Here is a delicious Babka cake I made a few days ago. After doing some research on the MANY different varieties and recipes for this fabulous cake, I found the best recipe on Cooks.com. I also played around with a wonderful recipe in one of my cook books but it used shortening as well as asked that you let the dough rise for 6 hours. I hate shortening and am always short on time!
Note to all who are in a time crunch. This would NOT be the bread/cake for you! This is one of those “old school” European recipes where you have to assume that the people who made this, spent the entire day in the kitchen making a plethora of other food for hours and hours! For instance, you have to knead the dough for 1/2 hour by hand and as I mentioned above, let it rise for 6 hours!
So I cheated a little bit. I found a great recipe on cooks.com which used butter and only required that you let the dough rise for about 2 hours. This recipe also asks you to knead the dough, by hand, for 1/2 hour, but I only did it for about 10 minutes.
The above photo was of my successful Babka Cake. The only thing I did differently was that I used Figs instead of raisins. Next time, I’ll use raisins since I think they will make the cake a bit sweeter.
5-6 cups of flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cake yeast (or 1 package of active dry yeast)
1/2 cups warm water (104-115°F)
3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 lb. butter
3/4 cups golden raisins or 1 package of figs.
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
In a saucepan, heat milk. Add butter and heat until the butter is melted. Pour into a large bowl. Stir in sugar and salt. Allow to cool to lukewarm.
Crumble (or stir) yeast into warm water until yeast is dissolved. Let sit approximately 5 minutes. Add to cooled milk.
Stir in eggs and vanilla. Gradually add flour and knead dough in bowl (for approximately 1/2 hour if done by hand) until dough no longer sticks to hands. Add raisins and knead into dough.
Note: We used the kneading attachment of an electric mixer for 12 minutes.
Cover with a clean towel and let rise a in warm place, free from draft until doubled (approximately 1 hour).
Punch down dough. Cover and let rise again. Punch down again.
Divide dough in half and put into 2 greased 9×5 inch bread pans or 1 angel food cake pan (without tube) for a large traditional bread.
Mix 1 egg yolk and 2 tablespoons water. Brush top of bread with mixture and let rise uncovered in a warm place until doubled.
Bake at 350°F 30-35 minutes for 9×5 inch pans or 40-50 minutes for large pan, or until bread is golden and loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
This is a traditional Polish bread recipe that is served during the Easter and Christmas Holidays.