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TV Dinners: Seinfeld - Chocolate Babka

For some reason I've been staying up late these days, it's not doing wonders for my skin, but it is allowing me to catch old episodes of Seinfeld. The other night the episode "The Dinner Party" was on and I don't know if you recall, but it's the one where Jerry and Elaine stop off at a bakery on their way to a dinner party. Their intention was to buy a chocolate babka to bring, however the couple ahead of them scores the last one and they're left with a "inferior" cinnamon babka. Now I've seen this scene before and I've never thought twice about it, but this time I stopped and wondered outloud, what on earth is a babka?

Well turns out that a babka is a polish coffee cake that is traditionally made with fruit fillings, such as raisins, and is glazed with a fruit-flavored icing. However modern day babkas are filled with cheese or chocolate. And according to Elaine the chocolate babka is where it's at.

To see if it's worth the hype, you can order a chocolate babka online, or you can check out the recipe and make one of your own.

To see the Seinfeld babka clip and get the tasty recipe,

Chocolate Babka
From All Recipes

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 10 inch tube pan. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, beat the butter and 1 1/4 cup sugar with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy. Change the mixer speed to medium, and beat in the vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. With the mixer on low speed, alternately beat the flour mixture and sour cream into the creamed mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat only until just blended.
  • For the topping: In a small bowl combine the chocolate, pecans, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon to make a crumb mixture. Spread half of the batter in the bottom of the prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of the crumb mixture. Pour in the remaining batter, and sprinkle with the remaining crumb mixture; press the crumbs in lightly so they adhere to the batter. Quickly, but gently cut through the batter and crumbs in an up and down motion with a knife. Lightly rap the pan once against a hard surface, to settle the batter.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Cover the top of the cake with aluminum foil. Continue baking until a skewer inserted halfway between the side of the pan and the tube comes out clean, about 20 minutes longer. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Carefully loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Invert cake onto rack, and cool completely.
Join The Conversation
celebrity_soup celebrity_soup 10 years
babka... sounds greek
Janners Janners 10 years
So, it's a cake... haha, I didn't have any tin foil, can you believe it? So it was only in the oven for a total of 35 minutes. If I had left it in with foil would it have gained more of the density of the babka? Maybe I should stop opening the oven door while baking... :( Still good though, the chocolate streusel made the middle, and basically the entire cake reeeeeally moist. And it was a struggle to get a picture once the family dug in! I think one of my favourite baking mishaps would have to have been from following your Nian Gao variation... I didn't have any rice flour, or dates, raisins etc. so it was sans fruit, with whole wheat flour! Haha, reeeeally good cake though! Topped it with cream cheese frosting, cut it into squares and took it into work! My goodness baking's addictive, isn't it? And expensive! And because I've been taking a ridiculous amount of pictures of food lately... the Nian Gao mistake! I have to join the recipe club now and ramble on some more, I think...
Food Food 10 years
awesome janners! take pictures of your final result, okay?! I can't wait to see it.
Janners Janners 10 years
Making this right now with some vanilla glaze! I'm using a bundt pan though, so I suppose it'll come out a bit more cake like and less bread like. We'll see in 10 minutes! But hey, it's chocolate. Chocolate's chocolate!
KittenGotClaws KittenGotClaws 10 years
I was wondering what it was as well, sounds yummy. I think I'll bake some this weekend.
Tisane Tisane 10 years
Babka originated in Eastern and Central Europe, in Poland it's traditional Easter dessert :)
mandiesoh mandiesoh 10 years
it looks like marble cake to me! lol
Maggie-Mae Maggie-Mae 10 years
I love the chocolate babka episode, but mostly for the black and white cookie references. They have them at all the bakeries/delis in DC and it always makes me laugh. I will have to take DCStars suggestion and get the babka from Dean and Deluca! I have never had a babka but the pics look great. Thanks Yum!
cybele cybele 10 years
I've never been a big babka fan, but have to agree with Elaine that if I were to have another babka on purpose, it would have to be chocolate. (I have similar feelings about panettone.)
Entertainment Entertainment 10 years
Thanks to Seinfeld, I can't hear "chocolate babka" without laughing. This would be a great gift for a hardcore fan.
skinny-fat skinny-fat 10 years
NO BABKA OR B/W COOKIES IN SF????????????? That's a terrible thing. I love b/w cookies and Seinfeld; babka not so much. ************************************************ "I am not interested in money. I just want to be wonderful." Marilyn Monroe
Food Food 10 years
I thought there was a large population also, however SF wasn't even one of the cities that earned themselves Kosher Coke. And if someone can prove me wrong, please let me know! We'll meet up and I'll treat you to a babka.
bugbiteme bugbiteme 10 years
I though SF had the third largest Jewish population after NY and LA... anyhoo Back when Noah's Bagels was good, they used to sell black & white cookies and chocolate babka. This is a thing of the past. If you love chocolate, you'll love a babka. I have to go to LA to get all my yummy Jewish food (Canters).
ccsugar ccsugar 10 years
sounds babkalicious
Food Food 10 years
DCStar, yep here in SF where we don't have the babka, or the black and white cookie either (same episode, although I have no idea how on earth I was completely familiar with a b&w cookie before this episode). I'm sure there are must be some bakeries where you could get them... at least you would think.
N-e-e-c-a-l-l-e N-e-e-c-a-l-l-e 10 years
haha Im actually a Canadian, a Nova Scotian to be exact. Not sure on the jewish population around me..but I'll assume its not very large. At any rate I would love to try some babka!!
DCStar DCStar 10 years
By the way...thanks for the clip! I can't get enough Seinfeld either =)
DCStar DCStar 10 years
Oh my god, where are you from?? I'm guessing San Fran, right? There must not be enough jews there :) Babka is so prevalent on the East in DC we have quite a few places to pick up a nice dense babka. The beauty of a babka is that it's sort of like cake, or a muffin, but in bread-form! Isn't it spectacular!! I recommend buying one from Dean and Deluca...theirs are pretty delicious and I know they ship.
N-e-e-c-a-l-l-e N-e-e-c-a-l-l-e 10 years
Yum that is halarious, I watched that episode last night and I was thinking to myself the whole time...I wonder what babka is...what it looks like...what it tastes like. Iv'e never heard of babka outside of that show. It sounds delicious! :)
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