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For Easter Brunch: Lemon Cardamom Babka

Posted by Theology of Home on
For Easter Brunch: Lemon Cardamom Babka

By Emily Malloy

My childhood is filled with rich memories of food. Perhaps, as a result of the nature of my food writing, you have already suspected this! So many beautiful festive memories of mine are intertwined with cherished recipes. Babka is a food at the forefront of my mind as Lent comes to a close. 

There are many iterations of this beloved bread. The one most familiar to me is the typical sweet yeasted bread many know and love, but baked in a passed-down, antique turban pan. This same recipe can be baked into a bundt pan, but the bake time may fluctuate as a result of the hollow center, so be sure to keep an eye on it while it's baking. When it's fragrant and slightly brown on top, the babka is finished! 

I love the simplicity of this Easter bread. It is easy to put together. All it requires is a little time to rise. 

Babka is not to be confused with Paska, which is a slightly different yeasted bread, and very much a part of my childhood, as well. Sometimes the two names are used interchangeably, Paska is a more decorative Easter bread however. 

The recipe that I share with you today is my own spin on a beloved Easter treat. The use of cardamom and lemon in the batter and glaze create an almost florally fragrant sensation. This is sure to be a family favorite for years to come.

Lemon Cardamom Babka with Raisins
Yields: 10-12 servings
Time: 2 hours


4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole milk, warmed to 110*
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
3/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup whiskey or rum or 1/4 cup of water with 1 teaspoon rum extract
1 and 1/2 sticks of salted butter, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
4 large egg yolks
Zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon cardamom
Pinch of salt

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cardamom
1-1.5 tablespoons of hot water


1. In a small bowl, combine raisins and alcohol or water with extract. Allow to sit for 15 minutes. Then drain and discard the liquid and toss the raisins with a few pinches of flour. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine the warm milk, yeast, and sugar. Allow it to proof for 5-10 minutes. 

3. Grease a turban or bundt pan. 

4. Once the yeast has proofed, add the remaining ingredients to form a soft dough. Knead for an additional 5-10 minutes. Place into the prepared pan, cover with a dish towel or plastic wrap and put in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size (at least two hours, but maybe more depending upon the temperature).

5. Preheat the oven to 350*F. Uncover the pan and bake on the middle rack for 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool on for 10-15 minutes on the cooling rack before removing from the pan

6. Once the babka has fully cooled, combine all of the ingredients for the glaze. Drizzle over the top of the loaf. Serve immediately and enjoy! 

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