Archive for the ‘Cakes’ Category


First Post – Cranberry Streusel Yeast Cake

November 20, 2009

For my first post I am putting up the recipe for a yeast cake that I made a few days ago. Yeast cakes are very popular in Poland, and are better known here as “babkas.” I love them because they aren’t overly sweet, but are still very satisfying. They are a favourite of my mom. In fact, she won’t touch North American cakes or European tortes.

For some time I have been craving a yeast cake with a tart topping and lots of streusel. I love tart fruits in baking: sour cherries, currants, cranberries, I’ll use them all! After our Canadian Thanksgiving I stocked up on cranberries and froze them for future use, so I decided to use those.

I soon realised that there would be a lot of dough, even for a 9×13 pan. This is often the case with older Polish recipes. Come to think of it, I would be interested in finding out why that is. Any ideas?

I took 1/3 of the dough after the first rise, rolled it out, spread it with jam, and made simple (but delicious) rolls.

The cake was delicious when it was fresh, but the next day it was rather dry. If I were making the recipe again for myself, I would use more butter in the dough, but if I were making it for my mom, she would not have wanted me to change it. For breakfast she likes to slice it and add butter or jam on top, and have it with coffee.

My dear mom, who loves dry cake

This recipe was adapted from Siostra Aniela of Anielska Kuchnia, which interestingly translates in English to Sister Angela of the Angelic Kitchen. She is s hugely popular cooking “celebrity” in Poland. Who needs Jamie Oliver or Giada DeLaraurentis when you can have Sister Angela show you around the kitchen? Is it a particularity of Poland that a nun can be a “celebrity chef”?

The recipe for the streusel was adapted from Moje Wypieki.

Cranberry Streusel Yeast Cake

Yeast Cake
– 80 gr of fresh yeast (I used about 30 grams of dry active yeast, activated in 1/4 cup of warm water)
– 1 kg of AP flour
– 5 eggs
– 100 gr of sugar
– 100 gr of melted butter
– pinch of salt

Cranberry Topping
– 450 gr of cranberries
– 3 tbs of honey
– 3/4 cup of light brown sugar

– 180 gr of AP flour
– 100 gr of sugar
– 120 gr of butter
–  1 tsp of vanilla extract (I used a few drops of “śmietankowy” oil, which is a popular aroma in Poland, but I cannot think of an equivalent in North America. The name directly translates to “cream” flavour, but the taste is something between butter and vanilla).

1. Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water and set aside until frothy, about 10 minutes. If using fresh yeast, dissolve in 1/2 cup of warm milk and a tablespoon of sugar and set aside until double in size.
2.  Mix flour with sugar and salt. Add eggs.
3. Add yeast mixture, begin mixing with a large spatula or wooden spoon.
4. Add melted butter and continue mixing.
5. Begin kneading dough until elastic. There should be no need to add flour. The dough will be neither hard or very soft, but it should be easy to knead.
6. Place in a clean bowl, cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and set aside to double. I put my dough in the fridge and let it rise overnight since I wanted to have the cake fresh for breakfast the next day.
7. In the meantime, mix cranberries with honey and sugar.
8. In a separate bowl, mix butter, sugar and flour and vanilla for the streusel. You can use a pastry blender, but I just used a fork. To get big streusel chunks, you can use melted butter.
9. Butter and flour a 9×13 baking pan.
10. When the dough has doubled, punch down and roll out to about the size the size of the pan. Cover and let rise for about half an hour. If you left the dough to rise in the fridge, let the dough rise an extra 45 minutes.
11. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
12. Top the dough with cranberries. Mine were sticky and clumpy because of the honey, so I took them apart with my fingers. Sprinkle the streusel on top.
13. Place pan in the oven. Bake for about 50 minutes, turning the pan 180 degrees halfway through. The streusel should start to brown a bit, but not too much.
14. Remove and cool on a rack.