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This is for Peter somewhere in Hungary

When I saw Marcy Goldman's complex babka recipe in “A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking”, I decided to look for the recipe on line, thinking someone may have cracked it by now. Well sure enough there were numerous postings of it, Gourmet magazine, and most of the Jewish bakers including Rose Levy Beranbaum paid homage to Goldman’s babka. Indeed it is not only a superb babka, Goldman’s babka is a work of art.

At first I wondered why there were so many versions of it; always the same babka, but with different fillings. To be honest; I was less than impressed with Goldman’s fillings. I found all were too sweet for my palate and the chocolate ganache lacked the intensity if you can believe it. I think the addition of cinnamon weakened the expected chocolate-ness of the babka. So I left out the cinnamon from the filling and added it to the crumb coating instead. It worked. There is still a cinnamon flavour and aroma but there is also an intense chocolate experience and with the two distinct flavours separated they seem to work in harmony. I figured that half of Goldman’s recipe would make a substantial sized babka, so I cut the ingredients in half. At the end of the post I am including Goldman’s original list of ingredients.

In yeast baking, letting the first rise go too long is counterproductive. So I barely let the dough double the first time around. This in turn can produce a much loftier and yet structurally sound second rising.

I buttered the bottom and the sides of a round spring form baking pan, which should have made it easy to remove the babka. But I had to cut around it with a blunt knife and muster all my skill to extract the babka from the pan. There is the possibility of chocolate oozing out or the crumb topping fusing to the side of the pan. So my advice is to fully line the pan with parchment paper and butter it as well.

3/4 cup water
1 Tbsp rapid rise instant yeast
pinch of sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 drop pure almond extract
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
3/8 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp milk powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter - softened in small pieces
1-1/2 cups bread flour
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour butter for greasing

1/2 cup sifted cocoa
1 Tbsp instant coffee granules
3/4 cup sugar
1 pkg. vanilla sugar
1/8 cup melted butter

l egg yolk

3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon

• In a large mixing bowl, whisk together water, yeast, and a pinch of sugar.
• Let stand about five minutes to allow yeast to swell and dissolve.
• Stir in the egg, egg yolk, vanilla, almond extract, lemon juice, sugar, salt and the milk powder. • Fold in the softened butter and flour.
• Mix the dough and then knead it as it becomes a mass [with a dough hook or by hand] for about 8 minutes. Dough will be very smooth and elastic.
• Place the dough in a well buttered bowl and place entire bowl and cover with a clean tea towel. • Allow to rise until for 45 minutes or until almost doubled in volume.
• Meanwhile line a large a 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper and generously butter the parchment.
• In a small bowl, combine the sifted cocoa, instant coffee granules, sugar and the vanilla sugar.
• Place the crumb topping ingredients in a small bowl and rub between the hands until well combined.
• On a lightly floured board, roll the dough into a rectangle.
• Spread the top with melted butter.
• Spread the cocoa mix all over the dough surface. Roll up in jelly roll style.
• Pinch the ends and place the rolled up dough in the prepared pan.
• Brush the top with egg yolk.
• Scatter the crumb coating over the top and set it to rise for 1.5 hours or until doubled in size.
• Preheat oven to 350 F.
• Bake the babka for 35-40 minutes or until medium brown in colour.
• Remove from the oven and place on the wire rack for 15 minutes.
• Remove babka from the baking pan and serve it on a platter.
• Yields 1 babka

Goldman’s original dough yields two babkas:
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons yeast
pinch sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 drops almond extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk powder
1 cup unsalted butter - softened in small pieces
3 cups white bread flour
3 cups all purpose flour



  1. Lovely yeast cake. I am surprised to see the name "babka" because in Poland there are dozens of different babka recipes (they are called babka or baba), but not a single one is similar. The cut slice looks more like the Polish version of strudel. You have made me start dreaming of yeast cakes... You know, I am still scared but I promised myself I will try something from your blog this year.

  2. Zsuzsa, I have been meaning to comment on your amazing posts, now...especially the most awesome and delicious Babka recipe, and photos, of it. I used to make it in a rectangle not have the recipe any more, so I do appreciate taking yours, and thank you!

    I also want to invite you to an Easter Menu Suggestion, originally by Hungarian bloggers. All you have to do is to gather up some of your favorite dishes, and desserts what you would prefer to put on you holiday table. Just link back to the recipe, and link to the blogger who invited you, and to link to the original food blogger who initiated this invite!

    I do hope you accept the invitation, as it is fun, and also others would enjoy seeing your suggestions, and recipes. Thanks for accepting...that is if you DO accept the invite, I think it would be awesome!

  3. What an extravagant bread, it looks absolutely wonderful, as usual! I love how the cocoa and cinnamon are flavouring the beautiful dough. I bet this was really enjoyed by the grand kiddies.

  4. Sissi, the Jewish kitchen is simply amazing. There are similarities in the Hungarian kitchen but the Jewish versions always win out and the babka versus the Hungarian cocoa loaf is no exception.

  5. Elisabeth thanks so much for the compliments and for your kind invitation. This is certainly an honour. I checked out your post and I am confused where I could post this menu. It is a good thing I don't have to cook anything fancy - this week Olivia will be spending a great deal of time with us - being it is spring break here in B.C. So there won’t be a lot of time left for making new things in the kitchen. We will be having a lot of breaded pork chops, pizza, hot dogs, and chocolate chip cookies in the course of the week. She is coming over at lunch time and she already called with her plans twice. My life is mapped out for the week it seems. :-) Isn’t it wonderful? I cherish every moment, because one of these days this too shall come to an end.

  6. Thanks Eva. I sliced into the babka while still hot; it is the last photo and look how great it was. And then 4 days later I had the last slice with my morning coffee. It was still amazingly good. Not many yeasted cakes are good even on the next day, but the babka was still wonderful 4 days later.

  7. Zsuzsa, My grandmother used to make a gorgeous bread similar to yours. Totally gorgeous! I would love to give this one a try! I think I will have to add it to my “to do list”!! It would be perfect for breakfast with a cup of tea!

  8. The only baba I am familiar with is the 'baba au rhum' which requires pricking and basting the hot yeast cake with sugar syrup infused with rum to produce a soft exterior. Regardless of what you call it, this cake is beautiful and well worth the effort to make it. Maybe one day... :)

  9. Zsuzsa, the more I keep watching your amazing Babka, and the awesome way it turned out...double checking the recipe, I really want to try this recipe. The recipe that I have does not have the cocoa inside it,and I do love the cocoa in the filling...although, my recipe has a nice streusel topping. It is an old Jewish recipe.

    Sorry for not replying sooner, re: the Easter Menu Suggestions...of course, you post it on your blog, using photos and a link to link back to that page for the recipe. Any type of dishes you have made in the past, or for last Easter, and of course side dishes as well, and desserts. Just be sure to mention who you received the invite from, and link in my food blog and name, and mention the original blogger who started it.

    Just pass it to 2 bloggers who you think would like to participate for this fun round-up. You can choose a Hungarian blogger as well, from Hungary...choice is yours! I am anxiously looking forward to see some of your amazing dishes featured. Thanks for participating:)

  10. Dear Zsuzsa! I would love to try this recipe but I have some qs for you. In Hungary we usually use gr/dkg not cups, can you help me out with this? Somewhere I read once if I use a cup lets use it the same for every item. Also every site show different meaurement for a cup. Is it a problem if I do not use powder yeast but real one? Thank you for the answer!

    1. Kedves Anett,

      A bogres meres a terfogaton alapszik. 1 evokanal gyorsan mukodo szaritott eleszto helyett hasznalj 3 evokanal [azaz 45 ml] friss elesztot. A bogres meres kulonbozik Eszak Amerikaban Angliaban es Ausztraliaban. En az Amerikai merest hasznalom. 1/2 bogre=120ml, 1/3 bogre=80ml, 1/4 bogre=60ml, 1/8 bogre=30ml, 1 evokanal=15ml, 1 teaskanal=5ml. Ebbol konnyen atszamithatod nem csak ezt a receptet, hanem barmelyik Eszak Amerikabol eredo receptet. Annyit meg hozzatennek, hogy a bogres meresnek pontosnak kell lennie, nem szabad semmit sem puposan merni. A lisztet fel bogrenkent kell merni, mivel a liszt lesullyed es igy aztan az egy bogreben tobb liszt van mint ket fel bogreben. Elengedhetetlen tehat egy merobogre. Ha nem jutsz hozza, akkor probald meg atvaltani a receptet gramra.--->

  11. Nagyon koszonom a valaszt, beszamolok az eredmenyrol!!!! Udvozlettel,




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