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Polish Easter babka glazed with icing on a black cooling rack.
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4 from 3 votes

Polish Easter Babka (Babka Wielkanocna)

Polish Easter Babka (Babka Wielkanocna) is a rich yeast-based bundt cake filled with raisins and glazed with icing. It's delicate, moist, and rich, almost like a brioche. This sweet raisin bread would be great for any occasion - it's absolutely amazing!
Course Dessert
Cuisine polish
Diet Vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
rising time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 1 babka
Calories 478kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

for the babka:

  • 1 cup raisins 150g
  • 2 tablespoons rum or brandy
  • 3/4 cup milk 180g
  • 13 tablespoons butter 185g, divided, 8T melted+5T soft
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (150g), divided, 1/4 + 1/2 cup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon instant yeast 11g
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 5 cups (625g) flour spooned and leveled not scooped

for the glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar 180g
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 tablespoon water

Instructions

  • Add the raisins and rum into a small bowl. Stir the raising with rum for a minute so they absorb as much rum as possible then pour boiling water over to cover the raisins. Set aside.
  • Add 8 tablespoons butter (115g) into a medium saucepan and heat until melted. Add the cold milk, vanilla extract, and 1/4 cup of sugar (50g, you can just eyeball it), stir until combined, then take the pot off the heat. Pour the mixture into a medium bowl, make sure the temperature of the liquid is between 100-110°F (38-43°C) (pleasantly warm to your finger, it can't be too hot) then stir in the yeast (adding yeast into a warm liquid will make them rise faster). After about 1-2 minutes you should see the yeast is starting to 'bloom' (will be frothy/foamy).
  • Add the eggs, egg yolks, lemon and orange zest, and the remaining sugar (1/2 cup=100g) into a large bowl. Whisk until well combined. Add the salt, flour, the yeast mixture, and drained raisins.
  • Stir with a spoon until roughly combined then start kneading by hand or with a stand mixer using a dough hook attachment. Knead the dough until it has come together and it's smooth (for about 7 minutes on speed 2 in KitchenAid), then slowly add the remaining 5 tablespoons of very soft butter. Add one tablespoon and knead the dough until the butter is incorporated, then add another tablespoon and repeat the process (it took me 6 minutes on speed 2 in the Kitchen Aid). If you're kneading the dough by hand, it will take a little bit longer.
  • The dough will be loose, soft and a little bit sticky. Scrape the dough from the sides of the bowl with a spatula and knead it by hand for a minute. After this time the dough should be smooth, soft, and should no longer stick to your hands (it will be oily and loose). If you have used a kitchen scale to measure out the flour you can trust the recipe and use the exact amount written in the ingredient list but if you’re using measuring cups you have to assess the texture of the dough and add more flour/liquid if necessary.
  • First rise: Form a smooth dough ball, put it back in the bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic foil, and place in a warm place for about 1 3/4 hours or until doubled in volume (I'm putting it in a turned off oven with a light on).
  • Grease a 10 or 12-cup bundt pan generously with soft butter (I used a 10 cup /25 cm (measured at the top) bundt cake pan).
  • Second rise: Take the risen dough out of the bowl and knead it for 30 seconds. Stretch the dough into a log then pinch thoroughly both ends together. Place it in the bundt pan. Wrap tightly with plastic foil and let rise for 30-40 minutes or until the dough reaches the top of the pan.
  • Place the baking rack on the lowest position (the babka will be quite tall). Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Bake the babka for 40 minutes (if you have used a larger baking pan and your cake is not as tall as mine, you might have to bake it for a shorter period of time).
  • Invert the cake on a cooling rack and let cool completely (it will take about 45 minutes-1 hour).
  • When the babka is cooled, make the glaze by whisking powdered sugar with lemon juice and water until thick glaze forms.
  • Pour the glaze over the babka. Let the glaze set a bit then cut the babka into servings with a serrated knife.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Keep this babka tightly wrapped in plastic foil. It will be good for even 5 days but a little bit dryer. It can also be frozen.
  • How to measure flour: I’m using the “spoon and level method” so 1 cup of flour in my recipes weighs 125g. Fluff the flour by stirring it in the bag/flour container with a spoon. Spoon the flour and sprinkle it into your measuring cup. Sweep off the excess flour with the back of a knife. I really recommend using a digital scale for measuring flour for perfect and consistent results!
  • Some troubleshooting:
  • Make sure the milk-butter-sugar liquid is not too hot, or you will kill the yeast (the dough won't rise). There is no way to salvage the dough if the yeast has been killed. On the other hand, the liquid must be warm enough or it will take longer for the dough to rise.
  • If the dough hasn't risen for 2-3 hours and you're sure you've not killed the yeast, you can put it in the fridge overnight to rise (it may just need more time to rise, this can happen if the butter-milk liquid was not hot enough or if you have not used enough yeast). Do not bake a dough that has not risen.
  • Calories = 1 serving (1/12 of the recipe). This is only an estimate!

Nutrition

Calories: 478kcal