Chocolate Yeast Cake & Roulade

This past January when I was in Israel, my newly wed nephew's wife baked this cake. Four roulades to be exact. See top left photo in the collage below. A bubbly and intelligent gal, I think barely twenty, if that. I was beside myself, taken by her, I had no clue what to expect. We briefly spoke to her at her and my nephew's wedding over the summer, but didn't know her at all.
She brought one chocolate roulade over to my sister's home, where I was staying part of the time. We devoured it. One roulade she gave to her neighbor and two she froze for my nephew. I begged her the next day to bring another one over, but she wouldn't relent, it was saved for her sweetheart. When I pointed at her. and told her that she is frugal, she threatened to withhold the recipe from me. All in good fun.
Come to think if it, this roulade is a staple at many Israeli homes, baked usually as a Shabbat (Sabbath) dessert. Some would say it is identical to a chocolate babka. Either way, I have been daydreaming about it since I came back to the US, but just got around to baking it. 

The first two loaves I baked were filled with the cocoa, coffee filling. I cut them lengthwise the way the collage shows, braided and scooped and squished them into two cake loaf pans. They looked like babkas. You might have caught the slice I Instagrammed earlier. The third loaf was the one featured in this post with the semi sweet chocolate filling, it went to my neighbors. The last was a roulade, shown in the top left photo of the collage, filled with the cocoa, coffee filling and sprinkled with sesame seeds. I love that yeast, chocolate and sesame combination.
Deeper depth of field than top photo
My further research was turning up identical recipes one after the other. I guess the recipe is full proof! After kneading the dough it comes out a tad sticky, but after proofing for two hours, boy it's gorgeous! If you do not wish to bake all four loaves in one day, you can keep half of the dough covered with saran wrap to proof overnight in the refrigerator.

Check out my Breads and Anything Yeast board on Pinterest to see the posts that inspired me to shape this loaf in an Estonian Kringle fashion.

Chocolate Yeast Cake and Roulade
makes 4 cakes/roulades

Yeast starter
25gr active dry yeast (about little more than 3 1/2 packets. Each packet is 1/4oz)
1/2 cup lukewarm milk

1kg (2.2lbs) all purpose flour
150gr sugar (3/4 cup)
4 eggs, room temperature
180ml lukewarm milk (3/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
200gr (7.05oz/14 tablespoons plus a tad) butter, cut into pieces, room temperature

Egg Wash
1 egg, whisked
1 tablespoon milk

Mix the milk and egg together.

Sesame seeds

Fillings below

Add the yeast to the 1/2 cup of milk and let rest for 10-20 minutes until the yeast bubbles. Meanwhile, add the flour, sugar and salt into the mixer bowl and incorporate with a rubber spatula. With a dough hook attachment mix into the flour mixture, the milk and eggs, incorporate and shortly after add the bubbled yeast. While the dough is kneading add the pieces of butter one by one. Knead for about 5-7 minutes until all the ingredients are incorporated. Place the dough in a large glass, ceramic or porcelain bowl, cover with saran wrap and let proof in a warm place for up to 2 hours.

Divide the dough to 4 equal parts. Keep 3 parts covered with saran wrap while rolling out the first part. Roll out the dough into a super thin 40cmX45cm  (a tad larger than 15X17inches) rectangle. Spread with a rubber spatula the semi sweet chocolate filling or brush with melted butter and sprinkle the cocoa, coffee filing and roll tightly from the narrow part into a roulade.

Place the roulade on a greased parchment paper lined cookie sheet, with the seam side facing the bottom, cover with a kitchen towel and let proof in a warm place for up to an hour. Brush with the egg wash, sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired and bake in a preheated  180C (356F) oven for 25 minutes.

You can slice the roulade lengthwise and keep the sliced parts facing up. Braid while all the while keeping the sliced parts facing up. Pinch ends and turn into a ring. Place on a greased parchment paper lined cookie sheet, cover with a kitchen towel and proof in a warm place for up to an hour. Brush with an egg wash and bake in a preheated  180C (356F) oven for 25 minutes.

Instead of rolling the braid into a ring you can lift it and squish it like an accordion into a greased parchment paper lined cake loaf pan. Cover with a kitchen towel and let proof in a warm place for up to an hour. Brush with an egg wash and bake in a preheated  180C (356F) oven for 25 minutes.

It is easier to squish the loaf with the cocoa and coffee filling into an accordion than it is with the semi sweet spread.

Cocoa, Coffee Filling
50gr butter, melted and brought to room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee or cinnamon

Mix the sugar cocoa and coffee.

Semi Sweet Chocolate Filling
150gr (5 1/2oz) semi sweet chocolate
70gr (about 5 tablespoons) butter

Melt the chocolate and butter in a bain-marie while occasionally stirring with a rubber spatula, until smooth and glossy. Let cool at room temperature.

You can use a ready made spread of your choice.