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Donek’s Babka

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Eight years ago I was living in Poland and my old friend Donek gave me recipe for a babka that he assured me would be delicious. Promptly, I tried out the recipe and, sure enough, it was it was everything Donek had promised. I shared the recipe with a few people and in a casual way referred to it as Donek’s Babka. I had simply written down the recipe and attached the most convenient label for the sake of memory.

Six years later, I was now living in Canada. I continued to stay in touch with my friends in Poland as much as was possible via the internet. One day I received a call from a friend who simply started the conversation with how she had discovered a fabulous recipe for a babka. Breathlessly, she described it as Donek’s Babka — but she had no idea it could have been the Donek that we both knew. Donek is a rare name in Poland, but I guess there was an established quality to the recipe that made her doubt it could have been created by someone she knew. We laughed and thought that perhaps one day it would be famous, published in a book or featured on some celebrity chef show, and no one would be sure who Donek was and how it had all started.

This is, I suppose, my small way to add to that story. I will share Donek’s Babka with you, and one day, who knows…

Ingredients

* 5 eggs
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 2 cups flour
* 1 (15 gm) packet vanilla sugar
* 3 tsp. baking soda
* 1 cup corn oil
* 1 cup ginger soda

* 1 Tbsp. extract of malt
* 2 Tbsp. cacao

Preparation

Run the flour through a sieve to ensure that its consistency is smooth and then set it aside.

Separate the eggs into whites and yolks in two bowls. Proceed to whisk the egg yolks and then the egg whites into a froth. This will require thorough continuous mixing for a few minutes. While continuing to beat the egg whites, gradually add the flour. Then, add the egg yolk, which you have already whisked, to the egg white and flour mixture. Continue to add the flour and mix.

Now add the packet of vanilla sugar and mix. Add the cup of corn oil, continue mixing, and add the two tablespoons of malt extract. Finally, add the cup of ginger soda drink and mix the whole thing until a good consistency is achieved.

The essential mixture is ready now and should be separated into two equal portions in two bowls. To the first bowl add two tablespoons of flour. This will be the light half of the babka. To the second bowl add two tablespoons of cacao. This will be the darker colored portion of the babka.

At this point it is important to have a babka mold into which the mixtures will be poured. The mold will give the babka its characteristic shape.

Pour the light-colored mixture into the cake mold and then add the dark mixture.

Now with both mixtures together, gently use a stick to make a swirl into the mix, a gentle circular stir of the contents of the babka mixture two or three times. This will introduce a nice swirl into the appearance of the final cake.

Preheat an oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the babka in the oven and allow it to bake for approximately 40 minutes. At this point it is good to be vigilant. Cooking time can vary depending on the stove. To check if the babka is ready, insert a stick into the cake and withdraw it. If there is cake mixture stuck to the stick when it is withdrawn that means that the cake is not yet ready and should be left in the oven a little longer.

There you have it. Donek’s Babka. I hope you enjoy it.

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About Kasia Lanucha