In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, yeast and salt. In a small saucepan, heat the butter, milk and water to 120°-130°. Gradually add to dry ingredients; beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add eggs, egg yolk and 3/4 cup flour; beat on high for 2 minutes.
Stir in the fruit and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky). Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.
Stir dough down. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Punch dough down; turn onto a lightly floured surface. Shape dough into 24 balls and place in well-greased muffin cups. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, bring water and sugar to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir until sugar is dissolved and mixture is syrupy, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Stir in rum.
Bake cakes at 375° for 10-14 minutes or until golden brown. Poke holes in cakes with a fork; slowly pour 1 tablespoon rum syrup over each cake. Top each with a cherry half. Let stand for 10 minutes before removing from pans. Serve warm.
Baba au Rhum Cakes Tips
Why is it called a rum baba?
While attributed to France, baba au rhum (also called rum baba) actually has origins in Poland, where tall, round yeast cakes were called babka, meaning old woman or grandmother. Baba is the diminutive of babka. When the French created these small, rum-soaked cakes in the early 1800’s, the rum baba was born.
How do you eat baba au rhum?
There is no set way to eat baba au rhum. Because they’re so small, they can be eaten with your hands (but be prepared for sticky fingers!). For fancier presentation (and cleaner hands), eat with a knife and fork.
Does rum baba have alcohol?
Rum baba does contain alcohol. The cake is traditionally soaked in a sugar syrup spiked with alcohol, usually rum. You can omit the alcohol and just use a simple syrup or flavored sugar syrup to moisten the cakes. Try other cakes from around the world, like ricotta cake roll, Black Forest chocolate torte and tres leches cake. Research contributed by Mark Neufang, Taste of Home Culinary Assistant