Polish Rum-Soaked Babka Recipe, Ponczowa

Babka (Easter cake, Poland) on an Easter table
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  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Rising: 60 mins
  • Yield: 1 Babka (12 Servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
347 Calories
15g Fat
46g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 Babka (12 Servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 347
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 20%
Saturated Fat 8g 41%
Cholesterol 105mg 35%
Sodium 300mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 46g 17%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Protein 5g
Calcium 73mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This recipe for Polish babka, a sweet yeast bread that is popular for Easter, is soaked with a rum syrup when it is cool. 


  • Sponge:
  • 1 cup milk (warm, no hotter than 110 degrees)
  • 2 packages/4 1/2 teaspoons yeast (active dry)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour (all-purpose)
  • Batter:
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 11 tablespoons butter (1 stick + 3 tablespoons, melted and cooled)
  • 2 3/4 cups flour (all-purpose)
  • Rum Syrup:
  • 1 cup water
  • 7 ounces / 200 g sugar (superfine)
  • 1 tablespoon zest (lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (1 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup dark rum

Steps to Make It

  1. To make the sponge: Heat the milk. Add yeast, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon flour and mix with a fork. Set aside in a warm place to become foamy, about 15 minutes.

  2. To make the batter: In a separate bowl, whip together eggs, 1 cup of sugar and a pinch of salt for about 3 minutes. Add the melted and cooled butter and yeast mixture, combining well. Add 2 3/4 cups flour and, using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer or the regular beaters on a hand-held mixer, beat until well combined, about 5 minutes. The dough will be loose. Scrape down the sides. Cover and let rise in the same bowl in a warm place for 30 minutes.

  3. To bake: Place rack in the middle of oven and heat to 325 degrees. Coat a large babka pan or 10-inch Bundt pan (or 2 smaller pans) with cooking spray and fill with batter. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes. Bake 30 minutes. Allow to cool 15 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

  4. To make the rum syrup: Boil 1 cup water with superfine sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice. When sugar is completely dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the rum. Poke holes all over the cake with a toothpick and saturate the cake with the rum syrup. Decorate with jelly beans or other candy Easter eggs.