Sunday, December 6, 2015
Aunt Rei's Babka
Aunt Rei's Babka is really a modern coffee cake, not the lush yeast-risen pastry that we associate with babka today. Not that there's anything wrong with that! It is still rich and very delicious (and easier and quicker to make). This recipe is courtesy of my friend and work colleague Diane whose extended family compiled their favorite recipes in a digital family cookbook.
I made this twice. The first time, I brought a piece to Diane who, upon tasting, shook her head. It wasn't right. For one thing, the texture was too dry. She checked the recipe against the original handwritten card, and there were no discrepancies. So I made it again, reducing the baking time by 30 percent. And this time, Diane gave her approval. Everyone's oven is different and mine obviously runs hotter than Aunt Rei's.
The batter is easy to prepare. The challenge is putting it together -- layering the batter with the filling. The recipe calls for five layers; you can see I was able to achieve only three.
The first layer of batter and filling.
The cake, released from the pan.
Production notes: Do not overbake! Despite the recipe instructions, start checking the cake at the 35 minute mark. Also, use a 10-inch tube pan. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly. Make sure the butter is at room temperature before beginning.