Pumpkin Cheesecake Babka

Getting reviews...
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr 30 min (plus 8 hr refrigerating)
  • Active: 1 hr 30 min
  • Yield: 2 loaves of babka
Sweet cream cheese, warm spices and a yeasted pumpkin dough swirl together to create a seasonal take on babka that's perfect for the brunch table. The best part? This recipe makes two large loaves perfect for feeding a crowd or even holiday time gifting.


For the Dough:

For the Cream Cheese Filling:

For the Pecan Filling and Topping:


  1. Make the dough: Combine the granulated sugar and water in a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and stir gently. Let stand until the yeast begins to soften and turn foamy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar and salt in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.
  2. Stir the yeast mixture into the pumpkin mixture. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Mix in the flour in three or four batches on low speed until just combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat in the butter, a few pieces at a time, until fully combined. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until the dough is smooth but still sticky, 4 to 6 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl and add the dough, turning to coat in the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours. Punch down the dough, cover again and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
  3. Make the cream cheese filling: Beat the cream cheese, egg yolks, confectioners' sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl and beat with a mixer until combined. Set aside.
  4. Make the pecan filling: Stir together the brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and pecans in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter and mix until the pecans are coated and the sugar looks like wet sand. Transfer 1/2 cup of the pecan filling to a small bowl and combine with the flour (this is the topping). Set both bowls aside.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Lightly butter two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans. Line each pan with parchment paper, leaving at least a 2-inch overhang on the long sides. Butter the paper and place the pans on a large rimmed baking sheet. 
  6. Punch down the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in half. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll out each piece into a 10-by-18-inch rectangle. Spread each rectangle with half of the cream cheese filling and sprinkle each with half of the pecan filling. Starting at a long side, roll up the dough into a tight log. Pinch the ends to seal in the filling. (If the dough becomes too soft, refrigerate the logs on a baking sheet until firm.) Fold the dough in half into a horseshoe shape, then cross the right half over the left, twisting into a figure-eight shape. Twist once or twice more, then fit into the prepared pans. Loosely cover each pan with plastic wrap. Set aside until slightly risen, about 20 minutes.
  7. Brush the tops of the dough with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the pecan topping. Bake the babkas, rotating the pans halfway through, until dark golden brown, 50 to 60 minutes. (If the tops begin to brown too quickly, tent with foil and reduce the oven temperature to 325˚ F.) Transfer to a rack and let the babkas cool completely in the pans. 

Cook’s Note

To store the babka, wrap in plastic and keep at room temperature for up to 3 days, or wrap in plastic, then foil and freeze up to 3 months.