The Polish, Belorussians, Jews, even the French, have all created versions of babka. The mixture of fruit, chocolate and rum in this sweet cake is a mouth-watering combination of all styles.






Skill level

Average: 4.3 (64 votes)


  • 150 g (1 cup) dried sour cherries
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) dark rum
  • 335 g (2¼ cups) plain flour, plus extra, to dust
  • 7 g sachet dried yeast
  • 95 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 95 ml lukewarm milk
  • 45 g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 80 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids),roughly chopped

Rum syrup

  • 110 g (½ cup) caster sugar
  • 85 ml (⅓ cup) dark rum

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Soaking time 4 hours

Proving time 1 hour 30 minutes

Soak cherries in rum for 4 hours or overnight. Drain and set aside.

To make dough, sift flour and ½ tsp salt in a large bowl and stir in yeast. In a separate bowl, combine butter, milk, sugar and eggs. Make a well in the centre of dry ingredients and pour in milk mixture. Mix to form a dough. Using your hands, knead dough until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 220°C. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Using floured hands, shape into a 38 cm x 20 cm rectangle. Leaving a 2 cm border along 1 longer edge, scatter over drained cherries and chocolate. Starting from the edge with the border, roll up dough like a Swiss roll. Trim edges and cut roll into 7 even pieces. Place scrolls in a greased 20 cm round cake pan, with sides touching. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm draught-free place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size. Place in oven, immediately reduce heat to 200°C, then bake for 35 minutes or until golden.

Meanwhile, to make rum syrup, combine sugar and 125 ml water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes then remove from heat and stir in the rum. Cool slightly, then spoon over warm babka. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Dried sour cherries can be purchased at delis and specialist food shops.


Photography Chris Chen
Styling Jerrie-Joy Redman Lloyd
Food Preparation Kirsten Jenkins