09/01/2010 01:26 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Quest for the Perfect Babka

Whenever I have houseguests I'm always sure to have a chocolate babka on hand. Babka is a yeast cake usually filled with moist layers of chocolate or cinnamon. It originated in Eastern Europe and the name is derived from baba, which means grandmother in Polish. It's similar to a coffee cake but much richer and not as sweet. The cake has a Jewish background and it is a wonderful addition to any holiday or breakfast table and I guarantee your guests will devour it. It's extremely versatile, which is why I like to have it in the house. You can doctor it up for dessert by topping it with some ice cream or you can simply put it out with coffee for breakfast or a snack (just a heads up that if you are going to have it as a snack it's especially scrumptious if you microwave it for a few seconds). My favorite way to enjoy it is to take a slice to go and savor it alone at a Dunkin Donuts or another coffee shop outside of my apartment away from my houseguests.

Now I have been searching, and a tasty babka is hard to find. The most widely available babka is from Green's bakery in Brooklyn. In fact many stores around the country sell babka from Green's under their own label. So while the babka may look like a homemade version it is in fact from Green's. The babka from Green's will do but if you can get your hands on a homemade version it would be even better.

My ultimate babka comes from Zadies bakery in New Jersey. A chocolate babka from Zadies can be tricky to track down. Usually, it's available at Fairway but I have been there when they have been sold out. I usually call Zadies directly at (201) 796-6595 and ask where they made their most recent babka deliveries and go from there. The chocolate babka is topped with large crumbs like you would find on a coffee cake and the inside of the babka is light with the perfect amount of chocolate. It's one of those things where once you open the package you will end up picking at the crumbs and eating the whole babka. That's why I can only have it in the house when I have guests.

It's hard to believe but summer is over and the holidays start next week. It's not too early to start planning what you should stock up on when you have holiday guests.

Please chime in with your favorite foods.