Baba au Rhum

Yield:
1 (9-inch) baba, 10 to 12 servings
Level:
Intermediate
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1/2-ounce)
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 unsalted stick, melted but not hot
  • Rum Soaking Syrup, recipe follows
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • Sweetened Whipped Cream, accompaniment
  • Fresh berries, accompaniment
Directions

In a small saucepan, scald the milk over medium heat. Remove from the heat and cool to lukewarm (110 degrees F).

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the milk, yeast and 1/2 cup of the flour and let sit until foamy. Stir to form a sponge and let rise until doubled, about 20 minutes.

Beating with the paddle attachments, add the eggs 1 at a time, followed by the remaining 1 1/2 cups of bread flour, the sugar, salt, and zests. When a soft dough forms, slowly beat in the butter to make a smooth dough. Let rest for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter and flour a large baba mold or 9-inch bundt cake pan.

Place the dough in the prepared pan, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until it has nearly reached the top of the mold, about 40 minutes.

Place on a sheet pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30 minutes, or until the top of the baba is golden brown and the sides have begun to pull away from the pan slightly.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Set the wire rack over a sheet pan. Using a toothpick or skewer, poke holes all over the top. Pour the warm syrup over the warm cake and let sit until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.

Turn the baba out onto the wire rack and let drain over the sheet pan for 30 minutes. Slowly drizzle the rum over the top in 2 additions.

Transfer to a cake platter or stand. Serve with the whipped cream and fruit.

Rum Soaking Syrup:

3 3/4 cups water

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar

4 teaspoons lemon zest

2 tablespoons orange zest

1 vanilla bean, split in 1/2 lengthwise and seeds scraped

10 tablespoons dark rum

In a medium saucepan, combine all of the ingredients except the rum. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and let stand for 30 minutes. Add the rum.

Strain through a fine mesh strainer and discard the solids. Cover to keep warm for soaking the baba.

Yield: 4 cups

Sweetened Whipped Cream:

2 cups heavy (whipping) cream

2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

1 teaspoon dark rum

In a large bowl, beat the cream with an electric mixer at medium speed until frothy. Add the sugar and rum and beat until the cream holds soft peaks, being careful not to over beat.

Cover with plastic and refrigerate for up to 1 hour before serving.


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    Last year my husband and I spent my Italian mother-in-law's birthday in Italy eating authentic baba cake. So this year in Virginia I tried to recreate this cake for her birthday. It turned out better than the real thing! In Italy the rum was SO strong it was almost impossible to eat. This version was light, delicious, and still full of rum goodness. I think this cake will become a yearly tradition!
    This is a cross between pudding, bread, and cake. Not all that in the flavor or texture department. Would not make again. It was easy but very time consuming to drizzle on the liquid.
    I was looking to replicate the amazing babas that I've enjoyed so much in France, and this recipe is the closest I've found. If you're serving this to guests, keep in mind that it's not for those who don't like rum or boozy-tasting desserts. Don't be surprised that the cake is bready and not too sweet - it soaks up all the flavor of the sweet syrup and rum. You'll have the best results and flavor if you use a super-premium aged rum (Anniversario or Bally's are two good options) and don't skimp on it; we poured more on each serving than was called for in the recipe.
    This Is The Best I Ever Had
    I highly recommend this recipe, its so good and even better chilled for the next day. Im glad that I added more rum than directed because its flavor would have been completely gone by the next day. Its a keeper... you're the best Emeril!
    I had never tried making anything quite like this. My daughter and I made an evening of it and the result was the most unusual texture and awesome taste! My entire family loved it.
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    Baba au Rhum

    Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse