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Introducing the best vegan rum baba! This French-inspired dessert features a soft yeast cake soaked in delicious syrup infused with rum, orange peel, and vanilla. The result is an incredibly moist and tender dessert that can be topped with whipped cream!

Rum baba topped with whipped cream and vanilla bean.

📘 What is Rum Baba

Rum baba, or Baba au rhum, is a famous French dessert that consists of a tender yeast cake soaked in rum syrup. It is very moist and is usually served with whipped cream or custard. This dessert is very popular around the Christmas or Easter season in France.

For the little story, it is said that Stanislaus I, Duke of Lorraine at the time, found his Bundt cake too dry and asked the cook to soak it in wine to make it moister. The rum baba was born (although there are many other versions of this story).

⭐️ Why You Should Try This Recipe

  • It’s a classic. Rum baba is one of the most famous French desserts, and there is a reason why!
  • It’s incredibly moist and flavorful. This rum baba is perfectly sweet with notes of orange, vanilla, and rum. It makes a fresh and delicious dessert that has nothing to envy the ones you can find in bakeries!
  • It’s super easy to prepare. While this dessert might seem complicated, it’s not! It’s basically a brioche soaked in syrup and topped with cream.
Ingredients like flour, butter, orange peel, rum, and vanilla bean.

🍊 Ingredient Notes

To keep this recipe vegan, I omitted the eggs that are often used in most rum baba recipes. Worry not, it doesn’t remove anything to the taste or texture, and tastes just as good! Here is what you will need to prepare rum baba:

  • Flour – Use all-purpose flour.
  • Yeast – Since the cakes are similar to a brioche, we will be using yeast to give them a light and airy texture. You can use instant yeast or active dry yeast.
  • Milk – Use unsweetened plant-based milk. Almond, oat, soy, or even cashew milk work well.
  • Butter – To give the cakes a rich and buttery flavor. Use store-bought or homemade vegan butter.
  • Sugar – I went with granulated sugar, but light brown sugar or coconut sugar should work as well. You can also use vanilla sugar if you want extra vanilla flavor.
  • Baking powder – Since this recipe doesn’t rely on eggs, I added some baking powder to allow the cakes to rise just a little bit more.
  • Rum – A key ingredient in this recipe! It brings a ton of flavor to the syrup and gives this dessert its signature taste.
  • Orange – Orange zest adds a citrusy and fruity flavor to the syrup.
  • Vanilla – For extra flavor, you can use store-bought or homemade vanilla extract.

🥣 How to Make Rum Baba

This dessert consists of three steps: baking the cakes, preparing the syrup, and dipping the cakes into the syrup.

Cakes

  1. Dissolve the yeast in warm almond milk and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Note: If using instant yeast, there is no need to rehydrate it.
  2. Knead the flour with the diluted yeast, sugar, almond milk, and butter until smooth. You should end up with a thin batter, just a bit thicker than a pancake batter.
  3. Transfer to a bowl and let the dough rise for about 1 hour in a warm place. The dough will double in volume.
  4. Deflate the dough and transfer it to a piping bag. Fill a fluted tube baking pan to the 3/4 with the dough.
  5. Let the dough rise for another 30 minutes.
  6. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the cakes are slightly golden brown. Let them cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

Which pan to use?

While you can bake the cakes in a donut or muffin pan, I recommend going with mini-fluted baking pans. They will give a prettier and taller shape to the cakes. A few recommendations are this Wilton fluted tube baking pan or this silicone fluted tube cake pan.

Syrup

The syrup is the magical ingredient that gives the baba a ton of flavor. Simply combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and let it simmer covered for about 8 minutes.

Rum syrup with orange peels and vanilla beans.

Dipping

Finally, once the cakes are cool, dip each into the warm rum syrup and let them soak for about 2 minutes. Flip them once to allow them to get soaked evenly. You can now refrigerate the cakes for about 2 hours before serving!

To serve

Right before serving, drizzle each baba with a couple of tablespoons of the remaining rum syrup, top with whipped cream, and decorate with fresh fruits!

Rum baba topped with whipped cream, strawberries, and vanilla bean.

📔 Tips

  • Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature.
  • Check the expiry date of your yeast. If it has passed or is near that date, the yeast might not be active anymore.
  • Depending on the temperature of your home, the dough might take up to 1 and a half hours to rise. Adjust the rising time accordingly. The dough should double in volume after the first rise. If your home is too cold, place the dough in an oven with the light on.
  • Only fill the cavities of your pan to the 3/4. The dough will increase in volume after the second rise and during baking.
  • After a couple of days in the fridge, rum baba tends to become a bit drier. To keep them moist longer, store each baba in a small cup filled with 3-4 tablespoons of rum syrup and keep covered with plastic wrap. This way, the cakes will stay moist for up to 4 days.

💬 FAQ

Can I make rum baba ahead of time?

Yes, you can easily make this rum baba one day ahead and keep it in some syrup, as noted above.

What can I substitute for the rum?

You can use another liquor, but be aware it will not taste exactly like rum baba.

Can I make these gluten-free?

I haven’t personally tried it, but you may give it a shot with a 1:1 gluten-free flour mix.

Does rum baba contain alcohol?

No, these rum babas do not contain alcohol, as most of it evaporates when simmering the syrup.

Can I freeze these rum babas?

Yes, you can freeze the cakes for up to 2 months. Let thaw on the counter and then dip them in the syrup. I do not recommend freezing the soaked rum babas.

Top view of vegan rum baba.

If you have never tried rum baba, I urge you to do so. It’s incredibly moist, and fresh, and packs a ton of flavor! If you like rum, there is no chance you will not like this dessert!

🇫🇷 More French Desserts

Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!

Rum baba topped with whipped cream, strawberries, and vanilla bean.
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Recipe

French Rum Baba

5 from 2 votes
Author: Thomas Pagot
Moist and soft cakes infused with rum, orange peel, and vanilla. This famous French dessert is vegan and SO delicious!
Prep Time : 2 hours 10 minutes
Cook Time : 15 minutes
Resting Time : 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time : 3 hours 55 minutes
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 222 kcal

Ingredients
 

Cakes

Rum Syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 vanilla bean
  • zest from half of an orange

Toppings (optional)

  • whipped coconut cream or custard
  • sliced strawberries

Instructions
 

Cakes

  • In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the 3 tablespoons of warm almond milk. Let it sit for about 15 minutes or until foamy.
  • To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, add the flour, sugar, and baking powder. Mix for 5-10 seconds.
  • Next, add the diluted yeast, the rest of the almond milk, and the vanilla extract. Beat at medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add the butter and beat for another 2 minutes or until the dough is completely smooth. Note: the dough will be a bit runny and not as thick as a brioche dough, which is normal.
  • Transfer the dough to a glass bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for about 1 hour in a warm place (you can place the bowl in an oven with the light on). The dough should double in size.
  • Using a spatula, deflate the dough and transfer it to a piping bag.
  • Lightly grease a mini fluted tube pan with oil. Fill each cavity to the 3/4 with the dough using the piping bag. Let the dough rise for another 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 355 °F (175°C).
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, or until slightly golden brown. The cakes will be very soft out of the oven, so wait for at least 30 minutes before removing them from the pan.

Rum syrup

  • While the cakes are baking, combine the water, sugar, rum, vanilla extract, and orange zest in a medium saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil and let simmer covered for about 7-8 minutes. Set aside.

Dipping

  • Working with one at a time, dip each cake in the warm rum syrup and let it soak the syrup for about 2 minutes. Remove from the syrup using a spatula and place each cake on a rack to drain the excess syrup. Set the remaining rum syrup aside.
  • Refrigerate the rum baba for at least 3 hours. Just before serving, drizzle with more rum syrup and top with whipped coconut cream or custard, and fresh fruits. These rum babas taste better the same day but will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

Notes

  • Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature.
  • Check the expiry date of your yeast. If it has passed or is near that date, the yeast might not be active anymore.
  • Depending on the temperature of your home, the dough might take up to 1 and a half hours to rise. Adjust the rising time accordingly. The dough should double in volume after the first rise. If your home is too cold, place the dough in an oven with the light on.
  • Only fill the cavities of your pan to the 3/4. The dough will increase in volume after the second rise and during baking.
  • After a couple of days in the fridge, rum baba tends to become a bit drier. To keep them moist longer, store each baba in a small cup filled with 3-4 tablespoons of rum syrup and keep covered with plastic wrap. This way, the cakes will stay moist for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 rum baba | Calories: 222 kcal | Carbohydrates: 31.3 g | Protein: 2.8 g | Fat: 7.5 g | Saturated Fat: 4.4 g | Cholesterol: 18 mg | Sodium: 71 mg | Potassium: 53 mg | Fiber: 0.8 g | Sugar: 12.1 g | Calcium: 43 mg | Iron: 1 mg
Course : Dessert
Cuisine : French
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About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

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22 Comments

  1. Pingback: sunday reading #19 - love me, feed me
  2. My favorite cake when I was young! When I moved to the US I couldn’t find ones that took me back to my childhood. In Little Italy NY I thought I would find perfect ones but they were watered down versions 🙁 Since becoming vegan I never thought I’d have one again so you can imagine my excitement when I stumbled onto your recipe! Very excited! This rhum syrup you mention, where do I buy it or could I just use rum? I’m after a strong soaked-filled rum cake 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    Hey! Just to let you know that we featured your recipe in our recent French Patisserie article. It was a great recipe! I’ve linked the article below – please feel free to take a look and share.
    – Lo

  4. Pingback: 31 Vegan Recipes for a Perfectly Plant-Based May – Frectful
  5. Pingback: 10 Vegan Recipes To Start Your Summer - Your Vegan News and Recipe Hub
  6. Pingback: 31 Vegan Recipes for a Perfectly Plant-Based May – Hot News in Nigeria
  7. Hi! These look amazing! Could they be made with regular AP flour by subbing out the rice flour and xanthan gum?

    1. Hi Katherine,
      I haven’t tried it, but I think it should work, although you might have to adjust the amount of all-purpose flour since it doesn’t absorb the same amount of liquid as rice flour.

  8. Ok Thomas….now I have to buy another silicone baking pan!!! LOL. Is it possible to make this in one bundt pan or mini cake silicone? If so, how long should I bake? This recipe looks fantastic. I love your site more everyday!

    1. Thanks for your kind words!
      Yes, you should be able to bake it in one larger bundt pan. In this case, you might have to double the recipe and bake for 25-30 minutes.

  9. Oh my goodness Thomas, baba au Rhum was my favourite as a child in Belgium. Not available in Australia and certainly not vegan. Will definately make it. Am not sure how you got the lovely shape( just as I remembered) does the piping give you that shape or is it the pan you used for baking?
    Thx for the recipe.🙏🤗