Ponczowa: Polish Rum-Soaked Babka Recipe

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 similar to a French rum baba and is soaked with a rum syrup when it is cool. 

Ingredients

  • Sponge:
  • 1 cup milk (warm, no hotter than 110 F)
  • 2 (1/4-ounce) packages/4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 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 grams superfine sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (1 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup dark rum

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this babka dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and baking.

Make the Sponge

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Heat the milk. Add yeast, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon flour and mix with a fork.

  3. Set aside in a warm place to become foamy, about 15 minutes.

Make the Batter

  1. In a separate bowl, whip together eggs, 1 cup of sugar and a pinch of salt for about 3 minutes.

  2. Add the melted and cooled butter and yeast mixture, combining well.

  3. 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.

  4. Cover and let rise in the same bowl in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Bake the Babka

  1. Place rack in the middle of oven and heat to 325 F. Coat a large babka pan or 10-inch Bundt pan (or 2 smaller pans) with cooking spray and fill with batter.

  2. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.

  3. Bake 30 minutes.

  4. Allow to cool 15 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the Rum Syrup

  1. Boil 1 cup water with superfine sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice.

  2. When sugar is completely dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the rum.

  3. Poke holes all over the cake with a toothpick and saturate the cake with the rum syrup.

  4. Decorate with jelly beans or other candy Easter eggs.

  5. Enjoy!