¼ cup lukewarm water (100°F – 115°F)
1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup water, divided
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon orange zest (from 1 large orange)
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 large eggs
4¾ – 5 cups KING ARTHUR® Unbleached Bread Flour, divided

1 2/3 cups whole pecans, toasted if desired
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons KING ARTHUR® Unbleached Bread Flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened baking cocoa powder
¼ cup unsalted butter

1/3 cup pecans
1 large egg

1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
5 – 6 teaspoons fresh orange juice


  1. For dough: Combine lukewarm water and yeast; let proof 5 – 10 minutes.
  2. Place ½ cup water into a small microwave-safe cup and heat on high 1 minute; stir in espresso powder.
  3. In medium 1½-quart heavy saucepan, mix together remaining ½ cup water, orange zest, butter, brown sugar, salt and cardamom. Add espresso water and heat until 110°F – 115°F.
  4. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Stir in yeast, eggs and 3 cups flour. Beat on low just until incorporated, scraping down sides with a spatula. Increase speed to medium-low and mix 3 minutes.
  5. Gradually add enough of the remaining flour until a soft, workable dough is formed. Exchange paddle attachment for dough hook. Knead 5 – 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
  6. Place dough in greased bowl and turn to coat. Cover; let rise until doubled, 60 – 90 minutes.
  7. For filling: In a food processor, chop pecans fine, almost paste-like. In a medium, microwave-safe bowl, whisk together brown sugar, flour, cocoa powder and ground pecans. Using a spoon, mix in butter until combined. If necessary, microwave 15 – 20 seconds to soften butter. Set aside.
  8. Generously coat a 9” tube pan with cooking spray. Deflate dough and roll into a 12” x 18” rectangle. Sprinkle the filling mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border on one of the long sides; gently press filling onto dough. Starting with long side with filling, roll up the dough into a tight log; sealing the seam. Reshape into an 18” long log and place seam-side down into pan, pinch ends to seal.
  9. Cover; let rise until doubled, 60 – 75 minutes. Near the end of the rise, preheat oven to 350°F.
  10. For topping: Place remaining pecans in a small plastic bag; use a rolling pin to pound pecans into coarse pieces. In small bowl, whisk egg until foamy. Brush egg on top of babka and sprinkle with pecans.
  11. Bake babka on middle rack 55 – 65 minutes, or until golden and internal temperature registers 200°F. Check babka at 40 minutes; if top is browning excessively, tent loosely with aluminum foil. Cool in pan on rack 30 minutes, then loosen edges with knife. Transfer to rack to cool.
  12. For orange glaze: Whisk together confectioners’ sugar and orange juice and drizzle glaze over cooled babka.


Makes 24 slices. 


PER SERVING (1 SLICE, 78g): 280 calories, 13g total fat, 4g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 35mg cholesterol, 200mg sodium, 35g total carbohydrates, 2g dietary fiber, 15g total sugars, 5g protein, 7mcg folate, 1mg vitamin C, 0mg iron.