Apricot Cherry Cranberry and Golden Raisin Babka

This super festive Apricot Cherry Cranberry and Golden Raisin is the holiday bake you’ve been searching for! Every bite is light, soft, extra sweet, fruity, and SO delicious. Trust me, it’s even better better than fruitcake! The simple sweet dough has apricot jam spread across it, sprinkled with extra chopped dried apricots, dried tart cherries, dried cranberries, and sweet golden raisins. Then, rolled, cut, braided, and baked to delicious perfection. It really doesn’t get any better than this! Serve while this bread is still a little warm with a light drizzle of honey. The bread just melts in your mouth and it’s so impressive! Oh, and the best part? It’s actually easier to make than you might think! Give as a gift this holiday season or bake up a loaf to enjoy for breakfast (or dessert!) for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or even Christmas. No matter when you bake this sweet bread, it’s always guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser during the holidays.

apricot babka with fresh cranberries, gold knife, and two slices laying in front

→ This post is also available as a Web Story: Holiday Babka

About The Recipe

The holiday’s are in full-swing in our home and in our kitchen! I can’t wait to share everything with you, but the one I’m most excited for is this babka.

While we were doing some post-thanksgiving cleaning, we found a lot of dried fruit hanging out on the counters of our kitchen. It’s kind of a staple for us to have. We love mixing up granola or an energy bar to keep us going through the holiday’s, but something about this particular mix stood out to us.

It seemed really festive! It was literally a bag of dried apricots, cherries, and golden raisins. We had just bought dried cranberries the day before, too. Immediately, my mom and I started talking about it. Turns out, we don’t really have a lot of mixed fruit-based recipes on the blog. Especially for holiday’s!

So, we pitched around a lot of ideas. Doughnuts have been something we’ve been talking about off and on since before thanksgiving, but we couldn’t really come up with any flavors we felt like we wanted to share. At least, for now!

Babka was another idea that came to mind, as you all had loved the Spiced Pumpkin Butter Babka so much!

From there, things went smoothly! Which was amazing because my mom and I have been in a bit of a rut trying to come up with fun, new, exciting bakes for all of you.

In all honestly, we really just wanted to do an enriched dough, as today is Hanukkah, and even if we don’t celebrate, we wanted to share this as a celebration to all of our friends who do!

side shot of babka on parchment paper with bowl of golden raisins, jar of cranberries, greenery, flowers, gold knife, stacked paltes, and a jar of honey behind

In a way, this bake is really special for us. We really miss so many of our friends since we moved, so we thought this would be a great way to give a little taste of home during the holiday’s! The fruit is very bright, sharp, and vibrant, while the dough is soft and sweet.

Every bite is fruity, festive, and one of my absolute favorite bakes we’ve shared to date! It’s truly melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

Equipment Needed

Ingredients

  • Whole Milk
  • Salted Butter
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Sugar
  • Yeast
  • Egg Yolks
  • Apricot Jam
  • Dried Apricots
  • Dried Cherries
  • Golden Raisins
  • Dried Cranberries
chopped apricot, two egg yolks, dried cranberries, dried golden raisins, yeast, sugar, dried cranberries, flour, apricot jam, butter, salt, and milk on marble counter

Instructions

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix flour, sugar, salt, and yeast.

Combine the butter and milk in a small sauce pan. Heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, until butter melts and temperature is between 120 degrees and 130 degrees.

With mixer running, pour milk mixture into flour mixture.

Once the milk mixture is incorporated, mix in the egg yolks. Increase speed and knead for 8-10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.

Place the dough in a lidded container that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Allow to rise for about an hour, or until doubled in bulk.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Roll into a 12 by 12 inch square.

Spread the apricot jam across the dough. Top with dried fruits.

Roll the dough longways.

Cut the roll in two with a sharp knife. Braid the dough by twisting the two halves around each other. Place in a prepared loaf pan.

Cover the pan with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in bulk.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Let cool for 20-30 minutes in the pan and turn out.

Babka: FAQ’s and Troubleshooting


I don’t have a mixer. Can I make this by hand?
This bread should be made in a mixer! While it’s doable to make it without, it takes twice as long to knead and it’s a lot of work. It’s always best to use a stand mixer.

Can I make more than one loaf?
Definitely! We have a button in the recipe card to double or triple the recipe. It just may be a lot of dough to work with at a time. I suggest maybe making the loaves one at a time.

Why is my dough sticky?
This babka is an ENRICHED dough! It sends to be a wetter and maybe a little stickier dough due to the addition of butter, milk, eggs, and sugar.

How can I tell when my dough is kneaded properly?
A properly kneaded dough should be smooth and shiny.

Can I do an overnight proof?
You actually can! If you don’t have the time during the day to finish the bread, place it in the fridge overnight. Just remember to get it out early so it can warm back up.

My dough isn’t rising in the times stated in the recipe card!
The recipe card/post states the times it took our dough to rise. We live in Texas. So, it tends to be a bit warmer here and doughs generally take less time to rise. I promise there’s nothing wrong with the dough! Just let it do its thing.

My dough didn’t rise at all.
 Is your yeast in-date? If not, then you need to get new yeast and try again. If it is, did you check the temperature of the butter/milk mixture? When the mixture is over 120-130 degrees, it’ll kill your yeast! Be sure to have a thermometer on hand.

Can I cut this with scissors or a pizza cutter?
Absolutely! While a really sharp knife is preferable, sometimes…we just don’t have one sharp enough. A clean pair of scissors might be your best bet, but you can also use a pizza cutter, if it’s sharp enough.

All my jam is spilling out when rolling/braiding!
This sounds like too much jam was added. It’s okay! Be sure to follow the exact amounts stated in the recipe card for best results. Just try to clean up the loaf a little.

How do I braid this properly?
This braid is super simple. It’s just a twist! Just remember that it’s not as hard as it may seem. Follow the step-by-step photos above and have fun!

Store-Bought or Homemade Jam?

For this recipe, you can use either! We used store-bought, but you can definitely make your own apricot jam.

3 Quick Tips For Braiding This Babka

This is actually one of the easiest braids I’ve ever done, but I know it can be a little intimidating! So, here are a few tips to get you the best looking babka!

  1. Leave a small piece of dough attached. This is important! When cutting the dough in half, leave about 1/2 inch or so towards the end not cut. This will hold your braid together and make things easier!
  2. Fold over – Not under. Since you’re only working with two pieces, you don’t have to worry about remembering the pattern! All you need to do is place one strand (I like starting from the right) over the other. All you need to do is continue this simple step until the braid is done! Follow the photos above for more help.
  3. Don’t apply too much pressure. If you hold onto the dough too tightly, you’ll not only ruin the layers, but the filling will spill out! So, be careful when handling the dough!
overhead photo of apricot babka on parchment paper with gold knife

Substitutions

  • Use any combination of dried fruits you like! This is one of our personal favorites, but if there’s something in this mix you don’t like, feel free to leave it out OR replace it with something similiar!
  • You can use homemade jam, if you have any.

How To Store

Once this babka is baked and cooled, you can store it covered at room temperature or in the fridge about 3 days. If you want a slice, simply pop in the microwave for a few seconds!

You can also freeze this for about 2-3 months! Just be sure to store it in a freezer safe, zip-top bag.

Expert Tips

  • Don’t skip lining the pan with parchment! Since this babka is made with fruit, it will stick to you pan if it’s not lined.
  • If the milk overheated, don’t add it to the dry ingredients. You need to let it cool to 120-130 degrees F.
  • Be sure to check your yeast and make sure that it’s in-date and active!
  • This recipe can make two small loaves!
  • Rising times may vary.

When you make this Apricot Cherry Cranberry and Golden Raisin Babka, leave a comment down below! We love hearing from you and answering any questions you might have! Also, be sure to tag us on social media and hashtag it #BakersTable.

apricot babka with fresh cranberries, gold knife, and two slices laying in front

Apricot Cherry Cranberry and Golden Raisin Babka

Traci
The ultimate holiday bake! This Apricot Cherry Cranberry and Golden Raisin Babka is fruity, sweet, and just SO GOOD. Every bite always leaves you wanting more. Serve warm with an extra smear of apricot jam or even a light drizzle of honey!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 35 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Proofing Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 4 hrs 5 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 182 kcal

Ingredients
 

Dough

  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons instant yeast
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 4 ½ Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 egg yolks

Filling

  • ½ cup apricot preserves
  • ¼ cup chopped dried apricots
  • ¼ cup dried cherries
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup golden raisins

Instructions

  • Combine flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer.
  • In a small sauce pan, heat butter and milk until butter melts.
  • Cool to between 120 and 130 degrees F.
  • Pour over flour mixture.
  • Mix until completely combined.
  • Add egg.
  • Mix in.
  • Change to dough hook, if using.
  • Continue to knead until dough cleans the side of the bowl and forms a smooth ball.
  • Turn into a covered container that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
  • Allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk.
  • Turn out onto floured surface.
  • Roll into a 12'X12" square.
  • Spread dough with apricot jam.
  • Sprinkle evenly with dried fruit.
  • Roll up jellyroll-style.
  • Using a sharp knife, slice dough in half, leaving it connected on one end.
  • Flip dough halves up so fruit filling is on top.
  • Twist the strands of dough together.
  • Line a 9"x4" loaf pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
  • Place the loaf in the pan, tucking ends under.
  • Cover with plastic wrap.
  • Allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1-1 1/2 hours.
  • While dough is proofing, heat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Bake bread for 55-60 minutes, covering loosely with foil after the first 10 minutes.
  • Allow to cool before removing from pan.

Notes

  • Don’t skip lining the pan with parchment! Since this babka is made with fruit, it will stick to you pan if it’s not lined.
  • If the milk overheated, don’t add it to the dry ingredients. You need to let it cool to 120-130 degrees F.
  • Be sure to check your yeast and make sure that it’s in-date and active!
  • This recipe can make two small loaves!
  • Rising times may vary.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 182kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 4gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 158mgPotassium: 112mgFiber: 2gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 398IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 27mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

When you make this recipe, remember to tag @bakerstble or hashtag it #BakersTable!
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6 Comments

  1. Made this today and it is dee-licious! Only thing different for me is that I needed to add about 1/2 cup more flour than listed. Love the combination of fruits! Thanks, Traci!

  2. Sorry, one more thing.
    In the actual recipe directions you say to roll to 12 x 12 square, but above with the photos you say 12 x 18 rectangle. Which size should it be?
    Thanks!!

  3. This sounds AMAZING! And it has most of my favorite dried fruits. I can’t wait to make it but I do have a question: I have active dry yeast. Can I substitute it for the instant? Thank you!

    1. Hi Ruby! You can absolutely substitute the active dry yeast for the instant! There shouldn’t be any difference in proofing or baking times.