We are on our knees in the season of Lent.
Christians all over the world have been dropping and adding, aiming for a more focused and meaningful experience. As we look forward to the feast day (Easter) next month, we cannot help but think of the human suffering among our friends from Ukraine.
I wanted to pay tribute to our friends by bringing you a recipe that originated in Ukraine. This honey babka cake recipe is from Olgainthekitchen.com. Olga Nagorna, who runs the site, emigrated from Ukraine in 1999. This cake was the one her mother made growing up.
She admits that most people think babka is a yeast cake, but this recipe is yeast-free and far less intimidating.
“I kept the original name on my blog, maybe one day I’ll rename it because people think babka is yeast bread,” she says.
This honey cake is absolutely lovely and a perfect cake for Easter, or anytime really. It’s also easy to do. I made it myself and it is divine.
This cake combines unlikely ingredients, but it results in this velvety, spongy, honey-laden cake.
The harmony that these ingredients bring to the dessert table can be a metaphor for us: different peoples and different cultures coming together as one, while preserving our unique identity.
After all, wouldn’t Jesus want that?
Ingredients for Babka Honey Cake
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 8 eggs – room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup honey – microwave for 30 seconds
- 16 oz sour cream – room temperature
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 8 oz cream cheese – room temperature
- Cool Whip 8 oz – frozen
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large 11-by-17 baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside (make sure the baking sheet has about a 1-inch edge to prevent the batter from running out).
In a large bowl, beat eggs, granulated sugar and salt until light and fluffy (8-10 minutes on high).
In a small bowl, stir together and stir in the baking soda and distilled white vinegar – it will fizz. Heat the honey in the microwave, then add the baking soda/vinegar mixture, honey and sour cream to the batter. Beat on low for 30-40 seconds until combined (do not overbeat).
Sift the flour into the batter and with a mixer on low speed, beat until the flour is combined. The batter will be runny and lose some of its fluffiness, but be sure not to beat it too much or the texture of the cake will become tough and not be as fluffy.
Pour all the batter all at once onto the prepared baking sheet and level the edges with a spatula. Bake for 30 to 32 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Place a cooling rack over the baked cake and invert the baking sheet. Remove the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake.
Place a large cutting board over a cake and flip it over again; let the babka cool. (Do not leave the cake upside down on a cooling rack for a long time, otherwise it will leave cooling rack squares on top of the cake and may break/crush the top). Once cooled, trim the edges with a sharp knife and cut the whole babka into even squares, about 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart, or to desired size.
To make the frosting: In a medium bowl, mix and beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar about 1 min on low-medium speed. Add cold whisk and continue beating over high heat until frosting is thick, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a Wilton star nozzle. Pipe the icing on each square. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate and continue enjoying for the next three to four days.
Note from the cooks: The piped option makes for an eye-catching presentation, but you can choose to place the icing all over the cake.