Cakes

Baba au Rhum Recipe (Classic Rum Baba)

4.67 from 3 votes
Learn how to make our luscious Baba au Rhum Recipe (Classic Rum Baba) and indulge in this iconic French boozy dessert at home!
Two soft, delicate Baba au Rhum (Classic Rum Baba) cakes are served with fresh strawberry and whipped cream. Syrup is drizzled from top to bottom.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE: Our Baba au Rhum Recipe (Classic Rum Baba) is an iconic, indulgent treat. This sweet and boozy Paris classic has a wonderfully moist texture, rich, sophisticated flavor, and vintage charm. Plus, because it’s a dessert you make ahead, it’s perfect for a party!

  • Egg-enriched dough made with yeast creates delectably brioche-like cakes that are light but substantial enough to soak up the syrup.
  • An indulgent spiced blend of rum, butter, honey, and sugar makes a smooth, warmly spicy syrup with an irresistible caramel note.

We love our cookies and brownies at Bigger Bolder Baking. Still, a fine dessert like Heavenly Chocolate Crème Caramel, Steamed Sticky Toffee Pudding, and The Perfect Pavolova in 5 Simple Steps makes any dinner a celebration. Our simple directions and my Pro Chef Tips give you the info and confidence to nail delicious and fancy recipes and have fun doing it!

Table of Contents

Two soft, delicate Baba au Rhum (Classic Rum Baba) cakes are served with fresh strawberry and whipped cream. Syrup is being drizzled from top to bottom.

What is Baba au Rhum Recipe (Classic Rum Baba)?

  • Baba au Rhum (Classic Rum Baba) is a traditional French dessert made by soaking small cakes made from yeast dough in a delicious rum syrup.
  • Baba cakes have a wonderfully luxurious texture because they’re made from an eggy, brioche-like dough. The baba cakes are only lightly sweetened since they will absorb the sugary rum syrup.
  • Although Baba au Rhum is known as a French dessert, its roots may be from Poland. “Baba” possibly comes from the Eastern European cake, babka. The pastry chef Nicolas Stohrer, who first doused the small cakes in rum, is the namesake of the Parisian bakery that still makes Baba au Rhum today.

Tools You Need

Key Ingredients and Why

Babas:

  • Raisins

    • Plump, moist raisins add sweetness and textural interest
    • Soaking raisins in boiling water before mixing them into the batter makes them juicer and softer.
    • Instead of dark raisins, you can use milder golden raisins, dried cranberries, or chopped, dried apricots, cherries, dates, or figs.
  • Eggs

    • Eggs make the baba plush and rich, with a pretty golden color.
    • For best results, get eggs that are straight from the fridge to room temperature before you mix your dough.
  • All-purpose flour

    • All-purpose flour, also known as “plain flour“, gives the cakes just enough structure while keeping them tender.
  • Granulated sugar

    • Sugar feeds yeast, converting it into gas, making the dough rise and making the babas light and airy.
    • Sugar helps to retain moisture in the dough.
  • Instant yeast

    • Instant yeast does not require sponging and gives a quicker, more efficient rise than active dry yeast.
    • If you use active dry yeast: for every teaspoon of instant yeast, use 1 ¼ teaspoons of active dry yeast.
    • Bring the liquid in your recipe to blood temperature and mix in active dry yeast. Let it sit at room temperature for roughly 5 minutes until foam forms on top.
  • Salt

    • Salt enhances the flavor and strengthens the gluten, giving the perfect crumb.
  • Butter

    • Butter contributes to the cakes’ moisture, helping keep them soft and tender.
    • Make sure your butter is softened correctly. Specifically, you’ll know it’s soft enough when you push the butter, and it makes an indent, but your finger doesn’t easily squish right through.

Syrup:

  • Rum

    • Rum’s distinctive, pleasantly boozy flavor, with notes of caramel and vanilla, gives the dessert its flavorful kick.
    • Use dark rum for the best flavor.
  • Granulated sugar

    • Sugar sweetens the syrup.
  • Honey

    • Honey provides a subtle floral, earthy sweetness. It also gives the mixture more body and thickness.
  • Orange zest

    • Orange zest contains flavor-filled citrus oil. Its fresh, bright taste is essential to balance out the richness of the dessert.
  • Cloves

    • Cloves add warm spice to the syrup and make the dish wonderfully aromatic.
  • Vanilla extract

    • Vanilla’s warm floral essence enhances the flavors in the syrup.

For serving:

  • Whipped cream

    • A dollop of softly whipped cream is the ideal complement and balance to this rum babas recipe. Whip heavy cream to soft peaks and put any extra in a bowl on the table.

How to Make Baba au Rhum

  • Prepare the raisins:
    • Combine the raisins with boiling water. Soak for at least 30 minutes.
    • Drain and keep 1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) of the soaking liquid. Set aside.
  • Make the baba dough:
    • Whisk the reserved soaking liquid with the eggs. Set aside.
    • Using a stand mixer (or a mixing bowl and a wooden spoon), combine flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.
    • Work in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Then, stir in the egg mixture and raisins.
    • Knead for five minutes. The dough will still be sticky, but it should be soft and smooth.
    • Place the dough in a large, oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 60 to 90 minutes.
  • Make the soaking syrup:
    • In a small saucepan, combine the syrup ingredients: water, sugar, honey, orange zest, and cloves. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
    • Lower the heat and gently simmer the mixture for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
    • Stir in ¾ cup (6 fl oz/180 ml) of rum and the vanilla extract.
    • Cover and let the syrup cool.
  • Shape the babas: 
    • Butter a 12-cup muffin tin.
    • Divide the baba dough into 12 equal pieces (approximately 2 oz/57 g each).
    • On a lightly floured surface, roll the pieces into a ball and place into the muffin tin.
    • Cover pan with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
    • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Bake the babas:
    • Bake the babas for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.
  • Soak the babas:
    • Two hours before serving, place the babas upside down in a baking dish.
    • Pour the syrup over the babas.
    • During the two-hour soak, turn the babas a few times so all sides of the babas are covered in syrup.
  • Serve the Baba au Rhum:
    • Place a baba on a serving plate and drizzle with a tablespoon of rum and a dollop of whipped cream.

Step-by-step instructions on how to make Baba au Rhum: 2 hours before serving, soak baked Baba au Rhum cakes in syrup in the baking pan.

Can I Make Baba au Rhum in Advance?

Yes, you can make Baba au Rhum in advance.

  • You can prepare the babas and syrup two days in advance.
  • Hold the unsoaked babas and the syrup separately in airtight containers at room temperature.
  • Don’t soak the babas in the syrup until two hours before you plan to serve them.

How to Store Leftovers

  • Be sure Baba au Rhum leftovers are cooled to room temperature
  • Store the leftover Baba au Rhum cakes and syrup separately in airtight containers.
  • Reheat (if desired) in a low oven just until warm.
  • Use leftovers within a day.

FAQs

  • What can I use instead of a muffin pan?

    • You can also use traditional baba molds, which are cylindrical and make individual servings.
    • Savarin molds, which are larger ring-shaped pans used to bake cakes similar to babas, can also be used.
    • Some bakers also make Rum Baba in a bundt ban to make a larger cake.
  • What’s the difference between cakes like babas, enriched-dough that is leavened with yeast, and cakes leavened with baking powder?

    • Using yeast to leaven cakes is an older cooking technique than using baking powder.
    • Because of the long fermentation process, cakes leavened with yeast have a deeper, slightly tangier flavor than cakes leavened with baking powder.
    • The texture of enriched-dough cakes made with yeast is more substantial and slightly chewier than the fluffy texture cakes made with baking powder.
  • Can I make this Baba au Rhum Recipe without eggs?

    • Yes, you can make Baba au Rhum without eggs. Note that eggs are a crucial ingredient in this brioche-like dough, so substituting another ingredient for the eggs will yield a result that differs in taste and texture from the original recipe.
    • Vegan bakers suggest using 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed plus 3 tablespoons of water instead of an egg, plus a pinch of turmeric to give the baba dough its signature golden color. Check out our 12 Best Egg Substitutes for Baking and How to Use Them.

One soft, delicate Baba au Rhum (Classic Rum Baba) cake is cut into halves and served with fresh strawberry and whipped cream. The close-up shot shows its fine crumb and loads of raisins. Syrup is being drizzled from top to bottom.

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips

  • This dough should be very sticky. It can be challenging to knead by hand, and if you are, try to use as little flour as possible to keep the babas nice and light.
  • When dividing the dough, I like to weigh each piece to ensure the babas bake evenly. Each piece of dough should be about 2 oz/57 g.
  • The babas will need to soak in the rum syrup for two hours before serving, so be sure to plan for this time.
  • You can prepare the babas and syrup two days in advance. Hold everything separately in airtight containers at room temperature. Don’t soak the babas in the syrup until two hours before you plan to serve them.
  • This is a very boozy dessert, and there isn’t a way around it. It is best served to adults who are comfortable consuming alcohol.

More Boozy Dessert Recipes

Baba au Rhum Recipe (Classic Rum Baba)

4.67 from 3 votes
Learn how to make our luscious Baba au Rhum Recipe (Classic Rum Baba) and indulge in this iconic French boozy dessert at home!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 12 servings
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 25 minutes
Soak Time 2 hours
Total Time 4 hours 25 minutes
Learn how to make our luscious Baba au Rhum Recipe (Classic Rum Baba) and indulge in this iconic French boozy dessert at home!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients

For the Babas

  • 1 cup (8 oz/240 ml) boiling water
  • ½ cup (2½ oz/71 g) raisins
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • cup (8 ¾ oz/247 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • teaspoons instant yeast
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (4 oz/115 g) butter, softened

For the Rum Syrup

  • cups (14 fl oz/420 ml) water
  • ¾ cup (6 oz/170 g) granulated sugar
  • cup (7½ oz/213 g) honey
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 3 whole cloves
  • ¾ cup (6 fl oz/180 ml) plus ¾ cup (6 fl oz/180 ml) rum, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream, for serving

Instructions

Soak the Raisins

  • In a heatproof bowl, combine the boiling water and raisins, cover and let soak for a minimum of 30 minutes. Drain and set aside, reserving a ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) of the soaking liquid.
  • Whisk the reserved soaking liquid with the 4 eggs and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (or by hand with a large bowl and wooden spoon), combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt.
  • Work in the butter until the mixture is crumbly, then stir in the egg mixture followed by the drained raisins. Knead until you have a soft, smooth but very sticky dough that just comes together, about 5 minutes.
  • Place in a large, oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled, about 60-90 minutes.

Make the Rum Syrup

  • In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar, honey, orange zest and cloves and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  • Lower the heat to allow the syrup to very gently simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat, stir in ¾ cup (6 fl oz/180 ml) of rum and the vanilla extract. Cover the pot and let the syrup cool.
  • Shape and bake the babas: once the dough has risen, butter a 12-cup muffin tin.
  • Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces (2 oz/57 g) and on a lightly floured work surface, roll each into a ball and place in a muffin cup. Cover gently with plastic wrap and let rise again until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  • Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Bake the babas for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. If not serving right away, let cool and then store in an airtight container.

Soak the Babas

  • Two hours before serving, place the babas upside down in a baking dish and pour the syrup over them. Turn the babas in the syrup a few times to allow them to fully soak up the syrup.
  • To serve, place a baba on a serving dish, drizzle with about 1 tablespoon of rum and a dollop of lightly whipped cream.

Recipe Notes

  • This dough should be very sticky. It can be challenging to knead by hand, and if you are, try to use as little flour as possible to keep the babas nice and light.
  • When dividing the dough, I like to weigh each piece to ensure the babas bake evenly. Each piece of dough should be about 2 oz/57 g.
  • The babas will need to soak in the rum syrup for two hours before serving, so be sure to plan for this time.
  • You can prepare the babas and syrup two days in advance. Hold everything separately in airtight containers at room temperature. Don’t soak the babas in the syrup until two hours before you plan to serve them.
  • This is a very boozy dessert, and there isn’t a way around it. It is best served to adults who are comfortable consuming alcohol.
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Mike
Mike
1 month ago

Question, Why can’t your lovely delicious recipes be saved on Pinterest? Am I missing something within the recipes?

Chiara
Chiara
1 month ago

I am looking forward to trying this recipe. How do I adjust this Baba Al Rhum recipe if I do not want to add raisins, dried cranberries, chopped, dried apricots, cherries, dates, figs or anything else to it?

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

Weeknight Family Favorites Chapter from the Bigger Bolder Baking Every Day Cookbook