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Feel the food fear and do it anyway, episode 2: Rum baba

Rum baba! Rum baba! Rum baba!

Just saying the name of this dish makes me happy. Eating it obviously makes me even happier.

Rum babas were big the 1980s. My dad used to get one every Friday from the supermarket when I was little, and I seem to remember they looked like orangey-beige snowmen, with a bit of cream for decoration.

I didn't much like them. To my infant tastebuds, they had a weird tang that was a bit like chemicals. I subsequently realised that that tang was not some weird nail varnish remover variant, but the lovely nectar that is known as rum.

I've written before about my love for The Vegan Boulangerie, and how it just generates excellent baked goods like magic. The last recipe in the book is for a rum baba, which I've always fancied making, but thought it all seemed like too much effort. But, with my newfound commitment to making things that I thought were a bit too tricky, I decided to bust out the baba.

I followed the recipe faithfully. It was a bit like making a simple sponge but with yeast in it. It requires a bit of patience - you have to let it prove for two hours - but other than that it wasn't half as difficult as I thought.

I ended up making a baba loaf, rather than using the ring tin or savarin moulds that rum babas traditionally come in.


And I think that's why it didn't taste quite like I thought it would - I remember the baba being moist all the way through, rather than just around the outside, and if the baba was a bit smaller, then the rum and sugar liquor could have got further into the cake.

That said, it did still taste great. It was light, and sweet, and fluffy, and delicious.

According to something  read a few weeks ago, rum babas are set to be big this year. Well, they're definitely big in my little corner of south London. This is one eighties trend that definitely deserves to be revived.

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9 comments

  1. It is a great name, isn't it?! congrats on facing another kitchen challenge :)
    Strangely enough my university room this year came with a 1/4 bottle of rum left behind! I'm not one to drink it so I've been thinking of making some kind of dessert with it (so far the bottle has come in handy as a makeshift rolling pin!) and I think baba might be the answer. I'll go with the mini ones I think to get all the rumminess into the little cakes :)

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  2. Haha it reminds me of Ali Baba. Not sure I've ever had a rum baba but it sounds like something I could totally get behind. What are the add-ins?

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  3. I'd love some Rum Baba! I don't believe I've ever had it, and I hope it becomes popular over here. Or maybe I should just visit South London. ;)

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  4. Good for you continuing to challenge yourself! I'd never heard of a rum baba before today. Is it a local thing? Or maybe it has a different name on this side of the pond like arugula and rocket. Regardless of the name, it sounds super tasty!

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  5. Well you are a very brave chef, aren't you! You have tackled the mythic baba--congrats.

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  6. I don’t know what a rum baba is, but if it has rum and it’s similar to cake, I’m totally on board! I remember hearing about The Vegan Boulangerie a while back, but I never read any decent reviews or heard if anyone had much success with it, so I pretty much forgot about it. Off I go to read your review!

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  7. I have never heard of a rum baba, but it looks pretty yummy!

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  8. For the record, I highly enjoy this series. :) Rum Baba just sounds like someone's intoxicated granny, ha ha ha! And I have never heard of this 80's trend...but then, my parents weren't very adventurous bakers! Yours looks awesome!

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  9. I've never heard of Rum Babas before but a dish with such a fun, happy name (sounds like a king of dance beat), must taste yum baba. :oP

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