Polish Easy Easter Babka (Babka Wielkanocna) Recipe

Polish Easter Babka
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  • 75 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Yield: 1 (10-inch) Cake (Serves 12)
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Babka is a sweet Polish yeast bread similar to Italian panettone that can be made with rum-soaked raisins, and iced or left plain. It's an Easter favorite. 

Traditional babka is made with a staggering number of egg yolks. This recipe is lighter on the cholesterol load, requires no kneading and only takes one rise.

Babka, which literally means "grandmother" in Polish, probably got the name because its shape is reminiscent of an old woman's wide, swirling skirts. Here are more Eastern European babka recipes and Easter bread recipes across Eastern Europe.

What You'll Need

  • For the Cake:
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (no hotter than 110 degrees)
  • 6 ounces butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup scalded milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 large beaten room-temperature eggs
  • 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest (optional)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup light or dark raisins
  • Confectioners' sugar (optional)
  • For the Optional Icing:
  • 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon boiling water

How to Make It

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside. Place butter, sugar, and salt in a large bowl or stand mixer, and pour the scalded milk over it. Using the paddle attachment, mix until butter has melted and milk has cooled to 110 degrees or below. Mix in the vanilla and eggs. Add yeast and mix until well combined.
  2. Add the flour, lemon zest (if using), and raisins and mix thoroughly. The dough will be of a thick cake batter consistency.
  1. Heat oven to 350 F. Lightly coat a 10-inch babka pan, kugelhopf pan, Turk's head pan (turban pan), Bundt pan or tube pan with cooking spray. Pour batter into prepared pan and cover lightly with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk or until dough reaches the top of the pan but no higher.
  2. Bake about 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 190 degrees.
  3. Cool on a wire rack and dust with confectioners' sugar before serving or, when the cake is cool, drizzle with the optional icing made by whisking together confectioners' sugar, lemon juice, and boiling water.