Baba au Rhum origin.
Baba au rhum is an elaboration based on a cake of Polish and Russian origin, Babcia or Babuschka, which derives from the abbreviation Baba which means “grandmother”. Nothing to do with the fact that its denomination comes from Ali Baba thanks to the king’s love for stories…

The king of Poland Estanislao I Leszczynski, known for his taste for pastry, also Duke of Lorraine (France) where he resided from 1737 to 1766, introduced this cake in France with his pastry chef Nicolas Stohrer. The recipe was a combination of kugelhopf (very traditional in Alsace) and an addition of Malaga wine and pastry cream.

The descendants of the Leszczynski family used to serve it always dry accompanied by a gravy boat full of Malaga wine reduced with tanning water.

The success of baba au rhum was such that the renowned bakers from France began to elaborate a similar recipe with their personal touches. Marie-Antoine Carême called it baba a la polonaise in 1815.

Baba au Rhum
Baba evolution.
The recipe described in the“Dictionnaire Général de la Cuisine Francaise Ancienne et Moderne”, which dates back to 1853, was made with raisins, candied fruit, Malaga wine and saffron. In that same year, the Parisian pastry chef Stohrer, descendant of King Stanislaus’ pastry chef, decided to replace the wine with rum.

In 1844 the Julien brothers, Parisian confectioners, invented the Savarin. An elaboration based, and highly influenced, on baba au rhum. It differs from this one in its syrup, it was made with Kirsch, absinthe and rose water, which was a real innovation. They also differed in the pan used, the savarin was cooked in a ring shaped round mould as opposed to the baba au rhum made in a simple round pan. Nowadays, the ring shape is associated with baba.

Baba au Rhum
The voyage of the baba au rhum.
At the beginning of the 19th century this sweet crossed the Alps with Joachim Murat (King of Naples and Marshal of France) on his way to Italy. The Neapolitans welcomed this sweet until they made it theirs. At the beginning, this cake was only available to high society, but after the unification of Italy, it became popular and began to have a presence in bakeries.

And today he continues on his way to your homes so that you can enjoy it.