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Polish Lemon Babka

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   If bread and cake got together, fell in love and had a baby… this would be it!  It is a yeast bread that is just sweet enough and almost has the texture of a traditional cake.  It is amazing that this Polish babka even works the way it does.

close ring of glazed lemon babka with a slice missing

     This cake is a must make.  It is an Easter tradition for many Polish families.  It is a no knead enriched yeast bread that soaks up a river of syrupy lemon goodness.  The final result is soft and flavorful, perfect with a cup of coffee at Easter brunch.  So go ahead and pour yourself a mug of steaming coffee and grab a slice, let’s sit down and enjoy it together.

    The dough is very loose for a bread dough.  It is more like a thick batter.  You beat it in your mixer just enough to give the gluten a nudge, but not so much that you get chew in your final texture.

stages of babka dough throughout the proofing and baking process

    Then after two long rests (that hardly yield any rising results) you throw the whole thing in the oven and wish for best.  Soak it in syrup, toss on a little glaze and holy moly!

drizzling syrup on the babka in bund pan

    Babka is the Polish word for grandmother and it seems that everyone’s grandmother made it just a bit differently.  If you look around there are so many variations.  I can’t speak for the rest, but this one is worth making!

glazing the finished babka

 I made this to bring to Nana and Mike’s house.  They were having us over for a pre-Easter dinner and I thought this would be fun to share with them.  

I glazed it while it was still warm and cut a slice for a picture.  I couldn’t wait!!  

finished babka ring

So, I had them all over for a warm babka mid-afternoon snack.  The funniest part was when I offered up some babka, they all thought I was saying vodka!  Every time somebody new entered the conversation we’d have to explain it again!

We enjoyed the babka at room temperature, but it was REALLY good still warm.  The would make an excellent brunch item and we enjoyed it both as a dessert and mid-afternoon snack.  It is certainly sweet, but not too sweet.  

slice of babka with fork

For some more Polish inspired recipes you should try kolacky, a Christmas tradition in my husband’s family.  Loaded pierogi are perfect as well. They are a bit of work, but totally worth it! And uncle Greg recommends golumpki

Yield: 16 Servings

Polish Lemon Babka

glazed lemon babka baked in bundt pan with slice missing showing soft yellow interior

This cake is a must make. It is an Easter tradition for many Polish families. It is a no knead enriched yeast bread that soaks up a river of syrupy lemon goodness. The final result is soft and flavorful, perfect with a cup of coffee at Easter brunch. So go ahead and pour yourself a mug of steaming coffee and grab a slice, let’s sit down and enjoy it together.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup raisins, soaked in warm water for at least a half hour and then drained*

Syrup

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract

Glaze

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Instructions

  1. In your stand mixer bowl, mix together milk, eggs, yeast and flour with your paddle
  2. Add flour, butter sugar and salt. Mix on low until blended and then on high for two minutes
  3. Fold in the raisins
  4. Cover and let sit for an hour. There won’t be much of a noticeable rise, that is ok
  5. Dump into a greased bundt pan and spread evenly around. Cover and let sit for another half hour. There will be a slight rise, but not huge (notice the pictures above)
  6. Bake in a preheated oven at 350° F for about 30 minutes
  7. While bread is baking, make the syrup. Bring the sugar and water to a boil and cook until all of the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the extract
  8. When bread is done, remove from oven and pierce with a skewer or fork. Pour syrup over the top and let sit for 20 minutes to soak into the babka
  9. Invert your bundt pan on to a serving dish
  10. Mix together powdered sugar, milk and extract for the glaze. Drizzle over the top

Notes

A friend has made this recipe with dried cherries and said that was fabulous. Feel free to sub in dried cranberries or other fruits for the raisins as well!

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 168Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 109mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 1gSugar: 16gProtein: 4g

All nutritional information is estimated and will depend on the exact ingredients you use.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to see it! Share a picture on Instagram or Pinterest and tag me @carleecooks to let me know how it went!

     This cake is a must make.  It is an Easter tradition for many Polish families.  It is a no knead enriched yeast bread that soaks up a river of syrupy lemon goodness.  The final result is soft and flavorful, perfect with a cup of coffee at Easter brunch.

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Sam Monaco

Saturday 9th of February 2019

Oh my, how did I ever miss this? We make our Ester bread every year and this looks like a perfect addition for the Easter table. This will be a must try for me, Thanks for the recipe Carlee :)

Carlee

Tuesday 12th of February 2019

It's a good one. You'll have to let me know what you think if you make it!

Unknown

Saturday 31st of March 2018

My glaze does not seem thick enough as it's not turning white. I followed the instructions to a tee. Any thoughts?

Carlee

Sunday 1st of April 2018

Maybe stir in a little more powdered sugar? Depending on what kind of milk you use the proportions may be a little different.

Unknown

Saturday 31st of March 2018

My glaze doesn't seem thick enough or something as it's not turning white. I followed the instructions to a tee. Any thoughts?

Val

Monday 19th of March 2018

This looks like such a beautiful spring cake. Thanks for linking up to the Celebrate 365 Blog Party!

Carlee

Sunday 1st of April 2018

Thank you!

A Day in the Life on the Farm

Thursday 15th of March 2018

Hi Carlee, I posted my version of this recipe today on my blog. It was amazing. Thanks so much for the recipe. You can find my post at https://adayinthelifeonthefarm.blogspot.com/2018/03/lemon-cherry-babka-bundtbakers.html

Carlee

Sunday 1st of April 2018

It looks soooo good! Thanks, Wendy!