Classic French Rum Baba

Rum Baba
Owen Franken/Getty Images
Ratings (35)
  • Total: 2 hrs 5 mins
  • Prep: 100 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Yield: 12 Servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
435 Calories
19g Fat
51g Carbs
10g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12 Servings
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 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 baba rum full of complex layers of flavor, while still holding to the traditional French recipe.

Rum Baba is also known as Baba aux Rhum. 

Ingredients

  • For 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
  • 12 baba molds
  • For 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.

  2. Stir the yeast and the warm water together in a large bowl and allow the yeast to dissolve for 5 minutes.

  3. Lightly beat the eggs into the yeast and water.

  4. In a small bowl, mix the flour, sugar, citrus zests, and salt together.

  5. Then stir the mixture into the yeast and eggs.

  6. Knead the dough with the softened butter for about 5 minutes, until it turns soft and elastic.

  7. Cover the dough and allow it to rise for 1 hour until it doubles in size.

  8. While the dough is rising, soak the raisins or currants in 3 tablespoons of rum.

  9. Once the dough has doubled, beat the rum-soaked fruit into it.

  10. Grease the baba molds and divide the dough among them.

  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.

  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.

  14. Immediately remove the babas from the molds and allow them to cool on a wire rack.

Make the Rum Syrup

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  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.

  3. Remove the syrup from the heat and stir the rum and vanilla extract into the mixture.

For Serving

  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.

  2. Carefully transfer each baba onto a dessert plate and brush with a generous amount of heated apricot preserves.

  3. Garnish the babas au rhum with vanilla Chantilly cream and serve immediately.

  4. Enjoy!