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.
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.
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!
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!
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!!
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.
It is certainly sweet, but not too sweet.
Is babka served warm or cold?
Babka is best served warm or at room temperature. It should not be refrigerated. It will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days. For longer storage, you can freeze it.
What if I don’t like raisins?
You can leave them out if you would like, but I would recommend using another dried fruit instead. Dried cherries, cranberries or blueberries would be delicious.
Did you make this great recipe? Please leave a review in the recipe card below!
Polish Lemon Babka
- ½ cup warm milk
- 3 eggs room temperature
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup butter softened
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup raisins soaked in warm water for at least a half hour and then drained*
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 2 Tablespoon milk
- ½ teaspoon lemon extract
- In your stand mixer bowl, mix together milk, eggs, yeast and flour with your paddle
- Add flour, butter sugar and salt. Mix on low until blended and then on high for two minutes
- Fold in the raisins
- Cover and let sit for an hour. There won’t be much of a noticeable rise, that is ok
- 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)
- Bake in a preheated oven at 350° F for about 30 minutes
- 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
- 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
- Invert your bundt pan on to a serving dish
- Mix together powdered sugar, milk and extract for the glaze. Drizzle over the top