Ida’s Yeast Cake

Ida’s yeast cake is rising on my attic floor. While the a.c. is running downstairs, the attic is hot and steamy and a terrific place to leave a yeast cake to rise. This is the dough our family uses to make hamentashen for Purim, and it also makes wonderful babkas and coffee cakes. Today I’m making two coffee cakes, filled with almonds, golden raisins, chocolate chips, cinnamon and honey.

The following is all I have for the recipe:

This is the recipe—just a list.

I’m really never sure in what order to mix them, but it always turns out just fine. Mix together the ingredients, then refrigerate for about an hour. This recipe will make enough dough for two good sized coffee cakes, or for one babka, which would be baked in a bundt pan. For the coffee cake, divide the dough into two, roll out very thin and fill with whatever sounds good. Then roll it up, coil it into a circle and tuck the end under. Let rise, covered, for 1 hour. Then bake at 325 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until nicely browned. If you want the coffee cake to be covered with chocolate, then remove it from the oven and sprinkle on some chocolate chips. Put it back in the oven for 1 minute, then take it out and use a metal knife to spread the chocolate around. Sprinkle on some nuts or more chips if you like.

This coffee cake is filled with honey, cinnamon, golden raisins, chocolate chips and slivered almonds.

All coiled up and rising in the hot, steamy attic.


  • 1 c. milk, warmed
  • 1 Tbs. yeast
  • pinch of sugar
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • ½ c. sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 c. flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon rind

For the filling—use any/all/other:

  • chocolate chips
  • golden raisins
  • a drizzle of honey
  • a sprinkle of cinnamon
  • slivered almonds


  • In a small bowl, stir together the warm milk, the yeast and the pinch of sugar. Set aside to proof.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, mix together (it will be lumpy), then add the salt and lemon rind.
  • Stir in half the flour, then the milk/yeast mixture, then the rest of the flour. Mix well.
  • Refrigerate the dough for one hour or overnight.
  • On a liberally floured board, roll out dough to about 1/8˝ thickness.

    Cover dough with desired filling. From the long edge, roll up the dough into a tight coil.

  • Form the coffee cakes, each one on its own greased baking sheet.
    For a thicker coffee cake: form a simple spiral, tucking the end under.
    For a fluted-edge, fancy coffee cake (at right): form coil into a C-shape. Make slits in the dough, at about 2″ intervals, cutting about halfway through the coil. Lift each of the 2″ segments and turn 90°.

  • Cover the cakes with a towel. Preheat the oven to 350˚. Let cakes rise for 30 minutes. Bake for about 35 minutes or until lightly browned. Loosen the cakes and when slightly cooled, transfer to a cooling rack.

3 thoughts on “Ida’s Yeast Cake

  1. Oooh, that looks awesome! The recipe sounds like the “Bobke” (sic) recipe that I got from David’s grandmother (via his aunt), only with larger quantities. Same deal: no instructions, just a list of ingredients, so the first time I made it I had to wing it with the timing and filling. D’s father and uncle affirmed that I’d mostly gotten it “right”–though they suggested some changes to the dimensions of the finished product.

    Your chocolate-nut-dried fruit combination sounds wonderful–I’ll have to try that next time I make it.

  2. Pingback: Chocolate Babka – The Plate is My Canvas

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