|Alternative names||Bobka, baba, bábovka|
|Region or state||Israel, Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Romania|
The Polish and Belarusian noun babka and the Belarusian, Ukrainian, Macedonian, Bulgarian and Russian baba means "grandmother" or "old woman", 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 English from Polish, via French, although "babka" is also sometimes used in its original sense ("grandmother"), especially among those of Central and Eastern European descent.
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. Immigrants brought this dish, also known as Krantz cake, to New York where its popularity flourished.
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. Cakes of these styles are typically, but not universally, considered couronnes baked in loaf pans, rather than babkas. Kokosh has become popular in North American cities with large Jewish populations, including Montreal, New York, Chicago, Miami, and Toronto.
Soviet-Bloc Jews also refer to babka as a kind of fried spaghetti cake, made with eggs, salt, pepper, and thinly sliced onion. Other cultures may refer to this as noodle kugel or Lokshen.
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