Baba is an Easter special for Poles. It’s is a tall, airy yeast cake with a hole in the middle, baked in a Bundt pan. The name is derived from the word ‘grandmother’, which might refer to its shape: like a grandmother’s wide, pleated skirt. My baba is ultra-buttery, as light as a feather, and topped with a snow-white lemony glaze that makes the streusel stick to it better, forming a golden crown on the top.
Polish Easter Yeasted Baba with Lemony Glaze and Buttery Streusel
9-inch Bundt pan
2 ½ cups (300 g) all-purpose flour or bread flour
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon sugar (60 g)
1 package (7 g) instant yeast
¼ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup (80 ml) milk
150 g cold butter (1 stick + 2 tablespoons)
3 tablespoons (50 g) butter
¼ cup (50 g) sugar
¾ cup (100 g) all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cup (150 g) powdered sugar
4 – 5 tablespoons lemon juice
1. To make the dough, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the eggs and milk. Mix on medium speed for 5 minutes, or until well combined.
2. Pound the butter with a rolling pin to soften (butter should be malleable but still cold). Kneading the dough on medium speed, slowly start adding the butter, a piece at a time. The whole process will take around 10 to 15 minutes. Note that the dough may not be silky and elastic due to a huge amount of butter, but that’s fine! Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight, or alternatively if you’re in a hurry, let sit in room temperature until the dough has tripled in volume, about 2 hours.
3. Next day, place the dough in a warm place, let sit for 30 minutes. Transfer the dough to a buttered and floured Bundt pan and let sit for about 1 hour. Heat the oven to 180 C (350 F).
4. Bake the cake for 25 minutes, until a toothpick or long skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven, and gently loosen its edges using a heatproof spatula. Turn the pan over onto a cooling rack. After 10 minutes, lift the pan off the cake, and allow it to cool completely. Do not turn off the oven.
5. Meanwhile, make the streusel topping. Whisk together the flour and sugar. Add the butter, then use your fingers to rub it into the flour to make a light bread-crumb texture. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or until firm. Transfer it to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, until golden brown. Let it cool.
6. To make the glaze, heat the lemon juice in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from the heat, then stir in the powdered sugar until combined. Drizzle the glaze over the cake; top with the streusel. Serves with your favorite preserves.
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