What’s In A Name?

Rum CakeI heard about Baba Au Rhum for the first time while watching a French documentary about living without electricity. I remember how the french went OOH!! AHHH!! when someone made Baba Au Rhum, literally like a kid with a big tub of ice cream. I’ve never tasted one but essentially it is a cake soaked with rum. All Baba Au Rhum recipes (at least those in french language) call for yeast, including this Alain Ducasse’s. I am a little bit hesitant in using yeast, my track record hasn’t been consistent – occasionally I can smell and taste a trace of yeast in my bread. So when I saw this Mimi Thorisson’s recipe on Baba Au Rhum without yeast, I grabbed it.

Rum Cake 02
It is so very simple, the rum mixture is excellent, my kitchen smells great, the cake is delicious and I like how she whisked the egg white separately from the yolk, like in a mousse, before folding back, resulting in a light cake. C’etait excellent! The adults love it, we love it, the four year old Antoine couldn’t stop eating it. I bet he slept well that night.

Rum Cake 06
The funny thing is I could not call this Baba Au Rhum. The moment I said this is Baba Au Rhum, immediately comments flew from all directions. This is not Baba Au Rhum, Baba au Rhum is spongy and lighter than this, did you use yeast blablabla. Eventually they settled a name for my cake, Gateau au Rhum (cake with rum).

“This is better than Baba Au Rhum, because the real Baba Au Rhum is too wet with rum.” Oookay. What matters the most is I made two batches and both were gone very quickly.

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose. – William Shakespeare.

Baba Au Rhum or not, this cake is delicious.

adapted from Manger

120 gr all purpose flour
10 gr baking powder
150 gr white sugar
3 eggs, separated
50 gr melted butter
3 tbsp warm milk

Rum syrup
150 ml water
120 ml dark rum – I used white rum
150 gr white sugar

  • Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease and dust the cake mold.
  • Cream egg yolks and sugar. Add the warm milk, melted butter, sifted flour and baking powder. Mix well.
  • Whisk egg whites till stiff, and gently fold into first batter. Pour into the cake mold.
  • Bake for 25 minutes. Remove and cool about 10 minutes. The cake will deflate a little, it’s okay.
  • Prepare the rum syrup. On a medium to light heat, heat the water and sugar till it starts boiling. Add the rum and lower heat for 2 minutes. Set aside until cool.
  • Poke the cake with tooth pick and pour one third to half of the rum slowly. Then put inside the fridge to cool for few hours.
  • Before serving, unmold the cake and pour a little bit more of the rum on top. Serve with whip cream.

Note: Glaze the cake with warmed, strained apricot jam if you like.


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