Sourdough Baba au Rhum

Sourdough Baba au Rhum! A classic pastry updated with the addition of sourdough starter. The enriched cake is doused with rum syrup and brushed with apricot glaze for a kick of fruit flavor. Top the babas with whipped cream for a luscious finish.

a sourdough baba au rhum on a plate in a pool of rum syrup

I’ve said it a million times: How do you make a good thing better? Make it with sourdough starter!

If you want to make a sophisticated dessert, you’ve come to the right place. Sourdough Baba au Rhum is a grown up dessert that’s not too sweet.

If you don’t have a sourdough starter, you can make one using my method. In the meantime, you can make Baba Au Rhum using commercial yeast.

How to make Sourdough Baba au Rhum:

two photos showing how to make sourdough baba au rhum batter
  • Start the baba dough by making a sponge with active sourdough starter.
  • After mixing, the dough will have the texture of a very thick batter or very soft dough.
two photos showing how to fold raisins into sourdough baba au rhum dough
  • Allow the dough to ferment at room temperature for several hours.
  • Occasionally “fold” the dough using a plastic bowl scraper.
  • Refrigerate the dough overnight and finish the recipe the next day.
  • After a night the the refrigerator, fold the rum-raisins into the dough and continue with the recipe.
three side by side photos showing sourdough babas before rising, after rising and after baking
  • Do not fill the pans more than 1/2 full. Allow the dough to rise to the top of the pans and bake until golden brown.
two sourdough babas soaking in rum syrup
  • Soak the babas in rum syrup.
a sourdough baba brushed with apricot preserves
  • Brush the babas with apricot preserves.
a baba au rhum on a plate with whipped cream
  • Split the sourdough babas, drizzle with more syrup and serve with whipped cream.

A timeline for making Sourdough Baba au Rhum:

  • If your starter needs feeding, do that the night before or early in the morning of the day you want to make the dough.
  • Mix the dough in the afternoon. Allow it to ferment at room temperature all day and refrigerate the dough in the evening before going to bed. A night in the refrigerator improves the flavor and texture of the babas.
  • The dough can stay in the refrigerator for 2-3 days at this point.
  • Take the dough out of the refrigerator. Add the raisins and portion the dough into the pans.
  • Leave them at room temperature to rise for 1 – 1 1/2 hours until the dough reaches the top of the pans.
  • If you want to make the sourdough babas in one day, feed your starter the night before. Make the dough in the morning and leave it to ferment until the afternoon. Fill the pans and leave them to rise, skipping the refrigeration step.
  • The babas are best the day they are baked. To work ahead, they can be frozen after baking, once they are cooled. Defrost and warm briefly in the oven before soaking in the syrup and serving.

I know you hate to throw away that sourdough discard. Check out these recipes that use sourdough discard.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

a baba au rhum on a plate with whipped cream
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4.58 from 7 reviews

Sourdough Baba au Rhum Recipe

The classic pastry is updated with the addition of sourdough starter. The enriched cake is doused with rum syrup and brushed with apricot glaze for a kick of fruit flavor. Top with whipped cream for a luscious finish.
Prep Time30 minutes
Bake Time20 minutes
Rising Times12 hours
Total Time12 hours 50 minutes
12 servings
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For the Dough:

  • 8 ounces active sourdough starter (100%, 1 cup)
  • 2 ounces whole milk (¼ cup, scalded and cooled to 110 °F)
  • 12 ½ ounces all purpose flour (2 ½ cups, see note)
  • 1 ounce granulated sugar (2 tablespoons)
  • 4 large eggs (room temperature)
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 3 ounces unsalted butter (softened to room temperature)
  • ½ cup raisins or currants
  • 4 ounces dark rum (½ cup)

For assembly:

  • 16 ounces water (2 cups)
  • 16 ounces granulated sugar (2 cups)
  • ½ vanilla bean (split)
  • 12 ounces apricot preserves (1 cup)
  • 8 ounces heavy cream (1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Combine the starter and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attached. Or use a large mixing bowl with use a hand mixer or wooden spoon.
    8 ounces active sourdough starter, 2 ounces whole milk
  • With the mixer running on low add 1 cup of the flour and mix until it forms a shaggy dough. Cover the bowl and set it aside for 30-60 minutes.
    12 ½ ounces all purpose flour
  • With the mixer running on low add the sugar, eggs and salt. Add the remaining flour and mix until the flour is incorporated.
    1 ounce granulated sugar, 4 large eggs, ½ teaspoon table salt
  • With the mixer running, toss in the softened butter, a tablespoon at a time. Mix until the butter is incorporated. The texture will be a very thick batter or very loose dough. It will not come together like a bread dough.
    3 ounces unsalted butter
  • Cover the bowl and set it aside at room temperature. After 30 minutes uncover the bowl, use a plastic bowl scraper to lift one side of the dough over into the middle of the dough. Repeat with the other three sides of the dough. Cover the bowl and after 30 minutes repeat the procedure. Cover the bowl and after 60 minutes repeat the procedure. Cover the bowl and after 60 minutes repeat the procedure one last time. By now the dough should be lively and airy. If the dough is still sluggish give it another hour or two at room temperature. Refrigerate over night. Meanwhile, soak the raisins in the rum.
    ½ cup raisins or currants, 4 ounces dark rum
  • The next day, generously butter 12 baba molds and set them onto a sheet pan. (If you’re using a non-stick pan you don’t need to butter.) Drain the raisins and reserve the rum. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Stir the raisins into the dough until they are evenly distributed. Divide the dough among the prepared molds, filling each no more than 1/2 way. Cover the tray and set it aside until the dough rises to fill the molds, about 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Slide the tray into the oven and bake until well browned, about 25 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven. Turn the babas out of the pans onto a wire rack.
  • While the babas bake, make the rum syrup. Combine the water with the sugar in a medium sauce pan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and stir them into the syrup. Toss in the vanilla pod. Bring the mixture up to a boil. Turn off the heat. Add enough new rum to the reserved rum to bring it back up to a 1/2 cup. Add the rum to the syrup.
    16 ounces water, 16 ounces granulated sugar, ½ vanilla bean
  • Place as many babas as will fit into the pot of syrup. Leave them in the syrup for 10 minutes, flipping them around after 5 minutes to soak the other side. Lift the babas out of the syrup and set them onto a wire rack set over a clean sheet pan to drain. Continue with the remaining babas. Reserve any left over syrup for plating.
  • Warm the apricot preserves and strain to remove the chunks of fruit. Brush the tops and sides of each baba with the preserves. Let the babas cool completely before plating and serving.
    12 ounces apricot preserves
  • To serve. Whip the cream with the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla. Place a baba on it’s side on a dessert plate. Split it lengthwise and open it like a book. Drizzle the middle of the baba with left over syrup to taste. Pipe or scoop a generous dollop of whipped cream into the center.
    8 ounces heavy cream, 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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If measuring the flour by volume use the “dip & sweep” method. That is, dip the measuring cup into the flour bin, overfill it, then sweep away the excess.
I used non-stick popover pans to make the babas. You can use muffin pans or jumbo muffin pans. Whatever size pan you use, don’t fill them more than halfway.


Calories: 496kcal | Carbohydrates: 88g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 130mg | Potassium: 150mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 52g | Vitamin A: 542IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 2mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!

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