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- Dish type
- Classic cakes
- Bundt cakes
This traditional Polish babka is a cake perfect to enjoy with an afternoon cuppa. It's a moist and dense cake flavoured with hints of vanilla, almond and lemon.
18 people made this
IngredientsMakes: 1 babka cake
- 20g butter, to grease tin
- 3 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
- 150g plain flour
- 100g potato starch
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 200g butter or margarine
- 200g icing sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 3 to 4 tablespoons soured cream
- 1 tablespoon almond extract
- 1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
- 20g raisins
MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:40min ›Ready in:1hr
- Liberally grease a Bundt cake tin with 20g of butter. Sprinkle evenly with the breadcrumbs. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4.
- Sift together the plain flour and baking powder. Stir in the potato starch. Set aside.
- In a clean bowl, cream the butter till light and fluffy. Whisk in icing sugar, vanilla sugar, egg yolks, soured cream, almond extract, lemon zest and juice. Beat till combined. Add in the dry mixture and stir till well incorporated, then fold in the raisins.
- In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Gradually add the egg whites to the cake mixture, gently folding in till evenly incorporated. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool slightly before inverting the cake onto a serving plate, and dust with icing sugar if desired.
Potato starch vs flour
Note that potato starch is not the same as potato flour, though sometimes potato starch is erroneously labelled as potato flour. Make sure what you buy is a refined, white powder, as true potato flour is made from the entire potato, including the skin, and is less refined.
Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(16)
Reviews in English (2)
Babkas appeared all over Europe at the end of the XVIIth century. In Poland the king Stanisław Leszczyński claimed that the French version is too dry and it had to be dipped into something wet. This is how the rum version appeared.
In the pre-wars period, babka was traditionally baked on Good Friday before Easter, in the bread section of a home wood-fired oven. It was a lengthly process.
No man could be present during the preparation of the baby, as it was believed that his presence would cause the babka not to rise.
Looking at recipes from the XIXth century if nothing changed, nobody would bake the babka anymore these days because it was taking endless hours to make it.
Sometimes after baking babka was even rocked in the sheets like a child.
The ultimate babka recipe from Cookkosher.com
A Purim babka that would make your Jewish grandmother proud
Modern Manna recipe / Poppy seed babka
Jewish-American babka has Polish roots - babka meaning small grandmother - although the non-Jewish babka is a simple, tall yeast cake that’s baked in a kugelhopf pan without any filling. The Jewish babka is a twisted filled yeast dough made with a simple, relatively lean dough.
In Israel, yeast strudels became popular thanks to Hungarian bakeries and cafes, which offered traditional versions of poppyseed or cinnamon and raisins filled rolls. Those cakes, which have their roots in Austro-Hungarian tradition, as well as Russian, Polish and other Eastern European countries, became so popular that you can still find them in every supermarket, as well as in coffee shops and bakeries all over the country.
But this delectable yeast pastry’s appeal did not stop there. In recent years, a version of the German hefekranz, a braided cake baked in a round shape (kranz means a wreath), or simply kranz, made its way to the shelves of Israeli bakeries. In the Israeli version, the only thing left from the original German braided cake is the braiding. But the term “kranz” became synonymous with a braided cake of laminated yeast dough, filled with a variety of fillings.
Laminated dough is a very rich yeast dough that basically combines the techniques of yeast dough and puff pastry. It is very time consuming since beyond making the yeast dough, you need to add a few steps of folding the dough with cold butter. These days, any braided yeast cake in Israel claims the name kranz, but the real ones are undeniably rich, very tasty and stay fresh for longer thanks to all that butter.
To make things simpler for the home baker, chefs came up with recipes for butter-rich yeast dough that does not require all the folding. It is not as flaky and light as the original laminated dough, but it is still very rich and in that sense very different from the American babka. (And, some would argue, superior.)
Each chapter has an introduction and guidance about ‘how the dough should feel’. It includes notes on rising, storage, the best kinds of flour for each bake, and the essential tools that will be required.
There are clear photographic illustrations showing how to roll, fold, braid, cut, fill and shape the various breads, cakes and cookies. All-in-all it feels like Shannon is almost there in the kitchen holding your hand and guiding you towards perfect results.
King Babka Cake
When chef Peter Reinhart was asked to come up with his version of a king cake, he immediately thought of babka: the rich, yeasted bread-coffee cake with a Russian and Polish culinary heritage. His original recipe has a chocolate-cinnamon filling, but here the chef has kept things simple by using toasted almonds.
With the gifts of the three kings in mind, Reinhart prefers to hide a gold coin in the dough.
Make Ahead: The king babka cake can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Servings: 12 - 16
For the cake: Whisk the yeast into lukewarm milk in a bowl let it sit for about 5 minutes.
Combine the butter, oil and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on low speed, then increase the speed to medium and beat until the mixture is smooth.
Reduce the speed to low add the yolks to the bowl one at a time, beating for 30 seconds between each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix until light and fluffy. Turn off the mixer.
Add the flour and salt, then the milk mixture. Beat on low speed or stir by hand for 2 to 3 minutes to form a soft dough.
Liberally flour a work surface. Lightly grease a large bowl with the oil.
Transfer the dough to the work surface knead by hand for 2 to 3 minutes, adding flour to the surface as needed to keep the dough from sticking. The dough should be supple and soft. Form it into a ball and place it in the oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature for about 2 1/2 hours. It will not quite double in size.
Once the dough has risen, roll it out into a 15-inch square with a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Make sure to keep it dusted well with flour on the bottom so it does not stick.
Sprinkle the toasted almonds evenly over the dough. Roll the sheet of dough like a jelly roll (rolling from one of the long sides), then pinch the seams to seal it. Gently stretch and roll to form a log that is about 24 inches long.
Cut the log down the middle lengthwise, making sure not to cut through one end. Twist the 2 halves over each other to achieve a braided look.
Grease a rimmed baking sheet with a little oil. Loop the dough to form a circle, shaping it so it has slightly squared corners. If desired, insert a heatproof gold coin deep into the dough. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature for about 2 hours or until it is 1 1/2 times its original size.
At this point, the dough is ready for baking, or it can be covered and refrigerated overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
For the egg wash: Whisk together the egg white and water in a liquid measuring cup. Use a pastry brush to coat the surface of the dough with the egg wash.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, then rotate the baking sheet from front to back and bake for about 10 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and sounds hollow when thumped on the top.
Let the cake cool on the baking sheet for 30 minutes, then use a round-edged knife to dislodge it if needed transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely
For the glaze: Place the confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk in just enough of the light corn syrup and extract of your choice to form a smooth, barely pourable glaze. Use an offset knife to paint or spread the glaze on top of the cooled cake, preferably in wide swaths. Sprinkle with colored sugar, if desired.
Let the icing set before serving.
NOTE: Toast the almonds in a large, dry skillet over medium-low heat for about 4 minutes, shaking the skillet often to keep the nuts from burning. Toast until they are lightly browned and fragrant.
Adapted from Reinhart’s "Artisan Breads Every Day" (Ten Speed Press, 2009).
Jewish Chocolate Babka Recipe
The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
This chocolate babka recipe was appropriated from the Poles by Eastern European or Ashkenazic Jews. But it depends on who you talk to. Ashkenazic Jews claim the Poles stole it from them! As with most recipes, changes were made over the years. Instead of being baked in a swirly babka pan the Poles use, most Jewish people bake it in a loaf pan and, often, add a streusel topping. It's a delicious, rich version that may even surpass most Polish babkas.
Master Babka Baking With These 10 Recipes
Babka has been a kosher bakery staple for decades (at least!), and a specialty of Jewish grandmothers for even longer. But the yeast-risen sweet bread, threaded with swirls of filling, is having an undeniable heyday. Some credit "Seinfeld" not only with inserting babka into the collective pop culture consciousness, but with planting the seeds of debate regarding whether chocolate filling is superior to cinnamon. That Israeli and Ashkenazi fare are trending in upscale restaurants, cookbooks and food magazines doesn't hurt. And that a cross section of the loaf boasts undeniably photogenic swirls makes babka one sexy pastry in the age of Instagram, food blogs and cooking sites.
Today, butter-based laminated doughs are all the rage with both professional and home bakers, but according to historian Gil Marks, babka's beginnings - and ingredients - were humbler. Generally, they were made from oil-based challah dough, which was a boon for keeping the loaf pareve. Those babkas were spread with jam or nuts, while today's fillings skew more decadent. But whatever sort of dough and filling you prefer, you'll find lots of recipe options here. And while the results look complicated to achieve, with a little practice, you'll find that the technique is pretty simple, and the payoff is absolutely delicious!
Do you need any special ingredients or equipment to make this Polish ‘Sand Cake’ Babka?
Most of the ingredients should be available in any major supermarket.
The only potentially troublesome ingredient would be potato flour (do not confuse it with potato starch, they aren’t the same thing). If you can’t find it in-store, try online (e.g. on Amazon).
Equipment-wise, you’ll need a planetary mixer, or at least a hand-held one. Kneading by hand for longer periods of time can be exhausting.
Get a tall, fluted Bundt mold as well – ideally a non-stick version, so it’s easier to release the cake later on.
Polish Bunt Cake
- 9 oz / 255 g of melted butter
- 1 cup of sugar
- 5 eggs - separated
- 3/4 cup of all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup of potato flour (potato starch)
- 2 tsp of baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tbs of butter for greasing the pan
- 1 tbs of bread crumbs for the pan
Preheat oven to 350°F. Separate yolks from whites. Add sugar to yolks and beat until fluffy. Slowly add melted butter (not hot) and beat until combined.
Add flours, baking powder, salt, vanilla and lemon zest. Mix for a couple of minutes.
In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until stiff, about 3 min. Add to mixture and gently mix until combined.
Grease bunt cake pan with butter and sprinkle breadcrumbs to prevent cake from sticking. Transfer cake batter into pan and bake for about 40 min*. Check with a toothpick. If wet, bake for another 10 min. *
Polish Lemon Babka
If bread and cake got together, fell in love and had a baby&hellip this would be it! It is a yeast bread that is just sweet enough and almost has the texture of a traditional cake. It is amazing that this Polish babka even works the way it does.
This cake is a must make. It is an Easter tradition for many Polish families. It is a no knead enriched yeast bread that soaks up a river of syrupy lemon goodness. The final result is soft and flavorful, perfect with a cup of coffee at Easter brunch. So go ahead and pour yourself a mug of steaming coffee and grab a slice, let&rsquos sit down and enjoy it together.
The dough is very loose for a bread dough. It is more like a thick batter. You beat it in your mixer just enough to give the gluten a nudge, but not so much that you get chew in your final texture.
Then after two long rests (that hardly yield any rising results) you throw the whole thing in the oven and wish for best. Soak it in syrup, toss on a little glaze and holy moly!
Babka is the Polish word for grandmother and it seems that everyone&rsquos grandmother made it just a bit differently. If you look around there are so many variations. I can&rsquot speak for the rest, but this one is worth making!
I made this to bring to Nana and Mike&rsquos house. They were having us over for a pre-Easter dinner and I thought this would be fun to share with them.
I glazed it while it was still warm and cut a slice for a picture. I couldn&rsquot wait!!
So, I had them all over for a warm babka mid-afternoon snack. The funniest part was when I offered up some babka, they all thought I was saying vodka! Every time somebody new entered the conversation we&rsquod have to explain it again!
We enjoyed the babka at room temperature, but it was REALLY good still warm. The would make an excellent brunch item and we enjoyed it both as a dessert and mid-afternoon snack. It is certainly sweet, but not too sweet.
For some more Polish inspired recipes you should try kolacky, a Christmas tradition in my husband&rsquos family. Loaded pierogi are perfect as well. They are a bit of work, but totally worth it! And uncle Greg recommends golumpki.