Much has changed since our first babka survey of New York five years ago, and there are more ambitious contenders for the Best Babka crown than ever before. Here are our votes on the best.
'babka' on Serious Eats
Babka is a delicious bundt-shaped, yeast-risen coffee cake from Eastern Europe. Pronounced "bahb-ka", the word means "grandmother" in Polish, which is perfectly fitting for this plump and comforting sweet bread. Babka is typically filled with swirls of either cinnamon, nuts, or chocolate (my favorite of course).
This is as fuss-free a babka as you can get. But you wouldn't know from the results— the dough bakes up into a buttery, cardamon and cinnamon scented loaf rolled around a chocolate filling.
One of the Silver Bell Bakery's customers is so addicted that every week he drives 10 hours round-trip from Saratoga Springs just to get his bread. By the end of the summer, Silver Bell is going to move out to the suburbs, following its customer base. So get it while you can.
The layers of cakey bread, cinnamon, and chocolate meld into an easy, tasty bread pudding that would be perfect with a dollop of whipped cream.
We traveled all over New York City to find the best babka—to markets, delis, bakeries, and even the largest babka bakery in the country, located in Brooklyn. Check out our results.
Last week we asked: What Babka Flavor Do You Prefer: Cinnamon vs. Chocolate? The winner was, no big surprises, chocolate. I guess Elaine Benes was right--cinnamon is the lesser babka. Thanks for participating in our poll!
Chocolate babka. Though cinnamon doesn't look that much different. [Photograph: Robyn Lee] Babka, the dessert loaf that's too sweet to be considered a "bread" and too bready to be in the same family as cakes and pies, is a wonderful identity crisis. It's filled with swirly layers of gooey business, either chocolate or cinnamon. But is one flavor more beloved? Though I could probably pin down a nice, knowledgeable bubbe for answers, let's see what you think. Something tells me chocolate will win, but that's based on absolutely zippo factual evidence—except maybe a Seinfeld episode (when Elaine wants to bring chocolate to a party but settles for cinnamon, "the lesser babka"). Take the poll! »...
Before this week, I didn't realize that babka skeptics existed. "It doesn't do anything for me," Robyn said, staring blankly at the massive hunk of a loaf. She is part of a camp that believes babka is a walking...