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Jan 14, 2009 08:30 AM

Chocolate babka -- can one get it in Chicago

I was wondering if it was more of an East coast dessert, or if it's sold anywhere in Chicago? Thanks.

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  1. Whole Foods, for one.

    1. Babka I've never heard of it...what kind of dessert is it?

      2 Replies
        1. re: LadyintheKitchen

          It's a filled (i.e. by layers), yeast-risen coffee cake, often found in Jewish bakeries. I don't think of it as brioche-y, as it does not have either the richness or the lightness of brioche. You can see a photo along with more information at

          For a more authentic one than Whole Foods, I would look in the Jewish-focused bakeries such as Tel Aviv Bakery on Devon Avenue, or Kaufman's on Dempster in Skokie.

        2. Definitely a NY thing . . . hard to walk into your standard NY bakery and not find babka. I've never purchased it in Chicago, although I believe I have seen them at Kaufman's (on Dempster in Skokie) and I know that Delightful Pastries on Lawrence sells them (not sure if they ever do a chocolate babka though). Quite frankly, I always thought they sounded so much better tasting on Seinfeld than they taste in real life.

          2 Replies
          1. re: BRB

            Thanks guys for breaking it down to sounds really good! BRB it would take some research to see if they carry it in chicago. With the city being so diverse, I'm sure you can find it somewhere...I've just seen/heard of it.

            1. re: BRB

              Remeber that a cinnamon babka is not a lesser babka!

              And look to the cookie

            2. You can get overnight from Zabar's in NYC, but they're more loaf than flat like many I've had. Agreed with Tel Aviv on Devon, it's good.

              Also try Max's or Max and Benny's in Northbrook/Deerfield. Downtown you may be able to get at The Bagel in Lakeview or any Eastern European bakery.

              2 Replies
              1. re: jbontario

                I'm tellin ya. Whole Foods. My Eastern European Jewish mother used to make a variant and the one at Whole Foods is pretty good. Tel Aviv is just so-so.

                1. re: jbontario

                  It's not necessary to do overnight. They handle the regular UPS/FedEx just fine. And if you prefer flatter, try the Delancey Swirl Cake. Not exactly the same, but darn close. Or better yet ---- order BOTH!!!
                  And throw in some Zabar's brand deli mustard. Not for the pastries, of course, but a mild, a-little-sweet mustard that's my favorite sandwich mustard. Great in deviled eggs, too.
                  And the Grandma's Coffee Cake is the best I've ever had anywhere.
                  Zabar's shipping fees are high, but worth it, escpecially if you order several items at once.

                2. Don't know how resourceful you are, but my wife and I have been meaning to make this recipe for awhile. It sounds good, for certain: