Monday, 17 April 2017

Polish Babka

Polish fruity babka with lemon icing for Easter

Here's a cake/bread I made for Easter :) Babka is a traditional Polish bread served at Easter time, and there are so many varieties, it was difficult to find a consistent recipe. I finally found one I liked however, and it turned out pretty yummy :) This babka is like a fruity sweet bread, topped with lemon icing. It reminds me a little of hot cross buns in taste and texture, and makes a nice centrepiece to an afternoon tea.
I used a 23cm circular bundt tin, like the one pictured below:

The bread/cake was really easy to prepare, and it requires NO kneading :) Just make sure to give plenty of time for the dough to rise. If you have time, for the best flavour, cover the dough in clingfilm and place in the fridge overnight. In the morning, bring the dough to room temperature for around an hour, before baking. As a minimum, leave the dough to prove for 2 hours.

Makes one 23cm cake (easily serves 12)


For the cake:

  • 500g (2 cups) plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 sachets instant dried yeast (7g)
  • 90g (1/3 cups) granulated sugar
  • 90g (1/3 cup) softened unsalted butter
  • 120ml (1/2 cup) milk
  • 150g (1/2 cup) mixed dried fruits (I used raisins, sultanas and mixed candied peel)
  • 1 lemon, zested finely
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice

For the icing:

  • 175g (2/3 cup) icing sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp lemon juice
  • yellow food colouring (I used Wilton concentrated food gel)


1. In a large mixing bowl, pour in the flour. To opposite sides of the bowl add the yeast and the salt (so that they do not touch). Briefly stir the flour mixture to evenly distribute the salt and yeast.

2. Heat the milk and butter in a saucepan until the butter has melted and the milk is bubbling. Set aside to cool to a tepid temperature (when it feels warm to your finger rather than hot).

3. To the flour, add the sugar, lemon zest, eggs, vanilla and other spices. Slowly add the milk/butter and beat with a wooden spoon until a dough is formed (there is no need to knead the dough). 

4. Lightly grease a bundt tin, and tip in the dough (it wants to be about 1/3 full). Cover with cling film, and set aside for at least 2 hours or until it has doubled in size.

5. Preheat the oven to 180c (160c fan)/350f/ gas mark 4. Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is brown and a skewer inserted into the centre of the bread comes out clean. If the bread browns too quickly, cover with foil to finish baking.

6. To make the icing, sift the sugar into a bowl and add the lemon juice. Stir until all of the sugar has been absorbed - you want the icing to be bright white and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and slowly drop of the spoon.

7. Set aside a few tablespoons of icing, and colour yellow.

8. Once cool, turn the cake out onto the presentation dish. Spread the white icing over the top of the cake, allowing it to slightly drip down the sides of the cake.

9. Pour the yellow icing into a piping bag. Pipe thin yellow lines over the cake. Wait for the icing to set.

10. Enjoy!

This bread is nicest eaten the day it's baked, or it can be frozen before icing.

Polish fruity babka with lemon icing for Easter

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