A festive braided yeast cake filled with almond cream and a chocolate bar that spreads a most delicious smell in the house during baking, irresistible. The kind of recipe to “cut and save” to come back to every weekend. Yields two 25–30 centimeter (9 and 1/2 to 11 and 1/2-inch) braids
In a mixer bowl with a dough hook, place flour, yeast, butter, sugar, eggs, milk, salt and vanilla, and knead for 10–12 minutes until you get a smooth dough.
Cover the bowl and place the dough to rise in a warm place for one to two hours or until it doubles in volume.
In a food processor with a steel blade, put almonds, butter, sugar and salt, and process together until a crumbly mixture is obtained.
Add egg, flour and milk and process until you get a smooth and thick cream.
Divide the dough into two pieces.
On a floured surface, roll out each piece into a rectangle about half a centimeter (1/5-inch) thick.
Spread half of the almond cream in the center third of the rectangle and arrange one to two whole chocolate bars in the center portion (the bars should cover the cream).
Cut the two-thirds on the sides into strips and cross over to form a braid. Place the cake on a baking pan lined with Gefen Easy Baking Parchment Paper. Repeat with the other part of the dough and the rest of the filling and chocolate.
Place the cakes in a warm place until they almost double their volume.
Heat oven to 170 degrees Celsius (340 degrees Fahrenheit).
Brush the risen cakes with a beaten egg and sprinkle with sliced almonds.
Bake for 30–35 minutes or until the cakes are risen and golden.
Before serving, sprinkle with powdered sugar.
The cakes are best the day they’re prepared, but they can be frozen for up to two weeks.
Recipe, photography and styling: Natalie Levin