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Traditional Polish Cheese Babka Recipe – Babka Serowa

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Sliced Polish cheese babka on a decorative plate with more cake in the background.

Babka is one of the well-loved recipes in Poland. While there are many different varieties of babka in Poland, the Polish cheese babka is very unique. It does not use fruits like raisins in it, so its flavor comes entirely from the cream cheese. Additionally, people add in a little lime or orange zest if they want a bit of a difference.

This recipe is great because it requires very little preparation time, uses easily available ingredients, and requires minimal effort.

History Of Babka

Babka is a very common term in Yiddish. It is derived from the word ‘Baba’ which in Hebrew means ‘grandmother’. It is very appropriate because this cake was generally made by Jewish grandmothers on the Shabbat. The babka was meant to be a special treat. Since it was made in Jewish households, the babka had to be kosher too. 

Before World War 2, more than 3 million Jews lived in Poland. Easy to guess, Polish and Jewish cuisine influenced each other.

The recipes have evolved over time. The traditional Polish cheese babka is one such example.

Traditional Polish Cheese Babka Recipe – Babka Serowa

Part I – Preheat the oven to 320°F (160°C).

Not everyone realizes it but preheating the oven is one of the most important parts of a baking recipe. This is because it ensures that the oven is at the right temperature when the cake is ready to go in. If your oven is too hot, the cake will burn on the top but not cook at the bottom.

Similarly, if the oven is cold, the cake will not rise or the dough will lose the air incorporated into it while mixing. So the consistency will be all wrong.

Part II – Sift The Flour And The Baking Powder

Sift 2 cups of all purpose flour and 2 tsps. of baking powder. The process of sifting the flour serves two purposes. It incorporates air into the flour making it light and easy to mix in the dough. This way, you will not get any lumps.

The second reason is that the baking powder gets incorporated evenly across the flour. Not only does this help the dough rise better, it also ensures that you don’t get a lump of baking powder in your mouth after the cake is baked.

Part III – Mix All The Remain Ingredients For 3 Minutes

Add in 3 eggs, ¾ cup of butter, 1 cup of cream cheese, ¾ cup of sugar and 1 tsp of lemon or orange zest into a mixing bowl. The lemon or orange zest is optional but it does give a lovely flavor to the Polish cheese babka.

Mix all the ingredients together. The dough should be smooth and without any lumps. This will take you approximately 3 minutes.

The ingredients for Polish cheese babka.
The ingredients for Polish cheese babka.

Part IV – Turn The Mixer Off And The Sifted Flour

For this step, you need to use a spoon or a spatula. Add in the sifted flour and baking powder. Ideally, incorporate two or three spoons at a time so that it is easy to mix. Make sure to stir in the clockwise direction only. Changing the direction reduces the amount of air incorporated into the dough and changes the cake texture.

Part V – Pour The Dough Into A 12” Bread Pan Lined With Parchment Paper

The Polish cheese babka has a sticky dough. To keep it from sticking to the bread pan, make sure to use parchment paper as a lining. This will also help remove the cake after it’s done. Pour the dough into the pan gently. Do not tap the edges or bang the pan at any time. If any of the dough has fallen on the edges, wipe it with a clean kitchen cloth or tissue paper.

Part VI – Bake For 1 Hour And Allow To Cool

Part VII – Make The Frosting.

In order to make the frosting, combine 1 cup of powdered sugar with 2-3 tbsps. of hot water. Mix it well.

Polish cheese babka with frosting.
Polish cheese babka with frosting.

Part VIII – Cover The Babka With Frosting

Cover the top of the babka with frosting. The Polish cheese babka is now ready to serve.

Polish cheese babka ready to be served.
Polish cheese babka ready to be served.

Traditional Polish Cheese Babka Recipe Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Some Other Easy Babka Recipes?

Babka is extremely popular in Poland and there are so many different versions of this delicious sweet bread. Here are some easy babka recipes that you can try out.

Does Traditional Polish Cheese Babka Need To Be Refrigerated?

If you have any remaining Polish cheese babka, I would highly recommend refrigerating it. This is because the recipe has cream cheese in it which can go spoiled. 

Is The Polish Cheese Babka Vegan?

No. This recipe is not vegan since it includes eggs and cream cheese. Unfortunately, since the main ingredient in this recipe is cheese, the recipe cannot be modified to make it vegan.

Yield: 15 slices

Traditional Polish Cheese Babka Recipe - Babka Serowa

Polish cheese babka with icing, sliced and served on a decorative plate.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes



  • 2 cups (240g) of all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup (170g) of butter
  • 1 cup / 8oz / 225g of cream cheese
  • ¾ cup (150g) of sugar
  • 2 tsps of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of orange or lemon zest (optionally)


  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tbsps of hot water


  1. Preheat the oven to 320°F (160°C).
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder.
  3. Mix all the remaining ingredients for about 3 minutes.
  4. Turn off the mixer. Carefully add sifted flour and baking powder using a spoon or spatula.
  5. Pour the dough into a 12'' bread pan lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake for 1 hour. Allow to cool.
  7. Make the frosting by mixing powdered sugar with water.
  8. Cover the babka with frosting.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 163Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 132mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 4g

These data are indicative and calculated by Nutritionix

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