Traditional Polish Sweet Bread (Babka)

This dessert, a cross between cake and sweet bread, is often baked for Easter.

3 (1/4 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter or margarine
6 eggs
3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon plus 1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
About 7 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 egg whites
1 1/2 cups milk

1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled

Grease side and bottom of 2 (10-inch) tube pans. Prepare Topping; set aside.

In a shallow, medium bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 cup flour; stir to combine. Cover; let stand in a warm place 5 to 10 minutes until foamy.

Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan until melted. Let stand until mixture cools to warm.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, egg yolks and remaining 1 cup sugar until pale and frothy. Add cooled milk mixture, salt and yeast mixture. Beat until smooth. Gradually beat in 4 1/2 cups flour. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead dough into a soft, smooth dough. Divide dough in 1/2. Arrange 1 part dough in each greased pan. Cover with a damp cloth; let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly beat 2 egg whites in a small bowl until foamy. Brush beaten egg whites on top of dough. Evenly sprinkle Topping over dough. Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans 3 to 4 minutes on racks.

Turn out of pans; cool completely on racks. Frost with confectioners? sugar icing, if desired.

Makes 2 (10-inch) cakes.


In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles crumbs.

Confectioners? Sugar Icing
2 egg whites
1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners? sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until frothy. Gradually add confectioners? sugar, beating constantly. Beat 10 minutes or until glossy.

Add lemon juice; beat 2 minutes or until icing stands up in soft peaks. Makes about 1 1/4 cups icing.

Add food coloring or flavorings, such as 1 teaspoon sifted unsweetened cocoa powder or vanilla extract. Use a little more sugar if liquids are added.

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