Russian Monday: "Romovay Baba" - Rum Baba

When I was a child we were allowed to go by ourselves to the local food store for simple shopping such as getting bread or milk. Very often in my early age I had basic grocery shopping as a chore. Our nearby bakery was nothing special. They stocked few varieties of breads, some breakfast pastries as well as few cakes were always available, but that was all. But sometimes, if you were lucky to come to the store at the right time, you could find number of sweet treats behind glass display. One of such treats was rum baba, soaked in sweet syrup, rum and covered with white sugar icing.

So once in a while I used to come home from my shopping trip with an extra item. Nobody complained of course, tea kettle was immediately put on and sweet baba was served regardless what time of the day it was. We have never baked baba at home, so I don't have family baba recipe. Recently I have recalled some of my childhood sweet delights and decided to give rum baba a try. I used recipe from Julia Child’s book and my baba came out just perfect. Probably, even a little better then I remember :) I don't have proper baking molds for the needed shape, but I am very happy how my rum baba turned out. Just imagine very light and spongy pastry soaked in aromatic syrup melting in your mouth when you can hold on to only one thought - "one more bite, please"!

Rum baba is creation of Polish bakers, but I would love to include this dessert into collection of Russian recipes from my childhood.

For more Russian recipes, visit the Russian Cuisine page.

Note: If you don't have baba mold, mold these in anything you've got: custard cups or muffin tins; small bundt cake mold or brioche mold are great.

Storing: Un-soaked babas can be well wrapped and kept at room temperature for a day or two or frozen for a month. Thaw, still wrapped, at room temperature.

Makes: 6


  • 6 Tbsp. lukewarm water (about 100F)1
  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup raisins or currant
  • 1/3 cup dark rum
  • butter for brushing the molds

For the syrup:
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • reserved dark rum (from soaking the raisins), or more to taste


Pour the warm water into a medium bowl and sprinkle over the yeast and sugar. Add the egg and stir briefly with a rubber spatula just to mix.

Put the flour in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and add the yeast mixture. Mix on low speed for a minute or two, just until the ingredients are blended. Increase the speed to medium-low and beat for about 8 minutes, until the mixture is smooth. Add the butter and beat on low until the butter is absorbed, a couple of minutes.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and cover with plastic wrap or kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in warm place for about 20 minutes, just until slightly risen.

Wile the dough in proofing, soak the raisins with rum in a small bowl. Brush the molds with butter and set aside.

When the dough has risen, drain the raisins, reserving the rum, and stir them into the dough with a rubber spatula. (Your dough will look very cheesy, don't be alarm, that's how it should be). Using a teaspoon fill the mold to the halfway point. Let the dough rest in warm place until it fills the molds, about 30-35 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven.

Bake the risen babas for about 20 minutes, or until they are golden. Unmold the babas onto the cooling rack and cool before soaking in syrup.

Note: The babas can be made ahead to this point, wrapped airtight, and frozen for about 2 weeks. The should be at room temperature before soaking in the sugar syrup.

To make the syrup: Put the water and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Boil for 30 seconds and then turn of the heat.

Line a jelly-roll pan with waxed paper and set a cooling rack on a top of it. Drop the babas, one or two at a time, into the syrup and let them soak, turning them ones, for about a minute. Lay the soaked babas onto the cooling rack. Then, sprinkle some dark rum over the babas. Serve with your favorite hot drink.

inspired by recipe from "Baking with Julia" cookbook


Medeja said...
March 23, 2015 at 4:12 AM  

This also reminds me of my childhood :) was one of the most delicious things :D

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...
March 23, 2015 at 4:33 AM  

A delightful dessert! I love rum babas and these look very tempting.



La Table De Nana said...
March 23, 2015 at 8:21 AM  

I love the pretty..and the teapot I see..i part of your collection.What a gift that was.
I think that must have made you take responsibilty very young..and I love the idea that the kettle was put on no matter what time of day.As if celebrating because you had bought babas.
I must try these.Thank you.

Elen Smirnova said...
March 23, 2015 at 8:46 AM  

Какое воздушное сочное тесто!
И очень красиво получилось!))

Dominique Allmon said...
March 23, 2015 at 9:14 AM  

I am of Polish descent so I know what you are talking about, Yelena. I always loved this moist dessert and was never quite sure what was more delicious, rum baba or the equally moist savarins that my mother used to bake as well... Wonderful food styling! Greetings! - Dominique

handmade by amalia said...
March 23, 2015 at 11:02 AM  

This is my first visit to your blog and I'm greeted by this amazing cake! But then if I'd found you sooner I see I could have had scones :-)

Shibi Thomas said...
March 23, 2015 at 1:01 PM  

I liked how you made them in mini bunt pans. It simply looks delicious with the syrup. Also I loved the way you connected the bread with your story of going to buy bread, I just was picturing it in mind :)

theroadtoserendipity said...
March 23, 2015 at 1:35 PM  

We made a large rum baba in a big bundt pan for one of our lecturers as he was from Bermuda and we called it a "Bermuda Rum Cake". It didn't have fruit in it but was pretty similar to this recipe. The end result was so delicious, he went out and bought the ingredients to make one for his family. Your's look particularly scrumptious. I am going to have to make some more when we light Brunhilda up for the winter. Cheers for the excellent share Yelena, you are an amazing cook, and sharing your Russian recipes with us is very generous of you and goes a long way towards spreading the cultural love around the world :)

Banana said...
March 24, 2015 at 9:01 PM  


I just wanted to say thank you so much for all of the different kinds of recipes you put up here.

I've recently started dating a Russian so I wanted to know more about the food he's eaten/likes to eat and I came across your awesome website.

I made my first Russian dish tonight, the recipe was from your page. Only three of us ate, but more than half of the casserole was eaten. There's only about a fourth left, if that. I look forward to trying your other recipes. Again, thank you so much!

Yelena Strokin said...
March 24, 2015 at 10:36 PM  

Your comment makes me so happy! I am glad that you enjoy my blog. If you lilt to learn about any particular Russian dish, please let me know, I will post a recipe with step by step photos.

Angie Schneider said...
March 25, 2015 at 4:10 AM  

They are so adorable in mini bundt pans. Gorgeous clicks, Yelena, as always!

Zorica Pavlovic said...
March 25, 2015 at 3:30 PM  

Yelena, I made them today...they are sooooo good. Check my blog tomorrow I will post it. Thank you very much on this great recipe. Warm regards:))))

Yelena Strokin said...
March 25, 2015 at 3:52 PM  

Zorica, how wonderful!!! Very happy that you made them, they are divine!! I will visit your blog tomorrow.

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