Amy Penn, Writer

These cakes, also known as krantz cakes or yeasted cakes, are a little complicated and time consuming to make but are totally worth it. Layers of thin dough with a yummy filling in between each layer, make it so delicious and fun to eat. 


Babka originated from eastern and central Europe in the 19th century. Babka used to only be found in Jewish bakeries and homes however, recently, babka has been all over the place. On the internet, in food blogs, in regular everyday bakeries or grocery stores. Babka started when Jews took leftover challah and twisted it and put fillings like nuts, poppy seeds, and cinnamon sugar streusel in it to create a babka. The chocolate wasn’t added into the babka until the Jews came to New York where chocolate became more affordable and easier to access. The word “babka” means “grandmother” which is referring to the grandmothers who made the babka out of leftover challah. 


Babka is typically made with a sweet dough using yeast. The dough normally has to rise many times, but after the dough is rolled out and the filling is spread on. You can use a chocolate filling, a cinnamon filling, a seed filling, a nut filling, or anything that you would like. The dough is then rolled into a tight roll. This creates the spiral look on the inside of the babka. The roll is then cut in half the long way. Moving quickly, you have to twist the two pieces of dough together. This creates the striped top of the babka. It is then placed in a loaf pan and baked. As soon as the babka is out of the oven, you pour a sugar water glaze over the cake to create a shiny, glossy look. Usually, you then top it with a streusel but the streusel is optional. 


Another version of this babka is the Polish version. It is very similar and uses the same techniques however, it is a bit simpler. The Polish dough is made with dried fruits that have been soaked in wine or rum. The dough rises just like the other version but then placed in a bundt pan to bake. The Polish version is normally left plain, topped with a glaze, or dusted with powdered sugar. 


Both versions are very delicious and fun to make. You will definitely enjoy any type of babka!