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