In a large bowl, mash the yeast cake with the sugar (note: the compressed yeast cake can be substituted with a package of active dry yeast; to activate, follow the directions on the package).
Beat the 3 eggs and add to the yeast mixture.
Heat the milk to very warm and dissolve the butter in it. Let cool slightly. Add to the yeast/egg mixture and add the flour, salt, grated lemon rind, vanilla extract and the dried fruit (I like cranberries, raisins, walnuts.) Mix well to blend all ingredients, but do not knead.
Grease (here's where Kittencal's pan coating comes in handy, #78579) a 9-1/2 inch Babka pan, brioche mold, Bundt pan, or other tube pan and fill with the dough to about 1/3 full. (I use two 8" fluted babka pans.) Cover with cloth and let stand in warm place for about 2 hours (until the Babka dough has doubled in size.).
Towards the end of the rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. When risen, place the Babka inside and bake it for about 40-45 minutes. (Note, if you use bakeware that is dark or colored on the outside, set the oven at 325 deg Fahrenheit.) It is fully baked when a wooden pick comes out clean. Should be a medium brown. If too light it will be underdone and damp.
After baking, remove the Babka from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Carefully remove from pan and dust it with confectioner’s sugar or glaze with icing.
For the icing, combine the confectioner’s sugar, lemon juice, and boiling water in a small bowl and mix together.
If you glaze the Babka with the icing, sprinkle it with chopped walnuts, slivered almonds, raisins or finely chopped candied orange rind, before the icing sets.
Let it cool completely before serving. Wrap leftovers tightly with plastic wrap for storage at room temperature. For longer storage, you can freeze the Babka, tightly sealed in a plastic bag.
Cooking Tips: Soak dried fruits in brandy or Grand Marnier before using.