 tbsps sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
For The Syrup
¼ cup Galilee’s silan
Heat your milk in a small saucepan over low heat until warm but not boiling hot, one to two minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the yeast and a pinch of sugar. Let rest two to three minutes to proof the yeast. Once it bubbles, transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Knead for two to three minutes.
Add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, until it’s incorporated into the dough. Mix on medium speed for seven to eight minutes or until the dough is smooth, elastic, and soft.
Transfer to a bowl, lightly oil the dough, and cover. Allow to rest for 1 hour or overnight in the fridge.
Make the filling: In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Mix well until you get a smooth filling.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a loaf pan lined with parchment paper.
If the dough was refrigerated, bring it back to room temperature.
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a large rectangle. Spread the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a short border. Drizzle the silan over the filling.
Start rolling the dough from the long side, making sure the pleats are tight, into a log. With a sharp knife, cut through the middle of the log. Pinch the two ends together and rope into a twist. Transfer to a loaf pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
To make the syrup, bring silan to a boil. Cook for one to two minutes, remove from heat, and set aside.
Once the cake is deeply golden, remove from the oven and immediately brush the syrup over the cake. Allow to cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!
Note: Ideally block cream cheese should be used, but this year it’s almost impossible to procure so I used whipped cream cheese. The texture isn’t ideal since it retains more moisture. If your cream cheese batter is particularly runny, mix in 1 teaspoon cornstarch.