Grandmother’s Cake

I think there are about 9 or 10 different varieties of dates grown here in Israel. Dates were always an exotic treat for me as a kid. My father made a delicious apple and date cake, and I would always sneak some of the dates to munch on. My favourite variety of dates is Medjoul, they are  luscious pieces of caramel in your mouth. They are so rich that I can only eat a couple at a time.

Babkas are dime a dozen here because of the Eastern European influence on baked goods, but this is the Middle East and there is definitely a twist on things. For example, I don’t think you would find a Babka filled with date filling in Russia or Poland, at least not thirty or forty years ago. Here you find them filled with halva and chocolate, date, chocolate, hazelnut or walnut filling.

This recipe produces a moist and not too sweet babka. I glazed this babka with orange syrup that I had from making candied orange peel. It was a nice added touch to the cake.


Print
Date Filling
Servings: 1 -1/2 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup chopped pitted dates
  • 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Combine both ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat about five minutes or until thick. Let cool before using.
Print
Date Filling
Servings: 1 -1/2 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup chopped pitted dates
  • 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Combine both ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat about five minutes or until thick. Let cool before using.
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Written by Baroness Tapuzina

Michelle Nordell (aka Baroness Tapuzina) was a foodie from the womb growing up in the House of Weird Vegetables, so named by a family friend because all of the unusual and exotic food cooked and eaten there. She loves to change recipes using herbs from her garden and spices from the spice shops she enjoys visiting.

7 thoughts on “Grandmother’s Cake

  1. This is a little embarrassing, but I’ve never actually had babka. I think I’ll go get one for this Shabbat so I know what they’re meant to be like, and then try making yours so that I have something to compare it with. It looks delicious, I must say.

    Quick question, though: Can you use margarine as a substitute for butter in this, or is this one of the few recipes that actually does require the dairy? I ask because I know that with milk, it can be added for wetness, for flavor, or for its chemical reactions with other ingredients, and so sometimes substitutions don’t work. Butter can be for flavor, for fat, or for… something else, I’m assuming — do substitutions work for babka?

  2. That looks delicious! There’s no prepared date filling that I know of here in France, but because of the Maghrebin influence, there are lots of wonderful dates. I look forward to trying this.

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