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Babka is a traditional cake from the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, namely Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Western Russia. It is also found among Ruthenians in northeastern Hungary and all over Romania, where it is called "colac".

Traditional babka has some type of fruit filling, especially raisins, and is glazed with a fruit-flavored icing, sometimes with rum added. Modern babka often has chocolate or cheese filling.

Another version of babka is associated with Eastern European Jewry. This babka is made from a doubled and twisted length of yeast dough and is typically baked in a high loaf pan. Instead of a fruit filling the dough contains cinnamon or chocolate.

Jewish babka is usually topped with streusel. A similar cake called a kokosh is also popular in Jewish bakeries. Kokosh also comes in chocolate and cinnamon varieties, but it is lower and longer than babka, is not twisted, and not topped with streusel.

Babka of this style has become popular in North American cities with large Jewish populations, including Montreal, New York, Chicago, Miami, and Toronto.

There also exists a traditional variety of babka prepared during Passover in lieu of bread. Generally, this babka is not sweet and is prepared using crushed matzos with water, egg, and salt.