This year’s dessert at my table for the YWCA Men Who Cook Event will be Baba au Rhum or Rum Cake. The theme for my table is French Bistro from the Lorraine & Alsace regions of France, and Baba au Rhum is a classic dish from the region. Consisting of a soft Brioche style batter containing rum soaked currants, baked in a Kugelhopf pan and later soaked with rum and apricot glaze, Baba au Rum is sweet, spongy, and all too delicious.
You may ask, what’s a Kugelhopf pan? A Kugelhopf is a German yeasted coffee cake baked in a tall fluted pan. The closest ancestor we have to the Kugelhopf is the Bundt pan. Bundt pans are totally American, developed in the 1950’s in Minneapolis, MN. I searched high and low for an authentic pan, but couldn’t come up with a Kugelhopf pan unless I wanted to spend $40 or more at Amazon. So I revised the recipe so that it worked with my Bundt pan. The results are similar, and the shorter and wider Bundt certainly doesn’t take away from the taste of the recipe.
Baba au Rhum (Rum Cake)Adapted from a recipe by Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. The original recipe called for a Kugelhopf pan. This version uses the more popular and accessible Bundt pan.
- 1/2 cup dried Currants
- 1 – 2 tbsp dark rum
- 6 tbsp Butter, softened
- 3/4 cup Milk
- 1 1/2 package or 3 tsp Yeast
- 3 tbsp Sugar
- 3 Eggs
- 2 1/2 cups Flour
- 3/4 tsp Salt
- Rum Syrup, recipe below
- 3/4 cup Apricot Preserves
- 1 tbsp Water
- Combine currants and rum in a small bowl. Set aside and allow to soak.
- Heat milk to 115 degrees F and pour it into a mixer bowl and then stir in yeast and sugar. Allow to sit for 5 minutes
- Turn mixer on to Low. Add eggs, and then flour, salt and butter. When combined turn mixer to med-high and mix for 5 minutes. Scrape down bowl, the dough should be very soft. Cover with towel and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Thoroughly spray Bundt pan with non-stick spray. Drain currants, reserving the excess rum. Fold the currants into the risen dough and spoon into the Bundt pan. Smooth the top, cover and allow to rise again for about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare the rum syrup.
- Bake cake for about 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then tap out the cake onto a baking rack set over a sheet pan. Pour all the rum syrup very slowly onto the warm cake, allowing it to all soak into the cake. The liquid will all be absorbed, so drain the sheet pan and reapply until all the syrup is gone.
- Heat apricot preserves with water until runny and strain with a sieve. Brush it onto the cake. Serve with whipped cream piped in the middle and extra on the side.
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 1/2 cup Water
- 2/3 cup dark rum
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
- Place sugar and water in a pan and cook on high until sugar is dissolved. Pour into 4 cup heat proof measure and allow to cool. Add rum (use the reserved rum from the currants along with extra to make 2/3 cup) and vanilla.