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This delicious recipe for babka comes from "Entertaining," by Martha Stewart. This dough can be used to make cakes of various sizes; please note that baking time will vary depending on cake size.

  • Yield: Makes three 8-inch cakes

Source: The Martha Stewart Show


  • 2 cups milk, scalded
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2/3 of a 2-ounce yeast cake
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Grated rind of 2 oranges
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
  • 8 to 9 cups sifted unbleached flour
  • 1 cup slivered almonds, chopped
  • 1 cup muscat raisins
  • 1 cup golden raisins


  1. Heat the milk; stir in the butter until melted; cool to lukewarm. Proof the yeast in the warm water.

  2. Beat the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar until thick. Add the salt, grated rinds, vanilla, and Grand Marnier. Add the milk-butter mixture to the egg mixture. Stir in the yeast.

  3. Add the flour, a cupful at a time, mixing with a wooden spoon. The dough should not be dry, but it should not be sticky. Too much flour will make a dry, crumbly cake. Add the almonds and raisins.

  4. Turn the dough onto a floured board and knead for about 5 minutes, until dough comes away from your hand. Butter a very large bowl and put dough in bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk. Punch down and let rise a second time until almost doubled.

  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the pans generously. (You can sprinkle pans with a tablespoon of sugar if you wish.) Divide the dough into 3 portions. Arrange evenly on the pans and cover loosely. Let rise to top of pans.

  6. Bake cakes in oven for 30 to 45 minutes, until golden brown. There should be a hollow sound when you tap the top with your knuckles. Cool for 5 minutes in the pans, then turn out onto racks to cool.

Reviews (14)

  • cliftongirl 18 Apr, 2014

    This recipe works well. I halve the recipe, use one package of active dry yeast for 4 1/2 to 5 cups flour and bake it in an angel food pan. Dough should be soft, but not too sticky. I use currants for the dried fruit and the slivered almonds. This bakes up so high it looks like a commercial bread, but tastes homemade.

  • elvira101 31 Mar, 2010

    yeast cake?
    I couldn't find it anywhere. Can you please suggest an equivalent or substitute?
    NOTE: Cristina S. thank you for your comment!!! very helpful!!!

  • nonikat1 20 May, 2008

    I make this almost every year to give to family members and everyone always loves it. It is very gratifying just doing it and the house smells soooo good.

  • CristinaS 23 Mar, 2008

    Martha baked it in Bundt Pans, but it can be made in loaf pans too, I did not have three Bundt, so I used two Bundt and a loaf pan and they baked in the same time, had no problem .

  • CristinaS 23 Mar, 2008

    I make a very similar Easter Bread, my grandmother was Romanian and it is called Cozonac. I have adapted the recipe - it originally used yeast cake which is the same as the dry yeast only fresh, which is not easy to find in the supermarket.
    For 8 cups of flour I use 2 1/2 tsp. instant yeast and it works perfectly. I have just baked it and it turned up fine

  • Coloradochic 22 Mar, 2008

    I made Martha's Chocolate Babkas found in her Baking Handbook for my Aunt's 97th birthday party. The receipe for the topping is in that book. 1 2/3 cup confectioners sugar, 1 1/3 cup AP flour, 1 1/2 sticks room temp butter, combine sugar and flour then cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. This makes alot of topping so use what you need and freeze the rest. I have used some of it on banana nut bread. In our supermarkets cake yeast is found in the dairy section.

  • twirlerholland 22 Mar, 2008

    Yeast cake is not easily found in the mid west, even in NY where i lived for 17 years it was hard to find. At least when a lesser used product is part of a recipe PLEASE let us know what the equivilent would be in a more popular product ex: package yeast. Too bad someone did not do their homework to match the old footage to the recipe posted.

  • donnachick 21 Mar, 2008

    where can i buy the yeast cake? can i use the dry yeast in those packages?

  • unmistakable1 21 Mar, 2008

    I came on here so I could make this, but this is definitely not the same recipe that was on the show today. The topping is supposedly the best part, so why wouldn't the right recipe be posted???

  • Talldrinkofwater 21 Mar, 2008

    Where's the crumb topping? Is this Martha's mom's recipe?

  • crazysham 21 Mar, 2008

    I just saw this ep on tv, and the cakes were made in bundt pans.

  • lorndorff 21 Mar, 2008

    On the show a bundnt pan was used.

  • tagolner 20 Dec, 2007

    At the very top of the recipe it says it makes 3 Eight inch cakes so I would asusme by that you should use Quantity 3: 8-inch cake pans.

  • Busia 20 Dec, 2007

    It doesn't say what kind of pans to use> Can you send this back to me? Thanks

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