Classic French Rum Baba

Classic French rum baba recipe

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 100 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 2 hrs 5 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
435 Calories
19g Fat
51g Carbs
10g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 435
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 11g 54%
Cholesterol 99mg 33%
Sodium 300mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 51g 19%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Protein 10g
Calcium 227mg 17%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Babas au rhum (also know as rum baba) are lovely yeast-risen cakes studded with dried fruit and soaked in hot rum syrup. Once the darling of French cuisine, they fell out of favor, but it is so good to see them back and as popular as ever. 

This recipe features the delicate flavor of citrus with just a hint of orange and lemon zest. Likewise, a small amount of warm vanilla has been added to the soaking syrup to cut down on the rum’s boldness. The result is a rum baba that's full of complex layers of flavor, while still holding to the traditional French recipe.

To make this recipe, you'll need 12 baba molds.


  • For the Cake:
  • 1 tablespoon dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons water (warm)
  • 3 eggs (beaten)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins (or dried currants)
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • For the Rum Syrup:
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup dark rum (to taste)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup apricot preserves (heated)
  • Garnish: sweetened whipped cream

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this rum cake is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and baking.

Make the Cake

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for cake
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  2. Stir the yeast and the warm water together in a large bowl and allow the yeast to dissolve for 5 minutes.

    Stir the yeast
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  3. Lightly beat the eggs into the yeast and water.

    Lightly beat eggs
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  4. In a small bowl, mix the flour, sugar, citrus zests, and salt together.

    Flour in bowl
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  5. Stir the mixture into the yeast and eggs.

    Mix eggs in
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  6. Knead the dough with the softened butter for about 5 minutes, until it turns soft and elastic.

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  7. Cover the dough and allow it to rise for 1 hour until it doubles in size.

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  8. While the dough is rising, soak the raisins or currants in 3 tablespoons of rum.

    Soak the raisins
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  9. Once the dough has doubled, beat the rum-soaked fruit into it.

    Put raisins in dough
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  10. Grease the baba molds and divide the dough among them.

    Grease pans
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  11. Preheat an oven to 400 F. 

  12. Cover the molds and allow the dough to rise for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the dough has just started to rise above the molds’ edges.

    Let rise
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  13. Uncover the babas and bake them for 20 to 25 minutes, until they turn golden brown and begin to pull away from the sides of the molds.

    Bake the babas
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  14. Immediately remove the babas from the molds and allow them to cool on a wire rack.

    Allow to cool
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Make the Rum Syrup

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for syrup
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  2. While the babas are cooling, make the rum soaking syrup. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, bring the water and sugar to a boil for 5 to 10 minutes, until the syrup has thickened.

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  3. Remove the syrup from the heat and stir the rum and vanilla extract into the mixture.

    Remove syrup from heat
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Assemble the Rum Baba

  1. Place the babas into the hot rum syrup and turn them several times, allowing them to soak up the syrup. They will swell and absorb most of the syrup.

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  2. Carefully transfer each baba onto a dessert plate and brush with a generous amount of heated apricot preserves.

    Paint cake with syrup
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  3. Garnish the babas au rhum with vanilla Chantilly cream and serve immediately.

    Garnish and serve
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  4. Enjoy!

Recipe Tags: