This Easter I have decided that we will make an yeast cake (babka), instead one of our favourite cheesecake. That was a bold decision. I like yeast cakes, especially when they are still warm and have crumble on the top, but in my head they exist with a summer day preferably in a countryside. Don’t ask me why.
But tradition of festive yeast cakes is bigger than my internal voice wants to admit – there is Italian panettone, colomba and pandoro, German stollen, Greek Tsoureki and probably million others.
So I went for a fancy saffron babka. It has lovely colour, is surprisingly light (especially compared to cheesecake ;)), tastes best fresh and eaten the same day, but later on makes heavenly French toasts.
And not for a moment I have regretted a decision of not making cheesecake. So never underestimate the power of simple cake.
Easter saffron yeast cake (babka)
- 100g raisins
- 1/3 cup rum
- 1/3 tsp saffron strands
- 300g plain flour
- 7g fast-action dried yeast
- 100 ml milk
- 5 egg yolks
- 100g sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 60g butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 3-4 Tbsp lemon juice
Soak the raisins in rum overnight, or at least 2 hours. Drain them.
Pour some hot water (around tablespoon) over the saffron strands and leave aside for half an hour.
Combine the flour, saffron and water it was dissolving in, dried yeast, milk, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla extract in a stand mixer bowl. Mix with the dough hook until it comes together.
Pour slowly the melted butter and keep kneading until it is all incorporated.
Mix for a several minutes until dough is completely smooth and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If it doesn’t, you can add 1 tablespoon extra flour to help this along.
Add the raisins and knead until incorporated.
Oil a very large bowl and put dough in bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk.
Punch down and transfer into buttered and floured a 2-litre capacity Bundt pan.
Let rise a second time until almost doubled.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan.
Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack and take off the pan. Let it to cool completely.
Place the icing sugar and juice in a bowl and mix to combine.
If it is too runny just add more icing sugar, if too thick add more juice.
Drizzle over the cake.