I’m calling this cheese babka Babka Serowa. I’m using the Polish name because this is the most common style of babka I’ve seen in recipes that are written in Polish. In this case, the cheese is mixed in with all of the other ingredients.
More common in the United States, is the Cheese Babka I posted yesterday, the sweetened cheese filling becomes a ribbon running through the yeast dough. That’s another difference. In the recipes written in Polish, the leavening is baking powder.
Yeast or Baking Powder
Both styles of cakes are rightly called babka. The recipes with baking powder are newer. While it’s our most common cake leavening in modern recipes, baking powder has only been around for about 150 years. Before that, all cakes were made with yeast. The name has less to do with the leavening and more to do with the shape of the pan.
Bundt Pan or Loaf Pan
Babka comes from the shape of the pan. Traditionally babkas are baked in bundt pans. The name is derived from the Polish word for grandmother. The shape of the bundt pan resembles the long full skirt a grandmother would have worn.
Today, babkas are also seen in loaf pans. Generally, a recipe that calls for a bundt pan (typically 8 – 10 cups capacity) will make 2 8×4 or 9×5 loaf pans. It gives you the option to share easily.
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Easy Release from Bundt Pan
Baking in a bundt pan has always been a nightmare for me. I always had a piece of cake that stuck to the pan ruining the perfectly smooth, geometric silhouette of my cake as I turned it out, even with non-stick coatings on the pan. It’s not like you can line a bundt pan with parchment papers, my usual remedy for things that stick. Then I discovered the Polish trick to assure your cake releases perfectly. Grease the pan, and sprinkle it with unseasoned dried bread crumbs. It works every time.
Another thing that’s different about this version of a cheese babka, it’s so much quicker to make. You can whip it up and have it in the oven in just a few minutes. That is always a big plus in my book.
You can make this with a mixer, or with a wooden spoon and a lot of effort. I choose a food processor because I like to process the farmer’s cheese for a minute before adding it to a recipe.
It’s probably because I didn’t grow up eating Twarog, but I find the texture a little gritty. It’s true of the farmer’s cheese I buy in the USA, the farmer’s cheese that I made, and the things made with farmer’s cheese that I ate in Poland. So I do blitz it to smooth it out a bit. The thing to remember is once you add the flour only process enough to combine. Over mixing with make your cake tough.
This recipe comes from the lovely Polish food blog, Przepis Joli or Joli Recipes. I hope you’ll enjoy it.
- Prep Time: 15 min
- Cook Time: 75min
- Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- Category: Desserts
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Polish
A moist, citrus scented, poundcake-like cheese babka
all ingredients should be at room temperature
- 8 ounces farmer’s cheese orTwaróg
- 14 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 tablespoons milk (you might not use it all)
- Preheat overn to 325 F
- In a mixing bowl or a food processor, mix/process the farmer’s cheese until smooth. Mix in 14 tablespoons butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Add the flour, citrus zest and baking powder mixing only until combined. Over mixing once you’ve added the flour will make for a tough cake.
- Transfer the batter to an 8 or 9-inch loaf pan that you have greased or lined with parchment paper. Bake for 60 – 75 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. The internal temperature will be 203-205 degrees. Cool.
- With a fork or a small whisk, mix the powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon butter, and just enough milk to give you a glaze that is thick, but will run down the sides a bit. Spread over the top of the cooled loaf.
Keywords: Cheese Babka Serowa
An accountant by trade and a food blogger since 2009, Lois Britton fell in love with Polish cuisine during the years she lived in Poznań, Poland. As the creator of PolishHousewife.com, she loves connecting readers with traditional Polish recipes. Lois has a graduate certificate in Food Writing and Photography from the University of South Florida. She is the author of The Polish Housewife Cookbook, available on Amazon and on her website.
Can this be made with ricotta cheese as I only see farmer’s cheese once in a rare while?
Yes, I think that would be fine!
If you use a food processor, can you mix all the ingredients in the food processor by pulsing? Or is the cheese post in the food processor and then you transfer it to a large bowl to add the other ingredients?
How is the butter divided? I assume you only need a small amount for the topping
14 tablespoons of butter go in the cake batter. 1 tablespoon goes in the topping.
are you adding whole eggs ?
Can’t wait to try it!
do i have to double recipe if i want to bake in bundt pan?
Hi Jennifer, it really depends on the size of your bundt pan. There are so many options. You could probably use a 7 or 8-inch bundt pan with a single recipe. A larger bundt, 10 inches, would call for a double recipe.
Much better than your traditional dry yeast babka. I also added some orange zest to the icing. Great recipe. Thank you.
Could I use Philly cream cheese?
You can, Shirley, it will be a little different, but still delicious.
Can I use regular processed cheese.. Am from India
I would try to use a farmer’s cheese. If that’s not available, a ricotta or cream cheese.