Baba au rhum was one of the first things I ever made for my husband when we were first married, and we still love it. Most babas have a strong, slightly harsh rum bite, but I added a little vanilla to the syrup and it rounds out the flavor perfectly for me.–Ina Garten

A Barefoot Contessa baba au rhum on a white plate, topped with whipped cream.

Barefoot Contessa Baba au Rhum

5 / 4 votes
This baba au rhum is a classic French cake studded with currants, soaked with a vanilla-rum sauce, and brushed with apricot glaze.
David Leite
Servings8 servings
Calories640 kcal
Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time3 hours
Total Time3 hours 45 minutes


For the rum syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup good dark rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the whipped cream

  • 2 cups cold heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the baba

  • 1/3 cup dried currants
  • 1 tablespoon good dark rum
  • 5 tablespoons (2 1/2 oz) 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
  • 3/4 cup apricot preserves
  • Whipped Cream, (above)


Make the rum syrup

  • 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 heatproof measuring cup and allow to cool. Add the rum and vanilla and set aside.

Make the whipped cream

  • 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 overheat, or you’ll end up with butter!

Make the baba

  • 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 X 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°F (46°C) 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°F (190°C) and make the rum syrup. Bake the cake for about 50 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.
Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten

Adapted From

Barefoot in Paris

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 640 kcalCarbohydrates: 73 gProtein: 7 gFat: 31 gSaturated Fat: 19 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 154 mgSodium: 61 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 46 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2004 Ina Garten. Photo © 2004 Quentin Bacon. All rights reserved.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

Hungry For More?

Cheese Danish with Fruit Filling

A startlingly spectacular made-from-scratch cheese Danish that is going to forever change your notion of what a cheese Danish ought to be.

1 hr

Coconut Cream Pie

A retro classic with a velvety coconut custard buried beneath billows of sweet, luscious, airy meringue and cushioned by a tender, flaky, buttery lard crust. You’re welcome.

1 hr

Brownie Pie

Known in some parts as tar heel pie, this ridiculously rich chocolate brownie pie filling is impossibly fudgy, so much so it’s simply too gooey to consume out of hand.

4 hrs

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


    1. Paula, we haven’t tested freezing this cake, but most cakes do freeze well. Wrap the cake well in plastic wrap, and it should keep for two to three months. If you make it, please let us know how it turns out.

  1. If I don’t have a 5- cup pan but have a standard 12-cup Bundt pan, can I double the recipe? How long will it need to bake? Thanks for the help.

    1. Great question, TrishB. We’ve never tried doubling this recipe to use in a larger pan, so we can’t offer any suggestions. Bundt pans can be tricky and simply doubling a recipe doesn’t always work out the way we hope.