Rum cake (Baba au rhum)

Whether it was due to the French presence in Lebanon or other factors, the fact remains that the Lebanese remain strongly influenced by French culture, including (especially) French food and French pastries. Every neighborhood boasts at least one pastry shop offering croissants, éclairs, mille-feuilles, babas, petits-fours and sablés.

A baba au rhum seems like a fitting cake for the holiday season.

Rum can be substituted for another liqueur, such as Kirsch or Grand-Marnier.

The cake can be baked and frozen and will keep in the fridge for well over a week.

This recipe is adapted from Emeril Lagasse and Gaston Lenôtre.



  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 4 tsp of active dry yeast
  • 2 cups of bread flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp of sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 oz (1 stick) of unsalted butter, melted and lukewarm
  • 1/2 cup of apricot jam (heat in the microwave for one minute and strain)
  • candied apricots to garnish (optional) or fresh berries


  • 3 3/4 cups of water
  • 2 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 10 tbsp of dark rum
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp of orange blossom water


  • 2 cups of whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp of powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract


  1. Scald the milk and cool it to lukewarm (110F). Combine the milk, yeast, and 1/2 cup of flour. Set it aside until foamy. Stir to form a sponge and let rise until doubled in bulk. Add the eggs, the rest of the flour, sugar and salt. As soon as a dough forms, add the butter and mix until the dough is smooth. Set it aside for 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375F. Butter and grease a 9-inch bundt cake pan. Place the dough in the pan, cover it in plastic and let it rise in a warm place. When the dough reaches the top of the mold, place it in a large baking sheet in the middle of the oven and bake it for 30 minutes. The cake should be golden-brown. Cool it on a rack for 10 minutes then poke holes all over the top. Pour the warm syrup over the cake and let the liquid absorb. Turn it out, brush the apricot jam over it  and serve with whipping cream. Garnish with glazed apricots if desired.

For the rum syrup: Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Take away from the heat and add the rum.

For the whipping cream: Place the cream and sugar and vanilla in a mixer bowl; beat until the cream thickens, about 5 minutes. Keep chilled.

NOTE: You may wish to add some orange rind to the syrup; cut a sliver of orange peel and place in the saucepan, discarding after the syrup has boiled.






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  1. Posted December 19, 2011 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    Looks like a great cake!

  2. Posted December 19, 2011 at 2:53 am | Permalink

    Stunning presentation! Might I suggest Zacapa Rum, however I do like the idea of Grand Marnier!

  3. Posted December 19, 2011 at 3:17 am | Permalink

    I’m not much into dessert, but I love rum cake… never tried to make it myself, but there’s always time for that right?

  4. Posted December 19, 2011 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    Mmmhhh, mouthwatering! that is one of my favorite desserts.



  5. Posted December 19, 2011 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    Elegant and super spongy cake.

  6. Posted December 19, 2011 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    Quelle belle recette! !moi je vais remplacer le rhum avec le jus d’orange.

  7. Posted December 19, 2011 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    The cake has a very smooth and light texture. The rum syrup sounds terrific.

  8. Posted December 19, 2011 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Wow, that looks perfectly moist and simply perfect!

  9. Posted December 19, 2011 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    I haven’t had one of these in years and have never made one. For some reason I remember it having custard in it… i checked and see that it can have custard or the cream. What a great dessert with all that rum syrup… may be a great thing for the holidays… thanks for the recipe!

  10. Posted December 19, 2011 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Looks perfect – just in time for the indulgent period coming up to New Year, especially with the addition of rum! :)

  11. Posted December 19, 2011 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    There is a local place famous for it’s ice cream custards and specialty flavors. At thiw time of year, my favorite flavor is called Nutcracker. It’s a butter rum flavored ice cream custard with four kinds of nuts, including pistachios. It made me think of you ;)

    This baba sounds absolutely delicious!

  12. Joumana
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    @Susan: i would love it! :)

  13. Posted December 19, 2011 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    It looks delicious. Love desserts with rum. Happy Holidays!

  14. Posted December 19, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Excellent! I love a beautifully, tall, booze-soaked cake for the holidays. I have made numerous rum cakes in the past, but this year, I’m attempting bourbon as a new adventure.

  15. Posted December 19, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Just gorgeous – sorry i haven’t been in touch – i am saving your interview for after the holiday – tehre was just too much going on and being 7 weeks from my due date i couldn’t fit it all in. But January will be the month.

  16. Posted December 19, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    This looks great! I love the varieties of the infamous Rum Cake! I grew up making Jamaican Black Cake in Jamaica and seeing how popular its becoming lately really makes me smile! It started as Christmas Pudding in England in the middle ages, and carried into the Caribbean becoming Fruitcake. We call it Black Cake mostly. The way I mince my fruit however, doesnt allow for huge chunks of fruit as in many fruitcakes which can make it dry. I soak my fruit for a year prior to baking in Jamaican Rum and Port Wine. It stays fresh for a year and super moist!

  17. Posted December 19, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    This looks lovely. I haven’t had Baba in years. It is very versatile.

  18. Posted December 19, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Comme une montagne gourmande d’où s’écoulerait de délicieux torrents de rhum

  19. Posted December 20, 2011 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    The French reign in the Italian region of Campania left its signature too. In Naples monoportion Babà al rhum is a very typical sweet.

  20. Posted December 20, 2011 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Yummy looking cake, so apt for the festive season:) I would love to try a piece of this cake!

  21. Posted December 20, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    Baba rhum is another precious food inherited from the Lebanese descent that Brazilians adore. Gosh I haven’t had this in so long…It reminds me so much of downtown São Paulo.

  22. Posted December 21, 2011 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Ooohhh…now this lovely thing reminds me of my time in France. I love that it’s a mix of Emeril and Gaston’s recipes, can you think of 2 more different chefs? No, neither can I!

  23. Posted December 22, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely stunning cake! I would love to have a piece now…guess I should make it!

  24. Posted December 23, 2011 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    Beautiful! One for me :) My grandmother makes a similar cake, so lovely!

  25. Posted May 6, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Hey there, You have done a fantastic job. I’ll certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I’m confident
    they will be benefited from this website.

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