By Chaya Rappoport
If babka is the hip Jewish treat du jour, then kokosh cake is its slightly homelier cousin of yesteryear. But don’t let that description turn you off because what kokosh cake lacks in razzle-dazzle, it makes up for in the most important of ways: rich, gooey, seemingly endless layers of chocolate.
Named after the Hungarian word for cocoa, kakaó, a kokosh cake is flatter and longer than a babka and made with a yeast dough that’s barely left to rise. The dough is rolled thin, spread with a chocolate filling and then rolled up.
According to Jewish food historian Gil Marks, kokosh cake, like Polish babka, wasn’t originally made with chocolate; both chocolate and cocoa were expensive ingredients in shtetl times. Instead, kokosh cake evolved from a simpler version made with poppy seeds, known as makosh (the Hungarian word for poppy seeds is màk), before becoming the primarily chocolate pastry we know it as today.
Modern versions of kokosh are often topped with streusel, an addition I’ll personally never say no to. My kokosh cake also contains two secret ingredients: egg whites in the filling, which ensure its gooey interior, and a touch of espresso powder, which heightens the flavor of the chocolate.
Babka, there’s a hot new cake in town — and it’s coming for your crown.
This recipe originally appeared on The Nosher.
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