Baba au Rhum

Total Time:
1 hr 40 min
10 min
1 hr
30 min

8 servings

  • 1/3 cup dried currants
  • 1 tablespoon good dark rum
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Rum Syrup, recipe follows
  • 3/4 cup apricot preserves
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Whipped Cream, recipe follows

Combine the currants and rum in a small bowl and set aside. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and brush a 5-cup (6 1/2 by 3 1/2-inch) tube pan or kugelhopf mold with the melted butter. Be sure to coat every crevice of the pan. Heat the milk to 115 degrees F and then pour it into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Stir in the yeast and sugar and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

With the mixer on low speed, first add the eggs, then the flour, salt, and remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Raise the speed to medium-high and beat for 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beater to form the dough into a ball. It will be very soft. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and allow it to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Drain the currants, fold them into the dough with a spatula, and spoon into the prepared pan. Smooth the top, cover the pan with a damp towel, and allow to rise until the dough reaches the top of the pan, 50 minutes to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and make the rum syrup.

Bake the cake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then tap it out of the cake pan onto a baking rack set over a sheet pan. Pour all of the rum syrup very slowly onto the warm cake, allowing it all to soak in thoroughly. Amazingly, the liquid will be absorbed into the cake, so be sure to use all of the syrup.

Heat the preserves with 1 tablespoon of water until runny, press it through a sieve, and brush it on the cake. Serve with whipped cream piped into the middle of the cake plus an extra bowl on the side.

Rum Syrup:

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup good dark rum

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place the sugar and 1 1/2 cups water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until the sugar dissolves. Pour into a 4-cup heat-proof measuring cup and allow to cool. Add the rum and vanilla and set aside.

Whipped Cream:

2 cups (1 pint) cold heavy cream

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. When it starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until the cream forms stiff peaks. Don't overbeat, or you'll end up with butter!

Yield: 4 cups

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    36 Reviews
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    Very good cake, with a very unique flavor. I made it for mother's day brunch and it was a big hit with everyone. I am constantly making new desserts, and this one probably won't make it into my regular rotation because it has more of an adult flavor and I tend to crave more childhood familar desserts, but I would higly recommend it if the ingredients sound good to you. It's a very solid recipe and a fun grown-up cake to make.  
    As far as baking experience, I bake bread all the time, so this was easy for me, but if you're not familiar with yeast and rising, I suppose this might be a bit challenging.
    I made this dessert for a Christma potluck party. It stole the show. I love the historical nature of this dessert. Serve this, if you want to impress.
    Oh yeah, forgot to mention. I soaked the currants in rum for two weeks prior to making the cake to give them more bite. It worked great!
    where do you find a 5 cup bundt pan?????? I ate this cake and loved it. 
    Want to make it, but cannot find a pan!!
    I make baba for special occasions. It usually turns out perfectly but she indeed can be a bit of a temptress, especially if the weather is humid. I like Ina's recipe in that she adheres to its original roots, however I do several things a little different. For one, I don't use a mixer, I blend everything with a wooden spoon and I find I get a better feel for the batter's elastic consistency that you need to look for. You sacrifice a little in leavening action as not as much air is introduced, but this cake was made long before mixers were invented. Also, no gilding the lily with whipped cream or apricot jam (I put up my own preserves but not to be used on this cake. I do, however, flambé with 151 rum just before serving. It makes a nice presentation, but be sure to blow out before singeing the top of the cake. This is an adult dessert of the highest order. If you have refined palate, you will love this bread cake.
    I'm French and I remember the taste of baba au rhum from when I was a kid. I'm also a late bloomer as far as cooking so that's my first cake... And despite poor cooking skills, it turned out great!
     WOW this was good. I loved it. My partner loved it - and she's hard to impress when it comes to food.
     Absolutely recommend it. This is awesomeness on a plate! Subtle mix of flavors ranging from little dry raisins (definitely recommend you get the dry current as they'll absorb the rhum better than regular raisins, to vanilla, to apricot, to... rhum of course!
     the rhum can be a bit overpowering. Depending on how much you crave rhum, I'd recommend a lighter version - I used 3/4 of the rhum syrup and my partner found it overpowering at first.
     Also.... EXPECT A "WET" CAKE! It shouldnt be soggy (or for the most part of it but it will be DRENCHED. That's how baba au rhum is supposed to be. Drenched in rhum syrup, which is runny and yummy the way it is :
    love it, so good!
    Wow OMG I will make this for my family and friends anytime, a must try amazing and worth the effert!!!!
    Absolutely worth going through all the steps. To die for!
     It reminded my husband and me of a similiar Italian cake we once ate in Munich. So we baked it on a cookie sheet, layered it, added vanilla pudding and cherry-jam and out came something close to the fantastic cake.
    I have to admit, the recipe seemed a bit challenging as I'd never made this type of cake before. However, it was not that hard. I was asked to make it, and the recipient loved it so much I am to make it for him every 3 weeks. His quote, "best I ever had" [and he buys them from professional bakeries]. I had to buy the mold online, but other than that, it turned out to be fun to bake and delicious to eat! It is rich and I think very important to serve the whipped cream with it when it is eaten. Also, very important to choose a good rum. I used 10 cane rum, pricey, but very good. AND of course, you must LOVE rum or you will not like this cake.
    The cake was very bready and it called for too much rum for my taste. But if you love rum this might be for you!
    Although this cake was relatively easy and good, I should have known/realized that pouring a rum simple syrup over the cake, and nearly 4 cups at that, would give it an overwhelming rum flavor. It is not at all a sweet cake and I would recommend much less syrup, or at least much less rum, if I/someone else were to make this.
    I would've never imagined I could make something like this but thanks to Ina, I did! It came out perfect!! I made a 1/2 recipe and baked it for 15 minutes in a 3 cup decorative (Saphir) bundt pan. It was the perfect size for 2-4 people. I ended up with extra rum sauce (even though I halved that, too) but refrigerated it and will probably use it to make an adult cocktail later.
    where do I get the cake pan. HELP
    Delicious! People in my family have never enjoyed currants. I substituted golden raisins and did exactly as recipe states. The end product was delicious with flavors and textures. IF you are someone who likes the end result per recipe name...try thi. The Barefoor Contessa continually wins!!!
    I was searching for an excellent recipe for Baba au Rum for a long time. I finally found it. So light and moist. Delicious!
    I did not make the cake yet. I bought the currants from from ANGELINA'S GOURMET.
    The cake was easy to make and tasted great. I served it for Christmas dinner, and even non-alcohol drinking people loved it. I would suggest getting a 5 or 6 cup bundt cake pan if you don't have one already-I used a larger size and it only filled about half way. I left out the currants and it seemed to make no difference.
    I saw the episode Ina made this cake and thought I'd love to try it, even though I am not a huge rum fan.
     OH MY GOD it was fantastic, i made it for a party and everyone enjoyed it!!!!!
     The only thing though, when you make the whipped cream, be sure NOT TO MAKE BUTTER!!! ie- lower speed for about 5? mins or so.
     The apricot glaze also made the cake shine... its very sweet and counteracts with the strong rum flavor and overall makes the cake taste excellent, so when you make this cake, make lots of the glaze. It's extremely simple to make, but a hand strainer is absolutely required! The homeamde whipped cream and the vanilla also make this recipe shine.
     If you love a little rum flavor and sweetness, this cake is for you hands down.
     THANKS, INA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I have had a rum cake very similar to this one only it soaked in rum and on top of the glaze were neatly placed sliced almonds. This was bought at a bakery and they sold it 'by the pound' because it was so moist and 'wet". It was delicious. It had been baked in about a 3 inches tall cookie pan. I could not find the recipe for that cake anywhere, I think this is the one but without the currents. I know it is delicous. That one did not have whipped cream. I can't wait to make this again. I asked the bakery for the recipe and like many good restaurants only in "jest"...they said they would have to kill me after giving me the recipe. Cute! I've heard that from many chefs! Keep up the great work, Ina! Love your recipes!
    This cake is so delicious it was worth all the effort that it took to make it. Definitely not the first cake you want to make if you are a beginner. If you are a beginner, once you have made a few, come back to this one for sure. Excellent texture and taste. I make cakes for every birthday in our family and this has been my huband's choice for the last three years in a row! Great recipe, Ina. I always look forward to your new episodes!
    I followed the recipe to the letter other than adding a tsp of vanilla to the batter and some grated lime zest. I also used a 6 cup savarin mold. The recipe is perfect, and the cake is so light and tasty. I will make it over and over. Barefoot Contessa, you never disappoint us. Thanks so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    This recipe took me about 3.5 hours from start to finish; the only step I omitted was the final glaze of apricot preserves (I forgot to buy them).
     I used gold instant yeast since it works well in sugary breads/cakes. The dough had no problem doubling in size during the first rise, but after I transfered it to my buttered bunt pan and added the currants it wasn't rising very well. I kept the damp towel over the pan and placed it in the warm oven (heated to 180 then turned off). The dough rose to the top of the pan nicely with that help. :)
     I baked it for 25 minutes. My bunt pan is non-stick and was well-buttered, so the cake popped right out. I poured the rum syrup over it and as promised it was absorbed.
     The texture is spongy and very light--not too sweet. I second the suggestion of adding some rum to the whipped cream. A very good dessert and a big hit with my fussy eaters.
    After taking this cake to work last winter, I got so many requests to "make it again Gary" that I did so three more times. So, I'm glad we are back in the festive time of year and we get a change to play "Spike Your Co-workers" again. I found that a couple tablespoons of rum in the whipped cream adds a nice touch as well.
    I'm not a great baker but this recipe turned out wonderful on the first try. I don't think it even needs the glaze. Be warned, it takes longer than suggested by the summary. Not active time but waiting time so don't start it at 10pm thinking you will be in bed by midnight.
    I took this to a small Christmas party and got many compliments on it.
    The recipe is easy to follow and understand. The end result is tasteful and definite people pleaser.
    I made this fairly late at night and didn't even try it till morning... It was still great, and was enjoyed for several days! The syrup made a sort of lightly candied-cake texture after the cake had "aged" for a day or so. The cake itself is only lightly sweet (which I love) and the syrup is not overpowering.
    This cake is to die for.
     Moist, flavorful, and delicious
    The Best Cake ever! moist, and delishious. you husband was right, the best cake.
    I made this cake with currants and cranberry, used all the syrup as instructed, the cake held well.Used the rum ,the same amount given in the recipe
     it came out good.
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