Favorite Classic Jewish Recipes Made Vegan: Pumpkin Spice Babka

November 20th, 2021

By Rachel Hershkovitz


Jerry Seinfeld’s reaction to a cinnamon babka  in “The Dinner Party” says it all: “A lesser babka? I think not!” 

Now imagine if you were to add pumpkin spice to that babka. It’s sure to please at any dinner party. 

Just like egg, pumpkin puree is moist and it binds, making it perfect for vegan baking. So with this autumnal babka, I decided to make pumpkin the star by swapping the chocolate spread for a decadent mix of pumpkin spice and brown sugar. If you’re a fan of nuts, toasted pecans make a lovely addition to the filling, or as a topping. 


For the dough: 

2 cups flour 

⅓ cup sugar, plus 1 tbsp for the yeast 

1 packet yeast 

2 tbsp refined coconut oil (melted)

½ cup water 

1 tsp pumpkin spice seasoning 

½ cup pumpkin puree 

¼ tsp salt 

For the filling: 

1/2 cup brown sugar 

¼ cup flour 

4 tsp pumpkin spice seasoning 

1 tsp vanilla extract 

2 to 3 tbsp refined coconut oil (melted)

Pinch of salt 

Optional: ½ cup toasted pecan pieces 

For the glaze:

1 tbsp apricot jam 

½ tbsp water 


Stir yeast packet and 1 tbsp sugar into warm water. Allow to bubble for about 10 minutes. 

In the meantime, whisk together dry ingredients: flour, sugar, salt. Then, add the yeast mixture, melted coconut oil, and pumpkin puree into the dry ingredients and fold together until a dough forms. Work until smooth. If sticky, lightly dust with extra flour. 

Allow to rest in a warm place with a damp towel or cling wrap covering the bowl for about 2 hours, until the dough doubles in size. 

During this time, prepare your filling by whisking together your dry ingredients: flour, brown sugar, pecans, and pumpkin spice. Then whisk in vanilla extract and just enough melted coconut oil, until it takes on a crumble texture. 

Set aside and cover but do not refrigerate, as the coconut oil will harden in colder temps. 

“Punch down” dough and move to a large surface to roll into a large rectangle (about 10 inches by 12 inches). Cover with pecan crumble mix, gently pressing the filling into the dough to prevent spill. 

Roll into a “jelly roll” shape, then use a knife to cut the roll into half, lengthwise. Criss-cross the strands of dough together. 

Allow to rest for another 30 minutes, then bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, until a knife runs clean. Stir water into apricot jam and brush onto the babka. Allow to cool fully before slicing. 

This babka is perfect for sharing with friends over coffee.  


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