Latest Recipe Testing

Recipe testing babka on

I loved your response to my last recipe testing post and you asked for more behind-the-scenes like this, so let’s do it!

Today I’m sharing a couple new recipes that I’ve been testing this month. What’s been working for me is dedicating one week (or a little over one week, it’s a lot of work!) to recipe testing and kitchen work. It’s a very intense and exhausting week, but it allows me to spend the rest of the month on photography, writing, and other random work. And gives me more time with Noelle, the main reason I’m beginning to do things this way! 🙂

The recipe test week from earlier this month spilled into the weekend. I simply could not get babka to cooperate all week, so I spent the following Sunday working on it again. I didn’t want to give up because my goal this year is to bake new and exciting recipes. And babka has been on my baking bucket list. And it’s babka. And it’s awesome.

Babka recipe testing on

Have you ever had babka? I’ll tell you all about it when I share the (successful!) recipe on Monday. In a nutshell, it’s a rich brioche dough filled and twisted up. Lots of delicious layers. My main babka problems were filling and shaping it. First, I used way too much filling (I went with Nutella!) and it was oozing out everywhere. Could hardly twist it up. What a mess. When I finally got the right amount of filling on there, I used way too much dough. It overflowed into an epic disaster. I wish I took a picture for you to see it. As it baked, it kept growing and growing… and growing. From what I could salvage and taste, the dough wasn’t rich, flaky, and soft as I wanted. In the next batch, I removed an egg white and reduced the flour. Long story short, I ended up with 7 loaves. My kitchen has never smelled better. Most of what you see above is in my freezer. On the menu when we have visitors: babka.

Anyway, twisting babka can be a little tricky so Kevin helped me take a video of me shaping it for you to see. I’ll share it all on Monday, so check back!

Another recipe my assistant and I worked on is the February’s baking challenge. I spent some time looking at your recipe requests for challenge recipes and I’ll share some of them as regular (non challenge!) recipes throughout the year. I already tackled madeleines, a popular request. I was originally going to do some sort of chocolate tart to teach you all about making traditional chocolate ganache, but ended up with something else that’s just as chocolate-y. I photographed the February challenge recipe this past week. Excited for it!

Chocolate cake pops on

You’ll hear more about the recipe on February 1st!


  1. Tiramisu was a popular request and I’d love to work on that in February. Do you have any preferences on it? A traditional tiramisu? A variation?
  2. Thoughts on bread pudding? Do you like it?

And one more thing… I did a podcast with Food Blogger Pro a couple years ago and the episode was featured as a rewind episode this past week. In case you want to give it a listen– it’s all about working hard to create success!

PS: Are engagement anniversaries a thing? Because today’s date will always be special for me. It was 5 years ago!!


  1. Never had babka & will look in our local TJ’s until your recipe is printed. What’s not to love about anything brioche?! Traditional Tiramisu as well as variations would be great. Also would love a Tres  Leches cake recipe. Always look forward to your posts & trying new recipes, thanks.

  2. Now there’s a challenge and a half !! Gluten Free wise. This could be an interesting one !!!
    Tiramisu on this one Sally please. Im getting a bit yeast bound Its my other halves favourite and with your recipes I have have no greater chance of success.
    No point me looking anywhere else. Yours are just so right for my needs.
    And many congratulations on yet another personal milestone. 5 years !! Wel done

  3. Love seeing these kinds of posts!
    1. HOT CHOCOLATE Tiramisu would be amazing – I’ve seen it somewhere before?
    2. Bread pudding is okay – have you ever tried making a hot pudding cake??

  4. Can’t wait to try your babka recipe. Want to make one with blueberry filling and another with cheese. Not a fan of Nutella. Thanks for the recipe!

  5. We love all three! My husband loves bread pudding but we never make it any more… so a good recipe would be welcome… Tiramasu is a favorit at our house and I have saved many recipies, but I think the traditional is the best… can’t wait for this one… and Babka is a big yes for me … I love it.. and I am trying to master the art of anything using yeast! I love to bake…Thank you for involving people in baking… it’s a big reason why I’m here…  Congrats on your 5th and your new baby! Sounds like your off to a wonderful year!

  6. I like tiramisu but an Opera cake recipe would be amazing. I’ve never forgotten the bread pudding I had at Postrio in San Francisco years ago. Nothing since has compared.

  7. So excited to try the babka! I want to learn and practice making more bread/yeast recipes this year, they are so intimidating to me right now. I feel like I always do something wrong. I tried your bread bowls and loved them (mine came out a little flat, but still tasty). And a big yes to both the tiramisu (traditional or variation sounds good to me) and bread pudding. Never made either and I always trust your recipes when trying something new. 🙂

  8. In my opinion, THE best Tiramisu recipe comes from the Canadian Living Magazine December 1, 1991 issue. I made it three times this past Christmas (for three different groups of people) and nearly everyone asked for the recipe. One friend is making it for a party in February and I’ll be going over to her house the day before to walk her through the steps (I’ve made it so often, I could do it while half asleep).

    Sally, I’d like to see what you come up with if you meet the challenge to not put booze (Kahlua rocks this recipe!) or coffee in it! You might need to come up with a different name for it but I’m sure it will be delicious!

      1. Danielle, I would love to give you the Canadian Living recipe for Tiramisu but I don’t know what the protocol is for posting here (this is Sally’s site). I tried to find a link to it on the CL website but the archives only go back to 1999.

  9. Bread pudding might be my favorite ever dessert. I think it’s really underrated and I would LOVE to see what you do with it. Yummy!!!

  10. Yes to all three!! Never had babka, but would like to try. I *love* tiramisu. And bread pudding is a staple here. BUT… you *have* to have the bourbon sauce to go with it. Trust me, it makes ALL the difference! 😉

  11. I agree with Mary. The Canadian Living tiramisu recipe is the best. So light and airy. My family and friends all love it. Often requested by nieces instead of birthday cake. Modified the recipe to have less alcohol. Simply substitued orange juice. I tend to use Grand Marnier to compliment the orange juice. Would appreciate a creamy rice pudding recipe with raisins of course. Thank you, love your recipes.

  12. Smitten kitchen has a wonderful chocolate babka recipe that I first used and then adapted and made my own. The filling to dough ratio is crucial and the rolling and twisting can be tricky at first.
    Can’t wait to see your recipe!

  13. Babka has become one of my favorite things to bake, so I’m really looking forward to your recipe!
    Also, YESYESYES to bread pudding.

  14. Traditional Tiramisu would be great & bread pudding with a little marmalade, using brioche is a decadent treat!

    Looking forward to them any which way! 
    Lulu, Bath  

  15. I am thrilled to see Babka on your list of successful recipes.  I will be baking my way through Bread Illustrated.  I am looking forward to your Babka; especially with Nutella!  My son will probably eat 95% of it.  
    As far as the Tiramasu I would prefer the traditional recipe.  Then if you would like to also include variations that would be great. 
    Bread pudding.  I did not grow up eating but I am willing to try it.

  16. I lovvvvve bread pudding! I have had banana bread-bread pudding and oh man its so GOOD! I’ve tried many bread puddings at hispanic restaurants/bakeries which usually have some raisins and hints of cinnamon and those are my addiction!

  17. Love traditional tiramisu!! Also love bread pudding but I’ve always had a problem making it- it’s either too dry or too squishy! I need serious help on that front!

  18. babka in a shape other than a loaf would be outstanding….muffins? is this possible?
    tiramisu with Kahlua is delish as a change from traditional.

  19. Congratulations!!!! I have been following you for years and have had so much fun learning, cooking, baking and especially watch you grow into this amazing food blogger!!!! You are awesome!!

  20. YES YES YES to bread pudding! I love bread pudding, but have never found a recipe that I really like. And I know you would be able to deliver!!

  21. Happy engagement anniversary! How fun :-). I love tiramisu but I have a stellar regular recipe from a small group cooking class I took with my mom, gosh, probably 15-20 years ago (!), so I personally would love a flavor variation. I am not a huge bread pudding person. I can’t wait for babka!

  22. Bread pudding is good but I think it really depends on how its prepared. I used to work at a restaurant that served it for a brunch item and it was served with a hot brandy sauce over it. Delicious!

  23. Pound cake with bourbon sauce or peach cobbler with bourbon sauce…..did I mention I would love to try making some bourbon sauce for a dessert topping? 🙂

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally