Babka (cake)

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For other uses, see Babka.
Babovka, Kulich, Кулич
Baba wielkanocna z polewa czekoladowa.JPG
Easter babka
Alternative names Bobka, baba
Type Cake
Region or state Poland
Cookbook:Babovka, Kulich, Кулич  Babovka, Kulich, Кулич

Babka, or Bobka, also known as Kulich, Кулич, is a sweet yeast cake.

Christian version[edit]

Babka is a spongy, brioche-like yeast cake made mainly in Eastern Europe. It is traditionally baked for Easter Sunday in Poland, Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Albania, and for the major holidays (Christmas, Easter, New Year, Pentecost) in Romania. Traditionally it does not have any filling, and is glazed with a vanilla- or chocolate-flavored icing and decorated with almonds or candied fruit, sometimes with rum added.

Jewish version[edit]

See also: Rugelach
Chocolate babka, with streusel

Another version of babka is associated with the Eastern European Jewish tradition. This babka is made from a doubled and twisted length of yeast dough and is typically baked in a high loaf pan. Instead of a fruit filling the dough contains cinnamon and/or chocolate. The babka is usually topped with streusel. A similar cake called a kokosh is also popular in Jewish bakeries. Kokosh also comes in chocolate and cinnamon varieties, but it is lower and longer than babka, is not twisted, and not topped with streusel.

Babka of this style has become popular in North American cities with large Jewish populations, including Montreal, New York, Chicago, Miami, and Toronto.


The Polish and Belarusian noun babka and the Belarusian, Ukrainian, and Russian baba means "grandmother," and as applied to the pastry probably refer to its shape, a tall cylinder, sometimes with corrugations resembling a skirt’s pleats.[1] The name of the pastry entered the English language from Polish, via French, although "babka" is also sometimes used in its original sense ("grandmother"), especially among those of Eastern European descent.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

In the Seinfeld episode "The Dinner Party", Jerry and Elaine stop at "Schnitzer's Bakery" to purchase a chocolate babka but forget to take a number at the counter. As a result, a couple on their way to the same dinner party get ahead of them in line and purchase the last chocolate babka. Jerry and Elaine eventually resort to purchasing a cinnamon babka, which Elaine considers "a lesser babka" to which Jerry begs to differ.

See also[edit]